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Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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Cabaero: Facebook ban not enough

FACEBOOK has banned a digital marketing group and all its subsidiary pages and accounts for misrepresenting themselves and fooling millions of Filipino followers.

Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s Cybersecurity Policy, said last Jan. 10 Facebook banned Twinmark Media Enterprises, a digital marketing group in the Philippines, and all its subsidiaries from Facebook and Instagram for repeatedly violating its misrepresentation and spam policies.

Violations included “coordinated inauthentic behavior, the use of fake account, leading people to ad farms, and selling access to Facebook pages to artificially increase distribution and generate profit.” Gleicher’s report may be viewed at https://newsroom.fb.com; then search for Twinmark.

Removed were 220 Facebook Pages, 73 Facebook accounts, and 29 Instagram accounts related to Twinmark Media. Gleicher said about 43 million accounts followed at least one of these removed Facebook pages.

“We do not want our services to be used for this type of behavior, nor do we want the group to be able to reestablish a presence on Facebook,” said Gleicher.

Also removed were pages with highest number of followers, including the Filipino Channel Online with 10.4 million followers; Gorgeous Me, 5.7 million; Unhappy, 4.9 million; Text Message, 4.4 million; and TNP Media, 4.3 million.

Gleicher admitted that these banned pages will find ways to get back on the platform. He said Facebook will continue to work to “uncover such kind of abuse,” and “we know that the people behind it—whether economically or politically motivated—will continue to evolve their tactics.” They may be gone now, but back soon in another shape, form or name.

While the Facebook ban has been long in coming, it is not enough to stop these persons or groups because they will always find ways to cheat the system and resume their money-making activities. The best way is for Facebook, the country’s Department of Information and Technology Communications and other agencies on cybersecurity to go after these individual’s finances. Hit them where it hurts most–their pockets.

Check tax returns of these individuals or their companies. Do they issue official receipts for their financial transactions? Do they have the needed government permits to operate such a business?

Do it the Eliot Ness’s way when he went against the mafia. Ness was a United States Treasury agent who used financial records of the mafia to go after Al Capone’s booze-smuggling Chicago empire.

Since some online activities appear like mafia work, with their brotherhood, code of silence and destructive (although not physical) ways, then the best way to stop them is to hit them in their finances. The Facebook ban will only stop them temporarily.

With the elections still four months away, there’s time for these people to regroup, be resourceful and create millions of accounts and millions of followers. Unless stopped by other means.


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