Facebook shuts down hundreds of accounts and pages linked to PH-based company

Photo: Pixabay.com
Photo: Pixabay.com

After removing several pro-Duterte and Marcos accounts, Facebook announced today that it was banning the Quezon City-based digital marketing company that owns the infamous Trending News Portal website.

In a statement posted on Facebook’s newsroom, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said that the social media company is banning Twinmark Media Enterprises and all its subsidiaries for allegedly violating its misrepresentation and spam policies.

According to Rappler, Twinmark is the company behind the website Trending News Portal, which the news website said publishes articles with “practically zero verification.”

Trending News Portal is known for spreading fake news articles. It’s also known as former Philippine Communications Operations Office assistant secretary Mocha Uson‘s favorite source of information, many of which have been debunked.

Gleicher said that Twinmark committed offenses such as coordinating inauthentic behavior, using fake accounts, leading people to ad farms, and selling access to Facebook Pages to artificially increase distribution and generate profit.

Facebook also discovered that Twinmark was selling administrative rights to pages it created, a violation of the social media platform’s policy.

As a consequence, Gleicher said that Facebook removed 220 Facebook pages, 73 Facebook accounts, and 29 Instagram accounts belonging to the company and its subsidiaries. It also removed 43 million accounts that followed at least one of the Facebook pages that it owned.

Screenshot of the page which Facebook banned. Photo: Facebook Newsroom.
Screenshot of the page which Facebook banned. Photo: Facebook Newsroom.

Gleicher showed two Facebook pages allegedly owned by Twinmark — Trending Topics Philippines and The Filipino Insights — which changed their names after they built up a substantial following. He said this was a violation of Facebook’s policies because it misleads followers.

Screenshot of the page which Facebook banned. Photo: Facebook Newsroom.
Screenshot of the page which Facebook banned. Photo: Facebook Newsroom.

Gleicher also included screenshots of posts which were allegedly from Facebook pages owned by Twinmark that were shared “in a coordinated way.”

Facebook has been cracking down on questionable activities happening on its platform. In October last year, it removed pro-government and pro-Marcos accounts for allegedly leading followers to “low-quality websites.” 

In recent years, the company has been criticized for sharing its users’ data with third parties, its role in the spread of hate speech, and censorship of various content, among others.

Don’t expect this to be the end of Facebook’s crackdown. Gleicher said that the company will continue to “invest heavily in safety and security” to weed the platform of similar rule-breaking players.

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