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Solons call for ‘independent’ probe on fake Facebook accounts

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MEMBERS of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives called on government agencies to launch “independent investigations” into the alleged involvement of the country’s police and military in the creation of fake social media accounts.

“We cannot rely on the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police), nothing will happen to their own investigation,” BayanMuna Rep. Ferdinand R. Gaite said in an online briefing on Friday.

Mr. Gaite said the Office of the Ombudsman, Department of Information and Communications Technology, and National Bureau of Investigation, among others, must conduct their own probes into the involvement of security forces as reported by Facebook’s management.

Facebook recently took down 57 accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts linked to the AFP and PNP.

The social media giant said these fake profiles were created to “evade enforcement, post content, comment and manage pages.

The PNP has denied links to the accounts and directed an internal investigation.

AFP’s spokesperson, Major General Edgard A. Arevalo, said the clampdown that included somelegitimate accounts would affect their operations against communist insurgency and terrorism.

“In taking down these accounts, it seems that (Facebook) favors the recruitment of communist-terrorist groups,” he said in a Palace briefing Friday.

Facebook also shut down 155 accounts, 11 pages, nine groups, and six Instagram accounts that originated in China with posts expressing strong support for the leadership of President Rodrigo R. Duterteand his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is rumored to possibly run the in the 2022 presidential elections.

House Deputy Minority Speaker and BayanMuna Rep. Carlos I. Zarate said fake accounts would be a threat to the 2022 national and local elections.

“It will really undermine the democratic processes. It is possible that some (politicians) are elected because the public are being misled,” Mr. Zarate said in mixed English and Filipino in an online breifing.

He said foreign entities, specifically China, might interfere in the 2022 polls. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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