Politics

Facebook Bans 'Gorgeous Me,' 'Fake' News Sites with Millions of Followers

Facebook has removed all content of TNP Media and 219 other pages managed by Twinmark Media Enterprises Inc.
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Facebook has banned digital marketing group Twinmark Media Enterprises Inc. and all its subsidiaries from its platform.

The social networking company announced that among the pages it has removed are "Filipino Channel Online" (10.4 million followers), "Gorgeous Me" (5.7 million followers), "Unhappy" (4.9 million followers), "Text Message" (4.4 million followers), and "TNP Media" (4.3 million followers). These are the pages with the highest number of followers.

Rappler article published in December 2017 listed Trending News Portal (TNP Media) as the main source of news shared by political blogger and former Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson. TNP Media was also listed by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines in 2017 as one of the websites "carrying fake or unverified contents" in the country.

Facebook also removed about 215 other Facebook pages, 73 Facebook accounts, and 29 Instagram accounts handled by Twinmark Media. Another 43 million accounts that followed at least one of the affected Facebook pages were also banned by the social networking giant. These accounts produce content ranging from politics to entertainment.

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Facebook clarified the reason for the ban was not the type of content the company puts out, but the behavior of the accounts, which repeatedly violated Facebook’s misrepresentation and spam policies.

“Our decision to remove this organization, and the Pages and accounts it controls, is based on the behavior of these actors who repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and spam policies, rather than on the type of content they were posting,” wrote Natahaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy of Facebook.

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Gleicher said Twinmark Media has repeatedly violated Facebook policies by coordinating inauthentic behavior on their pages through excessive post-sharing, using dummy accounts, leading other Facebook users to ad farms, and selling access to Facebook Pages for the profit-driven increase of content distribution.

In detailing how Twinmark Media violated its inauthentic behavior and spam policies, Facebook mentioned the dubious changing of Facebook page names after it reaches a large following. An example is “Trending Topics Philippines,” which was changed to “The Filipino Insights,” which subsequently changed the page’s subject matter. Gleicher said such acts mislead the page’s followers.

“We do not want our services to be used for this type of behavior, nor do we want the group to be able to reestablish a presence on Facebook,” Gleicher added.

In its official profile on online job portal JobStreet.com, Twinmark Media described itself as a “youth-oriented digital company” that “has been maintaining a harmonious relationship with a network of social media publishers representing diverse segments of audiences across the globe.” It was established in 2014 and is headquartered on Ortigas Ave. in Quezon City.

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“We have an estimated weekly post engagement of 18,000,000,” the company proudly said in a corporate video uploaded to YouTube in March 2018.

In October 2018, Facebook already started its crackdown on spam pages as part of the company’s “ongoing efforts to protect our services from abuse.” It removed a network of 95 pages and 39 accounts back then, including "Duterte Media," "Duterte sa Pagbabago BUKAS," "DDS," "Duterte Phenomenon," "DU30 Trending News," "Hot Babes," "News Media Trends," and many others.

“This is some of the most important work being done at Facebook," Facebook said in October. "This takedown is a small step in the right direction, and we will continue working to find and remove more bad content."

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About The Author
Pauline Macaraeg
Esquire Philippines
Pauline is Esquire Philippines’ data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg.
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