I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible.

Thread on how, politically, not every enemy of your enemy is your friend / how Facebook Free Basics fucked up the Philippines

I'm sure you already know this from that title but we are currently under year two with the despotic President Duterte, whose administration has undermined human rights & seemingly sold us out to foreign businesses. Facebook was a huge part of that. I do not exagerrate to say that site is incredibly dangerous

A lot of this hinges around Duterte winning the last presidential elections in the 1st place, which is directly the result of Facebook propaganda

There's a lot to be said about Duterte's predecessor, Noynoy Aquino, but these are the only things relevant here:

1) His admin was succesful in helping my country get back off the ground economically
2) this made succeeding him highly desirable for everyone, including not only opposition but allies, who would end up feuding with each other

While two Aquino allies (Grace Poe and Mar Roxas) ended up running vs each other for the top spot, Duterte emerged as a dark horse

Many of us were wrong, then, to dismiss him as a meme, who managed to make themselves popular online

In truth, Duterte allies ran polarizing conspiracy driven opposition campaigns vs Aquino, making it personal, & citing an unfortunate easy target: discontent with the establishment

This campaigning was almost exclusively most successful on Facebook

Facebook's special role in this mess stems from their fake good faith initiative Free Basics. They touted it as a way to provide free internet access across poor users in developing countries such as us and Myanmar. We now know they only had their own interests in mind

Facebook made an initiativw of teaching every preaidential candidate of our 2016 election how to use their website to effectively run a campaign, and left everyone to their own devices. That includes all the truther campaigns

So, Facebook saw all these fake campaigns with blatant lies about the Aquino admin, about how he was ruining the economy (I only wish I could laugh about that one), maligning the name of his uncle, our literal modern martyr Ninoy Aquino, consequently whitewashing our last dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, and his human rights record

They touted this fake prop narrative of Marcos as our 'greatest president', and worked to associate Marcos with Duterte. Duterte, who is to be our next Marcos

And now, the part that always makes me furious, to this day

Many opposition groups rallied towarda Duterte, campaigning for him and helping him get elected alongside Duterte's conspiracy theory propaganda ops. Ostensibly, they told the public they saw him as a rallying point because of his popularity, but also it's hard to ignore Duterte promised to personally install allies into his government

This included most, if not all, of our leftist/socialist organizations

This includes the Communist Party of the Philippines, and our biggest feminist organization, Gabriela. These and other groups got plum positions as a direct consequence of helping Duterte win and as a symptom of our country's feudal political patronage system.

As cited in what I linked above, these leftist organizations, their figureheads, bent their backs over to defend Duterte's misogynism, which was apparent even during his presidential campaign. They got by by ignoring clear warning signs

I will note here that Duterte has had a falling out with these leftist groups in the months since, but it cannot be denied or forgotten that the Philippine left allied themselves around Duterte

There was ample evidence he could be dangerous but they told everyone it was more important to break up the establishment. Subsequently they helped spread demonizing anti-Aquino propaganda

Now across the Philippine left and right who came together for Duterte, there's room to believe there may be good faith reasons in some people rallying behind him. They associated themselves with critics of Aquino's admin, and it stands to reason there would be valid reasons to be critical of our prior president.

But, and this is a big BUT, even those who supported him or opposed Aquino and his party in good faith, all of them are not cleared of wrongdoing

Duterte's campaign took advantage of their endorsement and conflated all criticism/opposition vs the Aquino admin, including the mouths of clear Aquino allies working with him, and used it to legitimize the very personal, conspiracy theory based smear campaign vs him. Ostensible leftists, 'neutral' pundits, etc spread conspiracy theories and touted them as true

And those who did not so so directly had their names and faces used anyway, on Facebook

BUT even all this could have been controlled or checked if, and a huge if, if Facebook did what they were supposed to do

Facebook should have flagged fake propaganda for what it is, and shutdown pages and accounts spreading it. Our current election laws are inadequate to address social media so we needed Facebook to pick up the slack. They did not.

Because they did not, and still do not, conspiracy theories won the day, and they continue to run rampant across the site, making us antivaxxers

So I bring this up today because there's clear similarities to what's happened here and in other countries, not uniformly, but in different ways. America, and Brazil.

I share all this now as a warning to you and your countries. Authoritarian/fascist government happened to us thanks to Facebook and it can happen to you too.

Being leftist is no safeguard

Also please remember, and I am well aware Macron is no sweetheart, he successfully routed a possible sweeping reentry of an authoritarian French state under the daughter Le Pen

That movement is part of the opposition vs Macron One now

@plsburydoughboy a fair few of the "motorists rights" activists from the British fuel protests joined the Conservative Party, UKIP and BNP.

Even though UK still remains fairly democratic we have since had a decade or more of austerity, everyone hating each other, Brexit, and petrol and diesel are *still* bloody expensive [1] (even
if the tax increases are marginally less.)

[1] in reality roughly about the same price as elsewhere in Northern Europe..

@plsburydoughboy Thanks for this thread. I was at EDSA in 1986 and "EDSA II" in 2001, and by the time "EDSA Tres" rolled around I figured this cyclical absurdity would just be inevitable in Filipino politics forever. Just didn't expect liberal Silicon Valley techbros would later exacerbate it.

@brownpau youre welcome. IDK that this is part of a cycle though. My main point being about how the global rise of fascism has been answered by the new power broking social networks like Facebook with *reads notes* dangerous tacit endorsement

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