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Philippine Congress to probe Facebook over busted propaganda network

Philippine Congress is set to investigate Facebook over the recent takedown of a propaganda network linked to the country's military and police, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano vowed on Tuesday, September 29.

Cayetano said in a Facebook post that Congress will probe the social media giant after the passage of the 2021 budget.

"Upon passage of the 2021 Budget in the House of Representatives, rest assured that we shall initiate the appropriate proceedings in aid of legislation to truly determine if the reported actions of Facebook are detrimental to the constitutional freedom of expression guaranteed to all Filipinos, regardless of political color, rich or poor, left or right," said Cayetano.

While Cayetano thanked Facebook for its usefulness as a means of disseminating information on House proceedings and hearings, he also called it out for allegedly being partisan.

His statement comes after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, September 28, threatened to stop Facebook in the Philippines after the social media giant took down a fake network linked to the military and police.

Malacañang also blasted Facebook on Tuesday for taking down "pro-government" pages and accounts, while supposedly allowing pages of government critics to stay online.

Facebook had previously suspended the accounts of government critics, such as those of activist and comedian Mae Paner and blogger Jover Laurio. A post from journalist Inday Espina Varona in 2016 was also taken down by the social network.

Facebook has noted the removal of the networks of accounts and pages was not due to the content of the accounts taken down but due to coordinated inauthentic behavior – behavior broadly defined as the use of Facebook or Instagram assets to mislead people or Facebook about one's identity, purpose of use, or origin from which one is using the site or to otherwise use specific behaviors to evade enforcement of Facebook's rules and policies. – Victor Barreiro/Rappler.com