Senate to probe Facebook’s taking down of posts violating ‘community standards’
Reports of Facebook removing viral posts about the alleged draft of the Philippine government’s compromise deal with the Marcos family will be looked into in the next Senate hearing on fake news, Senator Grace Poe said on Friday.
“This is a matter that we believe should be looked into in the next hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media on the proliferation of fake news, or in a separate inquiry if necessary,” Poe, chairman of the said committee, said in a statement.
“We need to know the clear guidelines of social media organizations in handling the activities of their users, and make sure that these neither infringe on the individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression nor allow the abuse of such freedom,” she said.
Recently, viral posts of alternative educator Gang Badoy and newspaper columnist Tonyo Cruz were taken down by Facebook after purportedly violating the social media site’s community standards. Facebook later restored the posts after it issued an apology, saying an employee accidentally removed the posts.
The posts of Badoy and Cruz contained the alleged draft of the agreement signed by Marcos loyalist and lawyer Oliver Lozano. It contained provisions lifting the government’s control of their assets in exchange for them returning parts of their wealth to the government. The Marcos camp denied having a hand in the alleged agreement.
Prior to this, Poe also noted that some posts of netizens dealing with controversial issues were also reportedly removed from the platform for allegedly not complying with Facebook’s community standards.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned Facebook’s “baseless takedown of netizens’ posts critical of the government and institutions.” The group said Facebook’s act was “a direct infringement on the users’ right to freedom of expression.”
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