Philippine media

Meta points to ‘automation system’ in PNA blocking, issue under investigation

Gelo Gonzales
Meta points to ‘automation system’ in PNA blocking, issue under investigation
'We are investigating and working to resolve this issue,' Meta says

MANILA, Philippines – Meta on Monday, April 25, released a short statement about certain links on the websites of state-sponsored media outlets Philippine News Agency (PNA) and Radyo Pilipinas being prevented from being shared on Facebook.

“We are aware that some links to the PNA and Radyo Pilipinas websites appear to be blocked from being shared on our apps, by an automation system.  As a result, other Facebook Pages that have previously shared these links, would see their posts flagged as well. We are investigating and working to resolve this issue,” Meta said. 

The PNA on Sunday, April 24 informed its followers that Meta had “flagged multiple PNA posts which allegedly violated its community standards.” It said that one of the posts that was flagged and removed was a link to a story titled “Kabankalan City takes pride in being home to oldest living Pinoy.” The article was posted several months ago on September 13, 2021, and was flagged in violation of Facebook’s community standards on April 24, 2022. 

The PNA said that individual accounts which were sharing PNA articles were also flagged, including those PNA reporters and editors. 

Meanwhile, on Monday, April 25, Meta also published a post clarifying that “Fact-checkers do not remove content, accounts or Pages from our apps. We remove content when it violates our Community Standards, which are separate from our fact-checking programs.”

The issue of restrictions on PNA posts began as early as “before midnight on April 23, 2022,” the PNA said in another post made in the afternoon of April 24, wherein the government outlet announced that they were able to post links from the PNA website again.

“The Philippine News Agency (PNA) apologizes to our readers and followers for the delay in the posting of our stories on Facebook due to unforeseen circumstances. Since before midnight on April 23, 2022, PNA stories posted on Facebook, as well as those of individual account-sharers of PNA articles, got flagged — generating outrage, concern, and confusion from netizens,” it said. 

At least one post of one member organization of the fact-checking coalition #FactsFirstPH also reported to have had a Facebook post flagged. Rappler forwarded the incident to Meta but the company hasn’t yet confirmed whether this was also the result of its aforementioned automation system.  – 

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.