Duterte supporters threaten to leave Facebook for Russia's VK

MANILA, Philippines – Upset over Facebook's third-party fact-checking partnership with Rappler and Vera Files, leading supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte have urged their followers to abandon Facebook.

Entertainer Jimmy Bondoc, assistant vice president for entertainment of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, called on his followers to delete Facebook. His call on Friday, April 13, went viral on social media. 

In the post, Bondoc denounced the partnership of Facebook, Rappler, and Vera Files, and encouraged his followers to look for an alternative social media platform. The post, along with a petition discrediting Rappler and Vera Files, has since been deleted.

Duterte supporter Paula Defensor Knack's Facebook page, however, took the move a step further by asking supporters to migrate to the "Russian Facebook" – VKontakte or VK.

In a post on Friday, Knack called on supporters from pro-Duterte groups to move to VK. These groups include Pres. Rody Duterte International, Paula Defensor Philippine Group, Pres. Rody Duterte Facebook Army, Duterte Kami ang Media Mo, Die-Hard Fans of Miriam Defensor Santiago, Paula Defensor and Friends, and Paula Defensor Philippine News & Global Supporters.

In a separate post, she said they have reached out to other pro-Duterte bloggers to make the move.

However, it appears the move may not be complete. In another post on Saturday, April 14, she said, "WE SHALL RETURN TO FACEBOOK IF PRRD OR THE COUNTRY IS IN TROUBLE. Thank you. Vk.com is our TRUTHFUL back-up. Its members are ready to return anytime to FB to defend PRRD!"


Pro-Duterte supporters aren't the only groups seeking refuge in the Russian site. According to a report by The Atlantic, American extremist groups, neo-Nazis, and the alt-right have also shifted to VK because of its loose enforcement when it comes to hate speech. – Rappler.com