Army wants FB clarification on officer’s taken down page

By Priam Nepomuceno

September 24, 2020, 6:19 pm

MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) on Thursday said it would coordinate with Facebook to know why it took down the personal FB page of one of its officers.

PA spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala made this comment in a virtual press conference after Capt. Alexandre Cabales was identified by the Digital Forensic Research Laboratory (DFRLab) as one of the operators of a network of pages earlier taken down by Facebook for "coordinated inauthentic behavior".

Zagala said the PA might also communicate with DFRLab to determine the reason for taking down Cabales FB page.

He confirmed that Cabales runs the Social Media Center of the PA Civic-Military Operations Regiment and former spokesperson of the Compostela Valley-based 10th Infantry Division. He also runs the PA's social media platform "Kalinaw News".

"What Facebook said, I think they were mentioning (coordinated inauthentic) behavior. They did not mention content," he said.

Zagala said the social media giant has to tell them what content Cabales did put out to warrant the removal of his account.

"In the meantime, we will coordinate with Facebook and ask what Capt. Cabales (exactly) did, they're simply telling (coordinated inauthentic) behavior, that's your policy, you have to tell us what content did he put out there that warrant this take down," he added.

Zagala said they will wait for Cabales to return from Sulu for more explanations.

"We will wait for him to come and we will talk to him further," he added.

Zagala said Cabales admitted to being the administrator of the "Hands Off Our Children", one of the many pages Facebook took down earlier.

"Hands Off Our Children" is an advocacy consisting of parents whose goal is to prevent organizations with violent extremism leanings from recruiting children or minors.

"It is possible that the taking down of (Cabales') Facebook page is connected to that. So, we have to look further into it," he added.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo earlier said AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay asked Facebook Philippine Policy Team led by Clare Amador if it is possible for social media giant to restore "Hands Off Our Children".

"Specifically, he (Gapay) inquired if FB can restore 'Hands Off Our Children' and other groups of similar advocacies like preventing child exploitation and trafficking of minors, and combating terrorism that may have been taken down," he added.

Arevalo said the AFP chief urged Amador and her team to look into the process they observe in unilaterally removing accounts. (PNA)