Facebook takes down Du­ter­te-linked troll accounts


Face­bo­ok took down more than 100 accounts and pages operated by the Armed Forces of the Phi­lip­pi­nes (AFP) and Phi­lip­pi­ne Na­tio­nal Po­lice (PNP), as well as 100 pro-Du­ter­te accounts found to be based in China, on September 22.

According to Face­bo­ok, these accounts were found to be involved in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” in violation of its community standards. This means that the accounts were fake and were created to propagate fake news and influence public opinion.

These accounts peddle news and opinions related to local politics and the military, support the Duterte regime’s policies especially the newly enacted Anti-Ter­rorism Law, and red-tag youth activists and government critics. These accounts is focused on demonizing the revolutionary armed movement as “te­rro­ris­t.” These trolls accounts deceive the people by twisting facts, propagating lies and violence.

The China-based accounts specialize on propagating pro-China ideas and attacking government officials and lawmakers who oppose these. These accounts were also found to be involved in hyping the presidential bid of Sa­ra Du­ter­te and promoting Imee Marcos.

These accounts are clearly linked with the Duterte regime, AFP and PNP. Some accounts were found to be created and directly administered by Capt. Alexandre Ca­ba­les, head of the AFP Social Media Center under the command of the Civil Mi­li­tary Ope­ra­ti­ons Re­gi­ment. These pages include “Hands Off Our Children” which is being used by the military to red-tag youth activists, especially Ka­ba­ta­an Partylist Rep. Sa­rah Ela­go.

This was the fourth time that Facebook took down Duterte-linked accounts in two years. Twitter also once removed similar accounts in its platform. Among those taken down was the network operated by Nic Ga­bun­da, Duterte’s social media campaign manager during the 2016 elections.

Facebook takes down Du­ter­te-linked troll accounts