Facebook deletes hundreds of pages linked to 'inauthentic' political group

  • 30/03/2019
The tech giant took the unusual step of linking it to a businessman. Photo credit: File

Facebook has removed a social media network in the Philippines for "coordinated inauthentic behaviour".

The tech giant took the unusual step of linking it to a businessman who said he had managed the President's online election campaign in 2016.

Facebook said its investigation found that the online activity was linked to a network organised by a former Omnicom Media Group Philippines chief executive Nic Gabunada, and had removed 200 pages of groups and accounts on Facebook and Instagram.

"The individuals behind this activity used a combination of authentic and fake accounts to disseminate content across a variety of pages and groups," Facebook head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement.

"They frequently posted about local and political news, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate updates and views, alleged misconduct of political opponents, and controversial events that were purported to occur during previous administrations," he said.

Facebook said it had taken down the pages and accounts "based on their behaviour, not the content they posted".

Gabunada told ABS-CBN News that it was "unfortunate" that Facebook linked him to the questionable pages and accounts.

"If they will have to take down my account, it's their prerogative. On the other hand, they have to consider I'm not doing it for the sake of whatever it is that they're accusing me of," Gabunada said.

In an interview with the news site Rappler in May 2016, shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte had been elected, Gabunada said he had volunteered to help lead Duterte's social media team during his campaign.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) assistant secretary Ana Marie Banaag said Duterte has only one communications group, the PCOO, and Gabunada is not part of it.

Studies have shown that the Philippines at times has led the world when it comes to sending text messages, using Facebook, and posting selfies.


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