Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that he wants a dialogue with social media giant Facebook after it recently shut down pages linked to the state forces that were found spreading misinformation.
“You cannot lay down a policy for my government. I allow you to operate here. You cannot bar or prevent me from espousing the objectives of the government,” said Duterte in a late-night address.
Facebook removed last week 57 accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts linked to the police and military for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
However, the government forces denied having a hand on the supposed fake accounts and pages.
“We allow you to operate here, hoping that you could help us also,” said Duterte. “Now, if you cannot advocate something which is [for] the good of the people, then what is your purpose here in the country?”
Duterte pointed out that it is his job to protect the interests of the government.
“If you cannot help me protect government interest, then let us talk,” he said.
The President also accused the social media platform of enabling rebellion after the shutdown of the fake accounts.
“If you are promoting the cause of the rebellion, which was already here before you came, and thousands of my soldiers and civilians dying,” said Duterte. “Then if you cannot reconcile the idea of what your purpose is or was, then we have to talk.”
“Is there life after Facebook? I don’t know,” warned Duterte.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that supporters of Duterte would likely look for other platforms after the shutdown of the said fake accounts.
In 2018, Facebook also took down hundreds of pages – including pro-Duterte pages – that were found posting spam or irrelevant content.