As part of a programme to censor political views which goes against its corporate line, Facebook’s owners have decided to implement a so-called “fake checking” regime which will hide or delete posts that do not get certified as “accurate” by Facebook’s corporate partners in The Philippines. Before going any further, it must be said that any such “fake checking” process is not only unnecessary but it is an insult to the intelligence of grown men and woman who simply want to read, share and discuss news and opinion pieces as they see fit. This is their unalienable right in a free society and of course it is up to intelligent people to separate factual information from disinformation, irrespective of the context.
There is nothing in law which says that people must be automatically shielded from certain forms of information (including disinformation) by either private or public sectors. Furthermore, there are provisions in Philippine law which allow for freedom of speech. There exists a quote that is generally attributed to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels that states, “Accuse your enemy of that which you yourself are guilty”. There is no clearer example of this than a corporate/mainstream media complex partnering with Facebook in order to censor pro-Duterte content on social media, when these same corporate/mainstream media oligarchs behind the companies in question accuse President Duterte’s government of imposing censorship.
While Duterte has not passed nor has he advocated for any censorship laws, Facebook is seeking to do just that and making matters far worse, they will be partnering with two entities famous for peddling false accusations against Duterte in relation to censorship.
The news website Rappler and the organisation Vera Files are set to work with Facebook to determine what posts are factual and non-factual and in the process will offer Facebook guidelines as to which posts it should hide or delete and which Facebook users it should censor. This is nothing short of corporate dictatorship and since corporations like Facebook are more powerful than some countries, they should be held to the same account as a nation when it comes to censoring people’s free speech. As Rappler and Vera Files are famous for having a militantly anti-Duterte agenda, the outcome of such a scheme is crystal clear.
While President Duterte is accused of being a “human rights violator” for cleansing the streets of dangerous criminals and narco-bandits, it is Facebook which is set to violate the human right to free speech among Filipinos. While Duterte is accused of trying to harass Rappler by enforcing well known laws regarding corporate governance, it is now Rappler that will be working with Facebook to shut down democratic debates among Duterte supporters. While Duterte wants to clean up the corporate oligarchy, Rappler and Vera Files have shown their true colours in partnering with a major foreign entity that is not answerable to the Filipino people and may well disregard all the laws and customs of The Philippines, just as the company does throughout the world, including in Europe.
In this sense Rappler, Vera Files and Facebook are all guilty of the things which they have accused President Duterte of doing. Any sort of censorship of online content is an insult to the intelligence of the readers of this content, but it is adding insult to injury when two infamously biased sources are brought in to destroy the human rights of the Filipino people. Perhaps Filipinos should start a petition to bring those in charge of the guilty corporations in front of the International Criminal Court for violating human rights in The Philippines? This would be the ultimate twist in a continued battle against the free democratic will of the Philippine nation.