AFP says closure of accounts linked to military discussed in meeting with Facebook PH team


Posted at Sep 23 2020 09:44 PM

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay has discussed the closure of Facebook accounts supposedly linked to the military during his meeting with the social media network's policy team.

AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Gapay and the Facebook Philippines Policy Team met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the said accounts.

"The engagement was highlighted by a presentation as to FB's Policy Rationale and what other things they do through their platform. It was an opportunity for the AFP to learn how it can work closely with this most popular social media platform,” Arevalo said in a statement.

The meeting also served as an opportunity for AFP to know more about Facebook's policy.

“Part of the discussion was FB’s taking down of Hands Off Our Children which is an advocacy group of parents whose children were missing or had been recruited by the CTG (communist terrorist group),” Arevalo said.

According to Arevalo, Facebook informed the AFP that its policy on the removal of accounts and pages is based on behavior and not on the content of the pages.

He also said that Gapay, while respecting the Facebook's ownership of the platform, urged its officials “to look into the process they observe in unilaterally removing accounts and for them to give due regard to the cause the account owner espouse to remove doubts of Facebook being partisan.”

“Specifically, he (Gapay) inquired if FB can restore Hands Off Our Children and other groups of similar advocacies like preventing child exploitation and trafficking of minors, and combating terrorism that may have been taken down,” Arevalo added.

Facebook on Wednesday said several social-media accounts belonging to two networks -- one based in China, the other with links to individuals associated with the Philippine military and police -- were found to have violated its policies. 

The social-networking company said it has thus removed pages, accounts, groups and Instagram profiles of the two unnamed networks, which were allegedly targeting the Philippines for "coordinated inauthentic behavior" or manipulation campaigns on the platform.

Fifty-seven Facebook accounts, 31 pages and 20 Instagram accounts, which constituted one network operating in the Philippines, were taken down, Facebook's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher told reporters in a virtual briefing that he conducted from California.