Umabot sa 200 Facebook pages, accounts at groups na nag-ooperasyon sa network na ginawa ni dating communications strategist Nicanor Gabunada Jr. ang tinanggal sa nasabing social media website dulot ng “coordinated and inauthentic behavior” na natuklasan ng Facebook cybersecurity policy head noong Biyernes.
Sa pahayag ni Nathaniel Gleicher, nasa 67 Facebook pages, 68 accounts, 40 groups at 25 Instagram accounts ang ban sa kanilang social media platform.
“Our investigation could confirm that this was a cluster of coordinated behavior that is linked to a network organized by Nic Gabunada,” sabi ni Gleicher sa isang briefing ng Facebook Philippines’ office sa Taguig City.
“Today we have removed about 200 pages, groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated and inauthentic behavior … What we saw is this cluster of pages groups … a combination of authentic and fake accounts that were basically being used to drive messaging on behalf of, and related to, local [election] candidates,” dagdag pa ng hepe.
Ayon kay Gleicher, may 3.6 million accounts ang nag-follow sa isa o mahigit pa sa banned pages at nasa 1.8 million accounts ang sumali sa isa sa mga grupo nito habang 5,300 accounts ang nag-follow sa isa o mahigit pang Instagram accounts.
“They were designed to look independent, but in fact we can see that they were coordinated on the back,” paliwanag ni Gleicher.
Sa imbestigasyon ng Facebook, natuklasan nilang gumastos ang mga manager ng banned pages ng hindi bababa sa $59,000 o halos P3 milyon para sa advertisement.
“A lot of messaging was pro, sort of supporting the candidates they were working in behalf of, some would be attacking political opponents of those candidates,” wika ni Gleicher.
Sa ulat ng Inquirer noong Mayo 2016, kinilala si Gabunada bilang “the man behind [President] Duterte’s social media campaign.” Dati siyang nagtatrabaho bilang executive ng isang local television network na tumulong sa kampanya ni dating Pangulong Benigno Aquino III.
Hindi naman maunawaan ni Gabunada kung bakit siya lang ang tinukoy ng Facebook.
“I don’t deny that I am a member of several groups and I was asked by people to be analyst or editor or [administrator] of several pages … and those pages are really pro-Duterte pages and pro-Duterte groups,” anang strategist.
“I have a feeling that I was singled out whereas the pro-opposition pages were not. There are more irresponsible pages like Changescamming, Pinoy Ako Blog and Now You Know, and a lot of other pages that are anti-Duterte [which] can be very vicious also,” pahayag pa ni Gabunada.
Sa harap ng ugnayang politikal ni Gabunada, sinabi ni Gleicher na tinanggal ang kanyang mga network hindi dahil sa nilalaman nito kung hindi sa paglabag sa fraudulent activities.
“When we do a takedown on this, it’s not because of who’s behind it, it’s not because of what their saying, [it’s] because they’re using a network of fake accounts to mislead people about who they are and the source of the information they are providing,” bigay diin pa ng Facebook official.
Ipinabatid din ni Gleicher na ginawa nila ang imbestigasyon sa pakikipagtulungan sa isang third party data and cyber-investigator na nakabase sa Estados Unidos.