Facebook Removed 200 Pages, Groups and Accounts in the Philippines

They were linked to Nic Gabunada, social media manager during the 2016 campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte

Fake and authentic accounts were used to spread content across several pages and groups

Facebook’s ongoing battle against coordinated inauthentic behavior shifted to the Philippines, as 67 Facebook pages, 68 Facebook accounts, 40 Facebook groups and 25 Instagram accounts were removed this week.

Head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a Newsroom post that the pages, accounts and groups were linked to a network organized by Nic Gabunada, who served as social media manager during the 2016 campaign of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

He added that a combination of fake and authentic accounts was used to spread content across several pages and groups, posting about local and political news including the country’s upcoming elections, candidate updates and views, alleged misconduct by political opponents and controversial events that allegedly occurred during previous administrations.

Some 3.6 million accounts followed one or more of the banned pages, while about 1.8 million joined at least one of the groups that were deleted and around 5,300 accounts followed at least one of the affected Instagram accounts.

According to Gleicher, approximately $59,000 was spent on ads between January 2014 and this month by the banned pages, accounts and groups, paid for in Philippine pesos, Saudi riyals and U.S. dollars.

He wrote, “We identified these accounts and pages through an ongoing internal investigation into Philippines-linked coordinated inauthentic behavior. Our assessment benefited from open-source reporting. We have shared relevant information with policymakers and industry partners.”

Following are some examples of content from the pages and accounts that were removed:

Caption: DU30 blessed us again! MRT has new air conditioner units! It’s now gonna be cold in the Philippines! Photo text: “Comfortable Life for all”
Caption: Husband and his wife that allegedly has 4 lovers, confront each other on Tulfo’s program. Watch the intense confrontation of the two here. Please spread.
Caption: The fountains are so beautiful
Caption: Apparently it’s possible for a man to give birth through Cesarian or C-section. How did this happen? Find out!
Caption: Since the time he was a congressman and now that he is a senator, Kuya Sonny Angara has passed 150 laws.

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