Open letter makes ‘sumbong’ to Facebook’s Katie Harbath after FB Philippines head accused of engaging in partisan politics

Alarmed by the deactivation of the FB Page critical of Robredo, an open letter to Katie Harbath is making the rounds online.

Pro-Duterte blogger Mark Lopez wrote the open letter addressed to Katie Harbath, head of Global Politics & Government Outreach of FB to appeal for “a wider latitude in Filipino activism, and minimize the current practice of de activating or closing FB pages and accounts even if they are being mass reported.”

The open letter came in the heels that Facebook Philippines country director has been accused of engaging in partisan politics by Duterte supporters in the wake of the deactivation of the FB page of ‘We Are Collective’, a page making series of exposè against Leni Robredo.

Check out the long open letter below.

An open letter to Ms Katie Harbath

Good day Katie. I am Mark Lopez from the Philippines. Firstly, I wish to convey my sincerest appreciation to Facebook for the way it is now helping shape the way society communicates, exchange information, formulate opinion, and acquire enlightenment and discernment. Your transcendental medium has significantly altered the mass media landscape, providing the common man the empowerment that heightened his humanity.

It is in this light that I would like to personally appeal to you as head of Global Politics & Government Outreach of FB to please look closely into developments in our country.

The Philippines is currently in a social media maelstrom in view of our current political situation. Similar to what the USA is experiencing, our socmed frenzy was triggered by the astonishing rise of a maverick mayor who was elected as president. Rodrigo Roa Duterte of Davao City was elected and won overwhelmingly and convincingly over 4 other established and well known public officials, on the strength of his platform of change. And 9 months into his election, and amidst the loud hue and cry over his anti-drug and anti-corruption campaign, he has the full, unequivocal support of more than 80% of the Filipino people.

While this mandate is firmly established, it is nevertheless being constantly challenged, and efforts to destabilize this duly-elected administration is in full swing. As to who these are, they are most likely in it mostly for self preservation and to avoid prosecution and accountability for their inept and corrupt governance.

One of the more compelling battleground of this on going conflict is social media. Am sure you and FB are very much aware of the amount of web traffic coming from us, and how contentious the exchanges are.

I actually am wondering how you are coping with all these Katie, considering the emerging worldwide trending of socmed activism.

If only to help you, let me proffer this appeal for FB to give us a wider latitude in our activism, and minimize the current practice of de activating or closing FB pages and accounts even if they are being mass reported.

i hope that FB will simply be guided by its established community standards, particularly on identity theft, pornography or violence.

In matter of politics and social activism, perhaps FB should adopt a maximum tolerance position and allow the unimpeded flow and exchange of information, regardless of who are involved. With regards to proliferation of propaganda and fake news, it may also be an issue that will be best left for your audience or subscribers to discern. I understand that FB will soon have an answer on how to treat these fake news proliferation by providing warning tags or labels. To me that is the step in the right direction.

One of the leading and most vocal advocate of freedom expression and speech here is the current Vice President Leni Robredo.

In her recent address to the entire nation last February 27, Ms Robredo emphatically state –
“We will not be silenced. Our nation deserves no less. Democracy demands dissent!”

So please Katie, kindly consider this appeal and restore all pages that were previously deactivated or shut down because of its political leaning or affiliation. Please heed the call of our people, especially our top officials, to let the cacophony of voices, regardless of which side of the fence, flourish and germinate in Facebook.

Please help us in charting our self determination and our progress in the community of nation. Allow us the freedom to use your magnificent platform to promote and formulate ideas, opinions, suggestions, solutions or even simply venting or ranting as these can also take a life of their own towards our objective.

Please encourage your local administrators here in the Philippines to practice restraint and genuine discernment. Kindly also dissuade them from engaging or imposing their own biases, be influenced or pressured by groups or influence peddlers.

Facebook Philippines should enable engagement, regardless of political spectrum.

In ending, I’d like to quote George Orwell:

“If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Thank you and best regards,
Mark Lopez

One Response

  1. Cecilia Shelton March 7, 2017

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