NPC wants more info from Facebook on suspicious accounts

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The National Privacy Commission (NPC) said it is initiating a deeper probe on its own after Facebook recently took down accounts supporting Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Davao City mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio due to “coordinated inauthentic behavior”.

NPC chair Raymund Liboro

The NPC said the proliferation of suspicious accounts on the platform continue to threaten the personal data privacy and other security-related rights of its Filipino users.

NPC chair Raymund Liboro told Newsbytes.PH in an interview that they are also inquiring with Facebook if the recent suspension of the accounts is related to the sudden appearance of dummy accounts last June. Liboro said the social media giant found nothing irregular or suspicious regarding that incident.   

According to Facebook, they recently “removed two separate networks for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB). One of these networks originated in China and the other in the Philippines.”

Under the network that originated in the Philippines, they “removed 57 Facebook accounts, 31 Pages and 20 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity.”

“With this, we have sent a letter today (Sept. 24.) inviting them to appear before the Commission as we seek for more details from its findings,” Liboro said in a separate media statement.

Liboro said this is not the first time that the NPC is meeting with the social media giant regarding a certain issue.  

“You may recall that in 2018, the Commission probe into the exploitation of the ‘View As’ feature to extract user’s access tokens without their consent resulted into an order to comply with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, such as establishing a dedicated help desk for Filipino data subjects on privacy related matters,” he said.

“Now, we call again for Facebook’s compliance with laws, rules, and regulations under our jurisdiction. This ensures that responsible social media platforms shall elevate their community standards to a level that adequately protects the data privacy rights of Filipino data subjects and rights to free speech and expression,” Liboro said.

He added: “It is incumbent on us at the National Privacy Commission to step up our action especially on platforms, like Facebook that is considered as one of the biggest holders and processors of personal data.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Leila de Lima said she was no longer surprised to hear about the suspension of the fake accounts and pro-Duterte Facebook pages.

“But what the recent Facebook shut down of Duterte camp’s fake accounts and pages proves is that the Davao group is now operating, not just a troll farm, but a troll pigsty for the 2022 presidential election,” De Lima said.

The detained lawmaker said Facebook has to look out for the same template Duterte used in 2016, which the Davao-China group is now replicating in Sara Duterte for the 2022 election.

“I hope Facebook will do a constant sanitation and clearing up of its ginormous cyber-space of all Duterte-China social media parasites and must henceforth never again allow its platform to become a factory of coordinated lies and disinformation as it strives towards more accountability and transparency,” she said.

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