Bato wants probe of Facebook takedown of accounts linked to cops, soldiers

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2020 10:38 AM

Bato wants probe of Facebook takedown of accounts linked to cops, soldiers 1
Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa delivers a sponsorship speech in plenary on June 3, 2020. Albert Calvelo, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate the removal of some pro-government and anti-communist pages on Facebook, saying the move may be violating Filipinos' right to free speech.

The social media giant earlier said it removed 2 networks on its platform for "coordinated inauthentic behavior" or manipulation campaigns in the Philippines.

"There is an urgent need for the Senate to investigate the censorship done by Facebook considering that it affects not only the peace and order, and security of our country, but likewise greatly affects every Filipino’s freedom of expression as guaranteed by no less than the Philippine Constitution," Dela Rosa said in his Senate Resolution No. 531.

The former police chief-turned-lawmaker noted that among the 57 accounts, 31 pages and 21 Instagram profiles that Facebook took down were those "supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte" and "military activities against terrorism."

The pages that were removed have been criticizing "communism, youth activist and opposition," and "posts against the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing the New People’s Army," his resolution read.

"It was alleged by those who criticize the censorship made by the social network platform that some Facebook pages and profiles allegedly supporting and promoting the violent activities and ideologies of the communist-terrorist CPP-NPA were not included in the action taken by Facebook," he said.

Dela Rosa's resolution was filed on September 30, a day after his ally President Rodrigo Duterte admonished the social media giant for the removal of the Philippine military's "advocacy" accounts.

Facebook has yet to comment on Duterte's tirades, including a seeming threat against its operations in the Philippines.

“We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also,” Duterte said. “Now, if the government cannot espouse or advocate something which is for the good of the people, then what is your purpose here in my country?”