Fil-Ams calls on Facebook to remove troll sites
MANILA, Philippines — A group of Filipino-Americans who had uncovered a network of “trolls” attacking aspiring Vice President Leni Robredo called on Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg to immediately remove those accounts and their posts, saying that they pollute the Filipino democracy.
In a report released on Tuesday, the American Filipinos for Good Governance (USFGG) launched TrollExposer.com, where they identified hundreds of Facebook accounts, pages and groups that consistently share fake news about Robredo and label her a communist sympathizer.
The group launched the website in response to former Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s challenge to show him “where the trolls are”, as he denied hiring troll farms to support his candidacy and attack Robredo.
Using publicly available data and artificial intelligence, the group was able to trace 136 unique pieces of content (such as posts, images, videos) that had been shared a total of 1,976 times across a network of 737 accounts. and 77 pages.
Much of the content comes from the government’s own counter-insurgency task force and its spokesperson Lorraine Badoy, who continues to baselessly insist that Robredo plans to form a coalition government with communist rebels.
The group found the top five accounts (profiles and pages) that fetch red tagging content targeting the VP and sharing, followed by the number of times they shared it:
1. Domingo Castillo – 202 times
2. Fernando Tolentino – 130 times
3. Federal Party, E Philippines – 53 times
4. Tfn Calce — 52 times
5. Francisco Esguerra — 40 times
Many of these accounts share their fake content with a large number of Facebook pages for overseas Filipino workers and many apolitical sites.
These attacks appear coordinated and systematic, intensifying in the run-up to the 2022 election where Robredo currently trails the ousted dictator’s son and namesake in the polls, the group said.
“Our country has become extremely polarized through vigorous troll activity,” said Eric Lachica, USFGG coordinator in Washington DC. “Trolls have found fertile ground in weakly regulated social media to saturate the public with misinformation. These lies have been allowed to spread on Facebook for years.
“Making the presidency decide on the basis of lies that rewrite history and hide the fact that much of this troll activity is state sponsored would be a tragedy,” he added. “We hope it’s not too late to detoxify the minds and hearts of our people.”
The group called on Zuckerberg to crack down on these networks and act decisively against misinformation.
“That’s why we turned to Troll Exposer. The spread of harmful misinformation, manipulated narratives, and false propaganda must stop,” said USFGG National Chair Loida Lewis.
“We call on Mark Zuckerberg and Meta/Facebook to immediately remove these false posts and disable identified trolls in TrollExposer.com to reduce misinformation on his platform in the run-up to the May 9 election,” she said. .
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