Badoy hints at holding Facebook liable after ‘back-to-back’ suspension of her account

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 7) — A controversial spokesperson of the government’s anti-communist task force said her Facebook account is restricted again, just after the lifting of a 30-day suspension over what she identified as posts against the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Speaking at a media forum hosted by the National Press Club on Friday, Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy said the latest suspension was imposed “a few days ago” and will also last for a month. She said it was “almost back-to-back” with the earlier sanction.

"I cannot engage, I cannot like, I cannot comment… There’s still Messenger. So that’s it. But I cannot post," said Badoy, spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and Undersecretary for New Media and External Affairs of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

"'Yun ang totoong gag order," she quipped, referencing National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon's order for her and fellow NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade to desist from making statements on community pantries after they allegedly red-tagged or accused organizers of having communist ties.

Badoy said there have been discussions with Facebook, but she’s still “confused” about the social media giant’s community standards.

“It’s almost 100% that the posts that I get into trouble with are my anti-CPP-NPA-NDF posts that are factual. It’s the official stand of the government,” Badoy said. She was referring to the New People's Army, the armed wing of the CPP, and the National Democratic Front which represents rebels in talks with the government to end the five-decade insurgency.

The executive Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations pending court proscription.

Umaabot na kami sa punto sa gobyerno na nagcu-cull na kami ng mga cases kung saan pwede na sigurong ano, papanagutin na itong Facebook kasi (We have reached a point in the government that we are culling cases where Facebook might be held liable already because) we’re talking about matters of national concern already. We’re hoping that we can get to that point because it’s really worrisome,” Badoy said.

When asked if this means taking legal action against the online platform, Badoy said, “we’re not there yet.” She said she and other government officials are still trying to understand Facebook’s policies.

Badoy said one of the posts that recently cost her account was related to the death of an alleged NPA member, whom she said “joined IBON and then died as an NPA.” IBON Foundation, a local think tank, earlier sued Badoy, Parlade, and Esperon for red-tagging.

According to Facebook, it may remove content that violates its standards on authenticity and ensuring people's safety, privacy, and dignity.