Face­book bans PH com­pany for spread­ing lies, ma­nip­u­la­tive be­hav­ior

Watchmen Daily Journal - - NATION - (Rap­pler.com)

MANILA — In a press re­lease on Jan­uary 11, Face­book an­nounced it was ban­ning dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing group Twin­mark Me­dia En­ter­prises from the plat­form for vi­o­lat­ing its poli­cies.

Ac­cord­ing to Face­book, "This or­ga­ni­za­tion has re­peat­edly vi­o­lated our mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion and spam poli­cies — in­clud­ing through co­or­di­nated inau­then­tic be­hav­ior, the use of fake ac­counts, lead­ing peo­ple to ad farms, and sell­ing ac­cess to Face­book Pages to ar­ti­fi­cially in­crease distri­bu­tion and gen­er­ate profit. We do not want our ser­vices to be used for this type of be­hav­ior, nor do we want the group to be able to reestab­lish a pres­ence on Face­book."

As a re­sult, Face­book has re­moved 220 pages, 73 ac­counts, and 29 In­sta­gram ac­counts. This fol­lows an in­ves­ti­ga­tion which found that Twin­mark was sell­ing ac­cess and ad­min rights to Face­book pages that they cre­ated, among them TNP Me­dia with 4.3 mil­lion fol­low­ers.

"This spe­cific in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan after we learned that Twin­mark was sell­ing ad­min rights to Face­book Pages it had cre­ated, in or­der to in­crease distri­bu­tion and gen­er­ate profit, which vi­o­lates our spam pol­icy. This prompted our teams to take a deeper look at a broader group of Pages and ac­counts as­so­ci­ated with these users, ul­ti­mately un­cov­er­ing a large net­work of Pages and ac­counts that were en­gag­ing in co­or­di­nated inau­then­tic be­hav­ior, the use of fake ac­counts, lead­ing peo­ple to ad farms and sell­ing ac­cess to Face­book Pages."

What is Trend­ing News Por­tal?

In De­cem­ber of 2017, Rap­pler ran a se­ries of sto­ries on Trend­ing News Por­tal (TNP), a web­site that brands it­self as a "dig­i­tal news out­fit," spe­cial­iz­ing in vi­ral sto­ries. Apart from vi­ral con­tent, bulk of its sto­ries in 2016 are on Pres­i­dent Duterte, among them ques­tion­able sto­ries against his crit­ics. Then Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Op­er­a­tions Of­fice (PCOO) As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Mar­gaux "Mocha" Uson posted more than 500 posts link­ing to the site (trend­ingnews­portal.net. ph or tnp.ph) which has since changed URLs.

This isn't the first time Face­book has re­moved pages in the Philip­pines for pol­icy vi­o­la­tions. In Oc­to­ber of 2018, Face­book has re­moved a net­work of 95 pages and 35 ac­counts, some of them pro-Duterte for shar­ing links to ad­ver­tis­ing click farms.

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