Duterte wants Facebook not to ban pages advocating gov’t interests — Palace

MANILA, Sept 29 (Mabuhay)– President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement against Facebook on Monday was an appeal to the social media giant not to ban accounts that promote the interests of the government, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said there is currently no scheduled discussion between government and Facebook over the President’s concerns.

“Ang sinasabi lang niya ay bakit po tatanggalan iyong mga pages na sumusuporta naman sa agenda ng gobyerno. Ang sabi lang naman niya, kinakailangan pag-usapan ito,” Roque said.

“Hindi niya alam kung ano ang gagawin niya, pero ang sabi talaga niya ay huwag mong ipagbawal iyong mga pages na nag-a-advocate ng mga interest ng gobyerno.”

Addressing the nation from Malacañang on Monday evening, Duterte took issue with Facebook’s recent move to take down pages and accounts associated with the military and police for coordinated inauthentic behavior.

These included posts on issues such as the Anti-Terrorism Law and criticism of activists and communists.

“Facebook, listen to me. We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also. 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?” Duterte asked.

“What would be the point of allowing you to continue if you cannot help us? We are not advocating mass destruction, we are not advocating mass massacre,” he added.

Reacting to the President’s statement, Terry Ridon of public policy think tank Infrawatch PH said Facebook should not be cowed by the “threats of the President on how to run their own social media company.”

Ridon added banning Facebook would dismantle the “last semblance of direct democracy in the country.”

“Facebook should outrightly reject any arm-twisting by the President,” said Ridon, who was removed by Duterte as chief of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor in 2017 over supposed unnecessary travels abroad. (MNS)

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