Sat. May 28th, 2022

Can tyranny by a private social medium be stopped?

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Sunday condemned the multiple flagging of foreign social media giant Facebook (Meta).

The NTF-ELCAC said even the government’s good governance posts and articles highlighting economic recovery programs and delivery of basic social services as well as “infrastructure projects to our communities, IP (Indigenous Peoples) areas, and the hinterland barangays” were also flagged as violative of Facebook “community standards”.

NTF-ELCAC spokesperson and Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy described Facebook’s move as “pathetic, cowardly, desperate, and lutang (floating)”.

“These describe the entities composed of a bunch of self-anointed, presumptuous, tyrannical, and abusive fact-checkers that set faulty, erroneous, biased, oppressive, and repressive community standards for the social media platform Facebook.

“These so-called fact-checkers flagged posts and articles by the NTF-ELCAC and by government media entities, including official press releases of the Philippine government,” she said.

That’s right Lorraine, Facebook’s community standards are not the same as ours. They are imposed norms by foreigners over our culture. They sell liberal democracy but according to their own agenda which is regime change.

They operate over and above our national sovereignty and looks over the shoulder of social behavior of our people, including regulating our government.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson, called out the social media giant for flagging his posts due to alleged similar violations.

In a post last April 14, Esperon called on Filipinos to unite against the communist insurgency and all groups that support the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, but the post was restricted by Facebook.

An act of our guardian of national security being censured by a private social media platform!

Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya has likewise criticized the platform saying its move “is alarming, if not dangerous, as it has appointed itself as an omnipotent force that can censure at their discretion — based on standards that they themselves created — the legitimate posts of highly respected officials of the country.”

“The imprudence of Facebook to warn Secretary Esperon on a national security issue is unthinkable and downright offensive as the social media platform has taken on the role of Big Brother with the power to censure the social media posts of the NSA himself on matters of national security,” Malaya added.

Government officials raised alarm again as Facebook continuously flagged multiple posts of government media entities including the Philippine News Agency (PNA) and Radyo Pilipinas.

Facebook has been notifying those who have shared the news articles and developmental stories from PNA, tagging the posts as violations of the platform’s community standards on cybersecurity.

Editors and reporters’ accounts were not spared, that even vaccination updates are tagged as violators of community standards and shared stories are notified that “no one else” can see the post.

Malaya explained, “In ending insurgency, the Filipinos must unite against armed struggle and against all organizations, aboveground and underground that support the New People’s Army, including the Communist Party (CPP) members who have infiltrated the Congress through the partylist system.”

Independent fact checkers however have repeatedly flagged claims that progressive party lists at the Congress as false and unproven claims. Red-tagging, or the practice of baselessly linking groups to the armed communist rebellion, have also been flagged for being dangerous and, in worse cases, have resulted in killings.

According to Facebook parent company Meta, fact-checkers can identify false posts based on their own reporting or Facebook itself may call their attention to potential misinformation.

They work with independent, third-party fact-checking organizations who received certification from the International Fact-Checking Network. Fact-checkers will then review and rate the accuracy of the post, but, Facebook stressed: “Fact-checkers do not remove content, accounts or Pages from Facebook.”

“Facebook removes content when it violates our Community Standards, which is separate from our fact-checking program,” it added.

So does this mean that communist terrorism is part of Facebook’s community standards?

The government needs to look deeper into the “overt” intelligence network behind Facebook. Is it in anyway connected with Soros Foundation, Omidyar Network, National Endowment for Democracy, Center for Strategic and International Studies and other American non-profits and thinktanks?

Is it connected to MacArthur Foundation that has been supporting the communist insurgency in the Philippines?

Malaya exposed that the Communist Party of the Philippines earlier this month and in response to the takedown of accounts of the party and of units of the New People’s Army said that Facebook had “effectively censored information that for years has challenged the dominant narrative being promoted and peddled by the reactionary government and the AFP.

In the same statement, the communist party said “the banning of the CPP and NPA on Facebook is just one of the most recent evidence of the company’s exercise of arbitrary powers to censor information that are anti-imperialist and anti-fascist on the social networking platform.”

This sounds like coming from the echo chamber of Jose Maria Sison all the way from Netherlands.

Malaya, a lawyer and an official of the administration PDP-Laban party, urged Facebook to revisit its standards that he claimed are “one-sided and serve to promote the interest of the few and powerful.”

That is before the government either bans it or severely penalizes it for violation of press freedom in our democracy.

The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), one of the country’s oldest and biggest organization of active members of the press, on Sunday denounced in the strongest possible term, the ongoing ‘flagging’ being made by Facebook and its ‘fact checkers’ Rappler and Vera Files, on nearly all public platforms.

NPC President Paul Gutierrez described the flagging not only as acts of harassment and intimidation and a brazen curtailment of civil liberties, particularly the right to freedom of information and expression but more importantly, an assault on the country’s sovereignty.

Paul Gutierrez

The NPC’s call for the responsible agencies of the government to discipline Facebook and its fact-checkers, particularly, Rappler and Vera Files, has become more urgent and compelling, Gutierrez added.

“In the meantime, we call on all NPC affiliates and all the responsible and patriotic elements in the media community, along with other patriotic organizations to unite in resisting and denouncing this common threat to our civil liberty and our democracy,” the NPC statement read.

Gutierrez urged not to allow foreign entities to dictate to Filipinos because it is clear fascism, not democracy.

“Let us not be cowed in exposing the abusive behavior of foreign-funded corporations who are now trying to impose their will on us, a sovereign people,” Gutierrez said.”

The scourge of Facebook, however, does not end there.

The National Bureau of Investigation must be mobilized to dig into Facebook, and further on why it has hired Rappler and Vera Files, who are openly funded by US vested interests, as factcheckers.

Let’s start with what’s in Wikipedia:

Meta Platforms, Inc., doing business as Meta, formerly Facebook, is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the company, both when it was known as Facebook, Inc., and as Meta Platforms. For the complete list, check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawsuits_involving_Meta_Platforms

In March 2020, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) sued Facebook, for significant and persistent infringements of the rule on privacy involving the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Every violation of the Privacy Act is subject to a theoretical cumulative liability of $1.7 million. The OAIC estimated that a total of 311,127 Australians had been exposed.

On December 8, 2020, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and 46 states (excluding Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and South Dakota), the District of Columbia and the territory of Guam, launched Federal Trade Commission v. Facebook as an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.

On December 24, 2021, a court in Russia fined Meta for $27 million after the company declined to remove unspecified banned content. The fine was reportedly tied to the company’s annual revenue in the country.

These are just starters.

The government must also look into its factcheckers Vera Files and Rappler.

It is curious for instance that despite the revocation of Rappler’s registration papers by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is still operating.

So what if the case is under appeal?

What about our “city hall” powers? It is more scurrilous for our state regulators to be sleeping on our sovereign rights allowing organizations like Rappler to be fact checking the general public when its president and chief executive order is scot-free even after being convicted for cyberlibel.

Maria Ressa has in fact admitted on television that Rappler has received funding of over $4.5 million (P230 million) from Omidyar Network, just as Ellen Tordesillas openly declares that she is in the payroll of the National Endowment for Democracy, the overt intelligence front of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.

It is on record that in 2020, Facebook, Inc. spent $19.7 million on lobbying, hiring 79 lobbyists. It was the largest spender of lobbying money among the 5 Big Tech companies in 2020.

Was any part of this spend in relation to its Philippine operations?

So why is Congress not investigating this matter?

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