OPPONENTS of presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. are allegedly behind the suspension of the Facebook account of BBM spokesperson lawyer Vic Rodriguez.
Groups working for BBM’s rivals instigated a barrage of bogus complaints against Rodriguez’s FB account, which was suspended because of the arbitrariness of the social media platform’s content moderators.
This is according to congressman Mike Defensor who said he himself was a victim of “false complaints” that prompted the suspension of his FB account last year. Defensor is running for Quezon City mayor, and is an ally of Marcos Jr.
FB’s admission that Rodriguez’s account was flagged by mistake has also betrayed the vulnerability of the social media platform’s moderators – many of whom are Filipinos – to undue influence by partisan political activities.
Considering that FB’s moderators are not even employees of the social media giant – but work for outsourcing companies contracted to perform the job – they may be susceptible to political manipulation one way or the other.
FB’s moderators review posts on the platform, and negative feedback can result in account suspension. A spokesperson for FB said Rodriguez’s account had been “incorrectly flagged as an imposter account.”
The (Rodriguez) account was restricted for reasons unrelated to any posted content. The account has since been restored, the spokesperson said. FB was urged to exercise restraint in suspending accounts amid the political heat heading into the May 9 electioms. FB was urged “to exercise greater restraint” in disabling the accounts of individuals actively involved in the political campaign activities of candidates.
Otherwise, a foreign entity like FB may be accused of meddling in our elections – a sovereign exercise – in favor of this or that candidate,” Defensor warned. FB could be accused “of suppressing free speech, and of imposing its own political values on others, he said.
Amid the controversy, Rodriguez has issued a statement of gratitude. “It is with the deepest gratitude that I commend the media, lawmakers, social media influencers and other personalities for making a firm stand on, and for fighting for, the Filipino’s freedom of expression, a basic freedom enshrined in the Philippine Constitution and in all laws of the land,” he said.
“Indeed , we shall allow no usurper to trample upon the basic Filipino right, inked by the very blood of our forbearers and scribed in the nationa soul,” he added.
Rodriguez said the unanimous howl of protests serves as a warning to those who mistakenly think Filipinos will simply take sitting down abuses that tend to suppress the very foundation of the Filipinos’ hard-earned democracy.
According to the lawyer, Filipinos may be patient and extremely tolerant as a people, and they may be broken down to their knees but they keep on standing. He said Filipinos can be threatened with a thousand deaths but they persist to exist. They can be hurt but they can never be silenced, he said.
“Those who wish ill of us can shove us into the darkest dark for all they want, but even darkness has eyes and we shall see through the deceptions, the oppressions, the lies, and the maneuverings,” Rodriguez added.
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