Facebook blocking of 'fake news' is censorship - tech journalist


Posted at Apr 15 2018 12:09 PM

MANILA - Facebook's recent move to block content deemed as "fake news" is censorship, a tech journalist said on Sunday.

Manila Bulletin technology editor Art Samaniego told DZMM radio on Sunday that he disagreed with the social media giant's recent move to partner with Rappler and Vera Files to check the spread of fake news on its platform.

Facebook recently blocked several Filipino websites from being shared on its news feed and messenger app for violating guidelines on sharing false information.

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"Hindi censorship ang solution para sa akin. Para sa akin ang solusyon d'yan ay education," Samaniego said.

(Censorship is not the solution for me. I think the solution is education.)

"Para sa akin kasi dapat ikaw mismo ang mimimili kung ano ang para sa 'yo ano yung gusto mong makita ano yung gusto mong marinig," said Samaniego.

(For me, it should be you who chooses what you want to see and what you want to hear.)

Samaniego said Facebook's move was also unnecessary as more and more people were already becoming aware about the need to verify news shared online by checking them against established news organizations.

"Kasi tingnan mo, sino pinapaniwalaan ng mga nasa social media ngayon? Si Mocha [Uson] daming followers, ang dami din namang mga mali nyang pino-post. So it's time for us na nasa mainstream media na ipakita sa kanila na hindi yan ang tama, ito 'yung tama."

(Look, who do social media users believe right now? Mocha has a lot of followers, but she also has many wrong posts. So it's time for us in mainstream media to show them that that is not correct, this is correct.)

Samaniego also advised supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte who are planning to ditch Facebook in favor of Russia-based social media platform VK to carefully read the permissions they would grant to the site.

He said that like Facebook, VK also seeks access to a user's telephone number, SMS, and friends list among others.

"Usually ang ginagawa ng tao, niye-yes lang niya 'yan. Ito ang nangyari sa Cambridge Analytica."

(Users generally just check yes to all these permissions. This is what happened with Cambridge Analytica.)

The Philippines accounts for almost 1.2 million of the 87 million people whose Facebook data "may have been improperly shared" with Cambridge Analytica, the platform said last week.