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”…
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.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.