FB warns Esperon over post; DILG hits social media giant for ‘alarming’ move

Esperon: We'd like to look into 'possible participation of personalities' in community pantries

MANILA, Philippines — Facebook has issued a restriction warning against National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. over his post urging Filipinos to “unite against armed struggle” and organizations supporting communist group members who he claimed have allegedly “infiltrated Congress.”

But the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) took the cudgels for Esperon on Wednesday, saying Facebook’s warning was “downright offensive” and “alarming.” It also called on the social media giant to revisit and modify its community standards.

“The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) denounces Facebook and its biased fact-checkers for their imprudence and audacity to issue a warning to no less than the country’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. for his FB post on April 14, 2022 urging all Filipinos to unite to end the Communist insurgency,” DILG Undersecretary and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Esperon also serves as the vice chairman of the NTF-Elcac.

“The imprudence of FB to warn Secretary Esperon on a national security issue is unthinkable and downright offensive as the social media platform has taken on the role of Big Brother with the power to censure the social media posts of the NSA himself on matters of national security,” Malaya went on.

‘Alarming’

He described Facebook’s move as “alarming, if not dangerous.”

He said the social media giant has “appointed itself as an omnipotent force that can censure at their discretion — based on standards that they themselves created — the legitimate posts of highly respected officials of the country.

The DILG, Malaya said, also found it “questionable” how Facebook seems to be “overly focused in calling out and restricting the accounts of government officials while turning a blind eye to others.”

“We, therefore, urge FB to revisit and modify its so-called standards that are obviously one-sided and serve to promote the interests of the few and powerful. They can start by consulting their users whose patronage of their platform has made their business thrive,” he said.

“Finally, we call on FB to stick to its goal of helping people connect and engage, and to leave national security matters to the experts,” Malaya added.

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