Krizette Laureta Chu, writer and associate lifestyle editor of Manila Bulletin, blogger, and vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, erroneously claimed that Facebook (FB) third-party fact-checkers were responsible for the removal of FB page Hands Off Our Children, an “advocacy group” supposedly launched by parents against the recruitment of minors to the New People’s Army (NPA).
“I would believe your sadness for Reina if you felt the same sadness for the mothers whose children were killed or abducted by the NPA. And then double killed after being silenced after their page HANDS OFF OUR CHILDREN were taken down by ‘fact checkers.’”
Chu was pertaining to Filipinos who expressed outrage against the “lack of compassion” in the way officials handled Nasino and her child’s case. Baby River was separated from her mother in August and died at three months due to Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and has been tagged, along with the CPP, as a terrorist organization by Duterte in 2017, through Proclamation No. 374.
Social media giant Facebook, not its third-party fact-checkers, took down “two separate networks” of FB pages and Instagram accounts — one was traced to have originated from China, and the other in the Philippines — for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” according to the company’s announcement on Sept. 22.
In the press release, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s Security Policy, said Facebook focused on the networks’ “behavior rather than content,” noting that the basis for the removal was the “coordinated” use of “fake accounts” by parties who “mislead people about who they are and what they are doing,” thereby violating FB policy.
As part of the company’s “commitment to authenticity” and in “creat[ing] a space where people can trust [those] they interact with,” Facebook says it:
“…[does not] allow people to misrepresent themselves on Facebook, use fake accounts, artificially boost the popularity of content, or engage in behaviors designed to enable other violations under our Community Standards.”
Source: Facebook, Community Standards: IV. Integrity and Authenticity: 20. Inauthentic Behavior, Accessed Oct. 27, 2020
As announced on Sept. 22, the Philippine network taken down by Facebook involving 64 FB accounts, 32 FB pages, and 33 Instagram accounts, was found to have “links to Philippine military and Philippine police.”
During his weekly public address on Sept. 28, Duterte denounced Facebook’s move, saying it “cannot bar or prevent” government from “espousing [its] objectives.”
In an explainer published in October 2019, Gleicher said, in any instance of coordinated inauthentic behavior “conducted on behalf of a government entity,” Facebook will apply the “broadest enforcement measure.” This, he said, includes the removal of “every on-platform property connected to the operation itself and the people and organizations behind it.”
Facebook says the “real issue” in engaging with “Inauthentic Behavior” on its platform concerns those behind such campaigns:
“…using deceptive behaviors to conceal the identity of the organization behind the campaign, make the organization or its activity appear more popular or trustworthy than it is, or evade our enforcement efforts.”
The role of Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers
When a piece of content is rated by a third-party fact-checker as false, altered, partly false, or missing context, Facebook takes action. Such may include:
Currently, Facebook has three third-party fact checking partners in the country: VERA Files, Rappler, and Agence France-Presse (AFP). These organizations are signatories to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), an umbrella organization for non-partisan fact-checking organizations around the world, committed to upholding a common code of principles for fact-checkers, reducing the harm caused by mis- and disinformation, and promoting accuracy and fairness in public debate. (See VERA Files joins Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program in PH)
You may read the full IFCN Code of Principles here.
As of publication, Chu’s FB post that carried the false information has garnered at least 13,000 interactions and 2,200 shares, and could have reached over 2,266,000 million people, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. The official FB page of known Filipino singer-songwriter Richard Poon was among the highest traffic generators of the post.
Manila Bulletin, Lifestyle News: Author: Krizette Laureta-Chu
Krizette Laureta Chu’s Facebook account, MAGNITSKY MAGNITSKY KAYO DYAN, Dec. 21, 2019
Krizette Laureta Chu’s Facebook account, “DDS KA PA RIN BA? ANONG PETSA NA?”, July 8, 2020
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Facebook account, TAKING UP FACEBOOK TAKE-DOWN, Oct. 1, 2020
Inquirer.net, Baby River laid to rest at Manila North Cemetery, Oct. 16, 2020
GMA News Online, Detainee mom kept from embracing coffin as Baby River laid to rest, Oct. 16, 2020
ABS-CBN News, Baby River laid to rest, Oct. 16, 2020
Krizette Laureta Chu Facebook account, I would believe your sadness for Reina…, Oct. 18, 2020
Interaksyon.com, Calls to free Reina Mae Nasino, justice for Baby River dominate Twitter trends after funeral tension, Oct. 16, 2020
Inquirer.net, Anne Curtis, Agot Isidro, fellow celebs denounce ‘heavily guarded’ burial of Baby River, Oct. 17, 2020
GMA News Online, Baby separated from detainee-mom dies at 3-months-old, Oct. 9, 2020
Inquirer.net, CJ Peralta says SC tried its best to help Nasino, Baby River, Oct. 23, 2020
Rappler.com, 3-month-old baby, separated from jailed activist mother at birth, dies, Oct. 9, 2020
Philstar, Chief justice says SC ‘tried its best’ in case of jailed activist Reina Mae Nasino, Oct. 23, 2020
Manila Bulletin, Detained activist’s three-month-old daughter dies in ICU, Oct. 9, 2020
ABS-CBN News, Detained mother’s baby dies before given a chance to reunite, Oct. 9, 2020
Inquirer.net, Cops raid Manila office of Bayan; nab 3 activists for guns, explosive, Nov. 5, 2019
ABS-CBN News, Final Goodbye: Reina Mae Nasino attends Baby River’s funeral amid tight security, Oct. 17, 2020
Rappler, Arrested in 2019 crackdown, jailed activist gives birth in a pandemic, July 2, 2020
Official Gazette of the Philippines, Proclamation No. 374: Declaring the CPP-NPA as a designated/identified terrorist organization, Dec. 5, 2020
Facebook, Newsroom: Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior, Sept. 22, 2020
Facebook, Community Standards: IV. Integrity and Authenticity: 20. Inauthentic Behavior, Accessed Oct. 27, 2020
ABS-CBN News, AFP admits one of its officers maintained account taken down by Facebook, Sept. 24, 2020
Philippine News Agency, Army wants FB clarification on officer’s taken down page, Sept. 24, 2020
Inquirer.net, PH Army shields officer tagged in accounts shut by Facebook: ‘We trust him’, Sept. 24, 2020
Presidential Communications Operations Office, President Duterte denounces take down of gov’t advocacy pages, Sept. 29, 2020
PTV YouTube, WATCH: President Rodrigo Roa #Duterte’s Public Address, Sept. 28, 2020
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Talk to the People of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Sept. 28, 2020
Facebook, Newsroom: How We Respond to Inauthentic Behavior on Our Platforms: Policy Update, Oct. 21, 2019
Facebook Journalism Project, Programs: How Our Fact-Checking Program Works, Aug. 11, 2020
IFCN Code of Principles, The commitments of the code of principles
Rappler, MISLEADING: Photo of ‘Typhoon Ompong relief operations’, Sept. 14, 2018
Rappler, FALSE: ‘Zero’ journalists harassed, ‘sued by govt’ under Duterte admin, Dec. 22, 2019
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)