There is no evidence that Sass Rogando Sasot’s accounts on Facebook were deleted or banned for political reasons

The buzz going around at the moment is that popular pro-Duterte social media personality Sass Rogando Sasot was banned from Facebook. Both critics and supporters of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, current Philippine Vice President Inday Sara Duterte, insist that this action taken by Facebook is “legit” after having been “checked”…

Sass Sasot's FB accounts have been deleted by Meta. I checked - legit.

Critics of the Duterte clan and their legions of loyalist supporters (a.k.a. the Die-hard Duterte Supporters or “DDS”) have been long known to be rabid in their call to “deplatform” DDS influencers. The most recent victim of this witch-hunt is podcast program PumaPodcast which, back in May 2023, dared cast an episode featuring Sasot as a guest. Yellowtard “social news network” Rappler published a “report” on this travesty authored by a certain Jairo Bolledo that included cherry-picked opinions on the matter from various sources. The featured quote in Bolledo’s report pretty much summed up the slant…

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One Twitter user said people shoot themselves in the foot when legitimate platforms are shared with individuals “who brought us to this political climate.” The same user added that personalities like Sasot “should be deplatformed, ostracized from public [forums], and her existence be erased from public memory.”

In the absence of a murder weapon, all that the amateur sleuthing surrounding Sasot’s demise on Facebook have to work with is motive on the bases of the above Rappler “report”. Well, that and a photo of Sasot holding up a phone that seemingly exhibits a message on Facebook notifying her of the suspension of her account.

Facebook does not normally issue any explanation for action it takes against user accounts. Its community standards guidelines are the only bases it offers. The most relevant guideline to Sasot’s case is likely the one on “misinformation” and this paragraph in particular…

We remove misinformation where it is likely to directly contribute to the risk of imminent physical harm. We also remove content that is likely to directly contribute to interference with the functioning of political processes and certain highly deceptive manipulated media. In determining what constitutes misinformation in these categories, we partner with independent experts who possess knowledge and expertise to assess the truth of the content and whether it is likely to directly contribute to the risk of imminent harm. This includes, for instance, partnering with human rights organisations with a presence on the ground in a country to determine the truth of a rumour about civil conflict, and partnering with health organisations during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A clue (by a long shot, perhaps) is reference made by Facebook to “partnering with human rights organisations with a presence on the ground in a country to determine the truth of a rumour about civil conflict”. Rappler along with Vera Files are reportedly two of Facebook’s “fact check” partners in the Philippines. Indeed, The Straits Times reported back then…

VERA Files and Rappler IQ are the only two Philippine-based members of an international fact-checking network at the Poynter Institute, a journalism school in the United States.

Both of Facebook’s “partners” are widely known for their editorial slant in favour of the Philippines’ Yellowtard-Communist Axis. Vera Files was founded by Ellen Tordesillas who, for more than two decades, observers insist, published her “journalism” in the service of this camp. Back in April 2018 when Vera Files announced its “fact check” partnership with Facebook, Tordesillas was found to be lacking a working definition of “fake news” when grilled by then ANC Early Edition host Ian Esguerra.

Nonetheless, the idea that Sasot’s suspension from the Facebook platform was motivated by anti-Duterte agents that had infiltrated it is circumstantial at best. Unless more “legit” evidence that directly establishes a cause-and-effect relationship between Sasot’s “plight” and the political agendas of both the Yellowtard-Communist Axis as well as that of the camp of current President Bongbong Marcos (the latter also being accused of having a hand in this “censorship” campaign) can be presented, it is best, for now, to sit back and apply just a healthy enough dose of bemusement as we watch the usual Tardic Wars that Philippine politics is renowned for play out.

5 Replies to “There is no evidence that Sass Rogando Sasot’s accounts on Facebook were deleted or banned for political reasons”

  1. The problem with FB is you can’t tell exactly what they are doing. Both Rappler and Vera Files have the power to suspend and delete any accounts they want to for any reason. This gives Zuckerberg the “plausible deniability” he needs so he can simply claim ignorance whenever something happens.

    He had the old Trending section of FB interview himself back in 2015 and he said that he was ready to start his socalled “new world order” whereby he felt he had the right to decide who could and who could not lead any county in the world and he would use the “power of Facebook” to back up his decisions.

    As you can imagine, that went over like a flying brick, so he quickly removed the entire trending section claiming it had been hacked and was posting fake news.

    But he’s still doing what he says he wanted to do. The two world leaders he hated the most were Trump and Duterte.

    He installed Rappler and Vera Files to be the official fact checkers for us, and just kept posting fake news about Trump.

    So the simple fact that an account of someone in the Philippines who is allegedly posting “controversial” content gets suspended usually means this is either FB, Rappler, or Vera Files warning them to watch what they are posting. But FB will never give you a legitimate reason for closing an account other than it somehow violated their AUP or TOS. But they will never tell you how you violated them.

    I used to look at FB as a being a necessary evil, but I no longer think they are necessary.

    1. No one will ever know exactly why one or anyone was suspended from Facebook. However, the idea that politics in the Philippines matters enough to anyone in Facebook is a lot less plausible than the possiblity that Sasot had, in actual fact, violated something in FB’s community standards. We do know that Rappler and Vera Files does have the power to remove individual posts from publication, though it is not clear whether this power extends to actually deleting entire accounts or suspending anyone’s activities.

      There is very little evidence to work with as Facebook is under no obligation to disclose the details of any specific suspension case. So it is more prudent to take the speculations of members and “thought leaders” of one or the other political ‘tard camp in the Philippines with no more than a grain of salt.

      1. For some strange reason, possibly Zuckerberg’s personal hatred of Duterte, he DOES take an interest in what goes on here. However, in this particular case, with all the previous things that have been happening, I’d be much more willing to believe that the HoR speaker Martin Romualdez, PBBM’s cousin, had more to do with the account deletion.

        This is more like his style, as he hates any bad publicity with a passion. This is the real reason for his tyrade against Dr Badoy Ka Eric & SMNI; they make him look bad. Even scarier is the observation that PBBM appears afraid of criticizing his cousin as well.

        I’ve even heard that Martin is the real source behind all the “impeach Sara” nonsense because he wants to take her place. But he doesn’t want to rule side-by-side with his cousin; he wants to find a way to take over and restore ML to bake his Tita proud of him.

        God help us all…😉

  2. Sass’ account was totally deleted, not suspended. Zuck may not have anything to do with it but whoever is in charge on FB ph are more than enough to do the deed.

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