Does this mean we can expect a less spam-infested Facebook from now on?
The social media company continues to clean up its network as it announced today that it banned several pages and accounts for violating its policies by attracting users to visit “low quality websites.”
These accounts and pages include those which appear supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.
In a statement released Oct. 22, the California-based company said it removed 95 pages and 39 accounts including Duterte Media, Duterte sa Pagbabago BUKAS, DDS, Duterte Phenomenon, DU30 Trending News, and Manang Imee.
According to the company, these pages and accounts lead people to low quality sites that have “little substantive content and are full of disruptive ads.” The company also alleges that these accounts share “the same advertising click farms.”
The company said it did not want such content appearing on its network and that it has invested in resources to detect and remove them.
It said: “We have more than doubled the number of people working on safety and security this year and now have more than 20,000 people around the world. We use reports from our community and technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect bad behavior and take action more quickly.”
In a tweet, reporter Janvic Mateo of the Philippine Star shared some screenshots of the pages that were taken down.
— Janvic Mateo (@jvrmateoSTAR) October 23, 2018
This announcement comes six months after Facebook announced that it tapped news organization Rappler and blog Vera Files to fact-check news which appears on its network to prevent the spread of false news.
Facebook has a conflicted relationship with Duterte and his supporters. A Bloomberg article published last year alleged that the company trained Duterte’s campaign staff in how they could best use the platform to promote their candidate. The campaign team then created several Facebook accounts to disseminate false news, with some accounts sending threats of violence to those critical of Duterte.
According to Bloomberg, the attacks continued when Duterte was elected, the most notable of which was the spread of Facebook articles that attacked now-jailed Senator Leila de Lima, one of Duterte’s most vocal critics.
As expected, today’s announcement did not sit well with everyone, especially with Duterte supporters.
One netizen named Danzig Richard addresses Facebook and wrote: “The number one most horrible page is Silent No More why don’t you remove that? It’s all about f*cking the government.”
Silent No More is a Facebook account where people critical of Duterte and his policies share their opinions.
Anjo Magbanua II called for the removal of Silent No More as well as Facebook accounts of legitimate media companies such as GMA-7 and ABS-CBN 2. Ironically, he posted his comment on GMA’s Facebook account.
He wrote: “No Silent More (sic) is number 1 [source] of fake news. They should also remove your page GMA7 and ABS-CBN.”
However, some were happy about the pages being taken down.
@the_kelv_man thought it was a case of “better late than never.”
Good riddance! Better late than never.
— Kelvene Requiroso (@the_kelv_man) October 23, 2018
@jerichorayel happily welcomed Facebook’s announcement. He wrote: “That sounds so good to my ears.”
Sarap sa tenga 😇 pic.twitter.com/9aHTab5lTV
— Jericho Rayel Timbol (@jerichorayel) October 23, 2018