One of a social media networks in Philippines has been removed by the Facebook Inc for having a “coordinated inauthentic behavior”.
The media giant, in an unusual step, linked the network to a businessman who said that he remained managing the online campaign of current president during 2016 election.
About 200 Facebook and Instagram pages of accounts and groups linked to a network were removed on the basis of a Facebook’s investigation, which found those pages linked to Nic Gabunada, a former chief executive of Omnicom Media Group Philippines.
To spread the content across different pages and groups, a mix of genuine and fake accounts was used by the responsible individuals, who remained frequently posting content about local and political news especially related to the elections ahead, alleged misconduct of political opponents, candidate updates and review, controversial events that were supposed to occur during previous administrations Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement on Thursday.
Facebook clarified that it was not the content posted by the pages and accounts but the dubious behavior which caused the Facebook to take them down.
Gabunada while talking to ABS-CBN News described the Facebook’s actions of linking him with the doubtful pages and accounts as “unfortunate” and said that Facebook has a leverage to take his account down if it wanted to do so but, for the sake of the allegations, the company has to consider the fact that he was not using the account for that purpose.
Ana Marie Banaag, Assistant Secretary at Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said that the PCOO is the only communications group of president Duterte and Gabunada is not part of that communication group.
Mid-term elections are due to be held in May and are considered to be as referendum on Duterte, who despite of being from outside the political elite and was previously acity mayor, remained succeeded to won the presidential elections in 2016 by hitting into the social media.