Social media platform Facebook’s reported removal of troll accounts allegedly linked to the military and police also confirms that people’s taxes are being poured to mislead the public through disinformation propaganda in social media, Makabayan lawmakers claimed Thursday.

220717 Congress Joint Session 02 Romero - Makabayan lawmakers blast use of Facebook for supposed propaganda-election war
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“This is why we urge the scrapping of funds for the propaganda-election war chests under military and police institutions, the DILG, DND, PCOO, the NTF-ELCAC, other related agencies, and of course, the Office of the President,” said Asst. Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro in a statement.

“It is as if Facebook said to Filipinos, ‘This is where your taxes go,’” Castro stressed.

Castro disclosed that the Facebook had confirmed “the highly unjust reality of trolls prowling on the Internet, spreading fake news about progressives and the Makabayan bloc and sterilizing the rotting image of the administration.”

“We are glad that there is now an official recognition from Facebook of what we have been saying all along—that behind the online troll army is the administration and its martial rule,” the senior opposition lawmaker said.

Castro was referring to the reported decision of Facebook to take down 57 accounts, 31 pages and 20 Instagram account used by the military and police as part of the red-tagging campaign and for questionable behavior.

Castro said Makabayan lawmakers will pursue an end to the disinformation campaign aimed against critics of the government when the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2021 national budget starts.

“In the coming plenary deliberations, these troll masters should better get ready with their explanations,” she said.

Reps. Sarah Jane Elago (Kabataan partylist) and Eufemia Cullamat (Bayan Muna) called on netizens to be vigilant against the alleged troll army that has launched a propaganda war aimed at misleading the public.

“This is good news to all who have been targeted by state-sponsored disinformation.

Even as we rightfully welcome Facebook’s findings and action, there are many more pages and accounts that need to be checked for posting similar contents inciting harm and hate against vocal critics, the opposition and dissidents,” said Elago.

Cullamat said the Facebook discovery also indicates that other social media platforms may have been infected by the trolls.

“Papaliit na nang papaliit ang demokratikong espasyo sa Pilipinas at lalo pa itong pinapaliit ng mga institusyong militar at pulis sa walang-kahihiyang paggamit nila ng social media upang magkalat ng kasinungalian at magsagawa ng red-tagging sa mga kritiko ng pamahalaan (Democratic space in the Philippines has shrunk and the military and police unabashedly continues reduce it further by disseminating lies and resort to red-tagging of government critics) ,” said Cullamat.

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