Editorial: Social media purge

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IT WAS no April fool’s Day joke when Facebook announced that 200 pages, groups and accounts linked to Nicanor Gabunada, Jr., President Rodrigo Duterte’s former social media manager, was removed.

According to Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy, 67 Facebook pages, 68 accounts, 40 groups, and 25 Instagram accounts linked to Gabunada were removed.

Gleicher was reported saying that the basis for the shutdown was the combination of “authentic and fake” accounts were “basically being used to drive messaging on behalf of, and related to, local [election] candidates.”

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has nothing to do with these Facebook accounts, which were initiated during the campaign or even during the assumption of his presidency.

“No [government funds were used for those accounts]. I said the President has nothing to do with that and we will not allow that,” he added.

While Facebook’s efforts is to prevent the proliferation of “fake news” on their platform, what is happening right now is quite concerning.

The Facebook has all the right to remove accounts that do not conform to its policies or those that threaten other netizens and are being used to harm others.

However, it is scary to think that this power the social media giant wields can be used as a weapon by someone with power and influence.

Whoever is at the top of the food chain may ask or put pressure on Facebook or any other social media platforms to remove posts, accounts, and pages that it does not want.

Before we used to say that we are unable to control what is being posted on the internet, which is true. However, nowadays, people are slowly finding ways to control the internet. People have discovered ways to limit the freedom of speech and expression of some on one of the freest place on earth -- the internet.

There are already limits placed on the traditional media. In the not so distant future, there will also be limits and restrictions on the new media.


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