Palace shrugs off Facebook's shutdown of pro-Duterte pages

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2018 03:31 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday shrugged off Facebook’s decision to shut down a network of pages and accounts, some of which are supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace respects the social media giant’s decision.

"Facebook must have its own rules and regulations, if they are implementing that, that’s their own rule,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

Facebook said Tuesday it removed from its platform a network of 95 pages and 39 accounts in the Philippines for violating its spam and authenticity policies.

The pages removed included names like Duterte Media, Duterte sa Pagbabago BUKAS, DDS, Duterte Phenomenon, DU30 Trending News, Hot Babes, News Media Trends, Bossing Vic, Pilipinas Daily News, Like and Win, Manang Imee, and Karlo ang Probinsiyano, Facebook said.

The world's largest social network said the pages and accounts encouraged people to "visit low quality websites that contain little substantive content and are full of disruptive ads."

But Panelo said the nature of the Facebook pages and the contents of their post “[do] not necessarily” reflect the kind of supporters the President has.

The government has often been accused of sponsoring bloggers and so-called “trolls” who spread false news on the popular social media platform and attack people critical of the administration.

The Palace has denied funding alleged online “trolls” which critics say are being used to silence and intimidate dissenters online.

Duterte scored a majority win in the May 2016 elections despite his late entry in the race, backed by strong social media support. 

In May last year, Duterte appointed one of his strongest supporters, former sexy dancer Mocha Uson, as Communications Assistant Secretary. Uson, who has since resigned from the post to run for Congress, maintains a widely followed Facebook page.

Uson is one of the most prominent personalities who maintain a Facebook page aggressively supportive of the President.