Ang Bayan, Sept 21, 2022
Revolutionary forces continue to face suppression and restrictions against the freedom of expression and information by monopoly social media companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. Various revolutionary and anti-imperialist groups around the world have faced similar challenges, as well as individuals or groups expressing opposition to US policies.
The Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) was first suppressed in 2017 when Facebook deleted its page that had at least 10,000 followers. Since then, any attempt by the PRWC to put forward statements or articles on Facebook has been quickly thwarted. Recently, sharing links to the CPP’s website or posting information about the revolutionary movement are automatically being blocked.
In March, also without warning, Google deleted the accounts of PRWC and the Communist Party of the Philippines Information Bureau on GMail, Youtube and Google Drive. In June, Twitter also took down the PRWC account with more than 15,000 supporters, along with the Party information officer’s account and at least 15 others. This was repeated in August.
Behind the veil of “community guidelines,” Facebook, Twitter, Google and Youtube suppress the flow of information and freedom of expression. Many of the posts that are classified as violating their standards are statements that expose crimes and anomalies involving the AFP and the reactionary state; as well as videos or images depicting the unity between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the masses, and of the tasks, programmes and achievements of the revolutionary movement especially in the countryside.
These posts are branded “harmful content” because they allegedly promote or support terrorism or groups and individuals branded as “terrorists” by the US. In the name of “transparency” and “protection” or “counterabuse,” groups or individuals involved in legitimate armed resistance are harassed.
In addition to the revolutionary movement in the Philippines, Facebook’s harassment also target orga‐ nizations or movements for national liberation, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Kurdistan Workers Party, and others.
Facebook recently restricted the accounts of Palestinians and their supporters after exposing Israel’s human rights violations and other abuses in May 2021. During this time, Palestinians suffered a series of attacks and bombings by the Israeli military. Posts favoring the struggle of the Palestinian people were immediately deleted, such as a picture with the words “never concede their rights,” which was immediately deleted by Instagram, Facebook’s sister company.
On the other hand, it was revealed recently that majority of the institutions employed by Facebook to monitor war posts in Ukraine were directly funded by the US government, which plays a major part in encouraging, escalating the war and selling weapons there. In February, Facebook loosened its policies to favor the Azov Battalion, a fascist and neo-Nazi group in Ukraine, which is the US’s main tool in its proxy war in Ukraine.
Who defines “correct” information?
In fact, Facebook’s “community guidelines” are instruments of US imperialism to silence critics and control the flow of information to ensure that only those acceptable are propagated. These rules are decided by the Oversight Board under the Transparency Center of Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
To allegedly solve their problem with fake news and disinformation, Meta worked with the Atlantic Council, which consists of ultraright officials in Washington and the Pentagon, weapons manufacturers, and multinational partners of tyrants in Arab Gulf countries.
The US government and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are closely linked to Facebook. The manager of Transparency Center is Aaron Berman, a 15-year veteran of the CIA. Facebook’s misinformation policy manager, Mike Bradow, is a former USAID official accused of instigating coups in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. A former US military officer is also in charge of Trust and Safety policy.
Meta’s declaration that it is for “democracy” is all for show. In fact, the drafters, managers and imple‐ mentors of restrictions in the name of community guidelines are notorious forces repressing people’s rights to information and expression.#