Facebook says a post by a widely followed Filipino influencer winking at a possible firing squad execution for Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a vocal opponent of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, does not violate its rules on hate speech as well as violent content. The post, which has more than 100 comments calling for the senator to be executed, electrocuted, skinned alive, as well as fed to army ants, remains up, despite the company’s stated commitment to keeping its community from the Philippines safe.
Specifically, from the Philippines, Facebook says This particular is actually building better safeguards against “bad content.” This particular says This particular is actually partnering with experts to raise digital literacy. Facebook says This particular knows This particular “didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse or thinking through all the ways people could use the tools on the platform to do harm.” as well as in a lengthy blog post today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Just as before promised to mitigate the divisive messages as well as misinformation in which have spread so widely on the site.
Yet the company told BuzzFeed News the post in which’s inspiring calls for violence against Trillanes does not violate its Community Standards. as well as so This particular remains — with 12,000 reactions, nearly 3,000 shares, as well as more than 1,0 comments. Here’s one: “Can we just shoot him right now as well as explain later?” Here’s another: “Just cremate Trillanes alive.” (Facebook deleted a handful of comments after BuzzFeed News inquired about the post.)
The post — as well as the threatening comments This particular’s prompted — illustrate Facebook’s particular dilemma in emerging internet markets like the Philippines, where political discourse is actually polarized as well as contentious. This particular lives in a troubling gray area. This particular’s not quite violative of Facebook’s Community Standards. This particular’s not hate speech or harassment. nevertheless This particular’s clearly a substrate — or a dog whistle — for both. In many ways, This particular’s a perfect example of Facebook’s ongoing failure to balance its convenient free speech ideals with the hate, abuse, as well as incitement “at scale” in which its platform has birthed. as well as for the Philippines, This particular’s just further proof in which the company was not as well as is actually not prepared for the information war This particular helped create.
“These posts are clearly detrimental to the political culture of the Philippines, the prospect for effective democracy from the Philippines, as well as someone’s life as well as safety,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. “This particular is actually exactly the sort of expression in which Facebook amplifies — as well as yet [Facebook] denies its power.”
Even if the post doesn’t violate Facebook’s current community standards, “in which doesn’t mean these standards are effective or not bad for society as a whole,” added Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University professor who studies social media. “as well as right now in which political leaders as well as governments around the entire world have gotten used to abusing Facebook, Zuckerberg will be pressed to allow This particular type of harmful content to remain on the platform, or face expulsion via operating in places such as Myanmar as well as the Philippines.”
Trillanes’s arrest has been looming since last week, when Duterte withdrew a 2011 amnesty granted to the senator for his involvement in three failed military coup attempts protesting official corruption. Duterte ordered the Philippine military to detain him as well as so, for the past few days, Trillanes has taken refuge from the Philippine Senate building to avoid what he says he considers an illegal arrest.
as well as on Facebook, a mob of Duterte’s online supporters has gathered in pro-Duterte groups as well as pages to enthusiastically call for Trillanes’s imprisonment. RJ Nieto — a pro-administration influencer with 1.3 million followers — went further.
“A firing squad for Trillanes?” Nieto, who goes by the moniker “Thinking Pinoy,” wrote on Sept. 5 on Facebook. “Trillanes, if found guilty, may be sentenced to death by the court martial … Death by firing squad is actually one of the possible modes of execution.”
“The President has the prerogative to reduce the severity of a punishment, as well as I believe [Duterte] will do so if as well as when Trillanes is actually sentenced to death,” he continued. “This particular’s still fun to think about, though.”
A review of more than a thousand comments on the post reveals This particular to be a hive of invective; BuzzFeed News counted more than 100 comments in which directly called for violence against Trillanes.
“Can he face death by army ants instead?” asked one commenter, whose reply garnered the most likes — 637 of them — as well as which Facebook removed after receiving questions via BuzzFeed News.
“Skin him alive first, then get his nails one at a time, then pour some alcohol over his body then pluck his teeth one at a time… in which must be exciting!” said another. The reply had 85 likes; Facebook also removed This particular comment. BuzzFeed News sent Facebook four violent comments as examples of potentially hateful speech.
While Facebook took action against the four comments, This particular left Nieto’s post untouched. The company explained in which while some comments violated its credible violence policies, the post in which inspired them did not. Facebook did not provide a rationale because of This particular determination.
“Facebook has This particular bizarre idea in which This particular has some responsibility to protect violent hate speech because This particular might, under some complex parsing of the grammar, not directly call for violence against This particular specific person at This particular specific time,” Vaidhyanathan told BuzzFeed News, noting in which as a private company, Facebook is actually under no obligation to do so. “Facebook has decided This particular has to bend over backwards to [fulfill] This particular commitment to a diversity of voices.”
Last November, Facebook partnered with the Duterte government to build a submarine cable system in which would certainly connect Philippine internet systems to the rest of Asia as well as the US. (Officials reportedly denied to disclose how much Facebook invested from the system.) The social network has also been available to anyone having a smartphone for free from the country since 2013, thanks to deals the company struck with local carriers. For many from the Philippines, a persistently poor nation, Facebook is actually the only way to access the internet — where partisan political propaganda has become native on the platform.
“Facebook has become the best possible platform for authoritarian as well as nationalist movements to spread threats as well as terror against those who would certainly stand up for democracy as well as human rights,” Vaidhyanathan said.
The political issue with Trillanes is actually not the first of its kind from the Philippines. In February 2017, the government arrested Sen. Leila de Lima, an outspoken opponent of Duterte, following a spate of false news as well as propaganda on Facebook seemingly meant to damage her reputation. A former human rights commission chief, de Lima had investigated Duterte for his alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings in Davao, a city in Southern Philippines where Duterte had previously been mayor for three decades. De Lima has right now been in jail for over a year, despite outcry via international human rights groups over what they consider a politically motivated detention.
as well as in November, nearly two dozen pro-Duterte Facebook pages as well as websites shared the fake news in which Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, another Duterte critic, tried to leave the country to escape the impeachment complaint filed against her. In May, she was ousted by fellow justices via the Supreme Court in May on government charges in which alleged her appointment by Duterte’s predecessor was legally flawed.