The Filipino Scribe has been running election-related news and commentary articles several times a week, filed in the special section #BotongPinoy2016. Over the past months, TFS has run stories about all five major presidential candidates.
As any website owner will tell you, being able to promote these articles on social networking sites particularly Facebook is a very useful strategy for getting more page views. Since TFS was created in 2011, we’ve never had a problem on that regard. That, however, changed over the weekend.
Last Thursday, TFS published a story highlighting the Commission on Elections’ decision to include Senator Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the certified list of presidential candidates despite the still-unresolved disqualification cases against them. The article can be read here. As usual, I shared the link to that post on my personal Facebook page as well as the FB page of TFS.
Much to my surprise, the posts have already been deleted by Friday night. When I tried reposting the material, I got this notification from Facebook: “You can’t post this because it has a blocked link: The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe.”
I was flabbergasted by that. I was told by several friends knowledgeable on IT stuff that my post must have been subjected to a coordinated attack from operatives of certain political groups.
I appealed the labeling of my site as unsafe through a link they provided and after receiving a generic response, I send them an email which you can read below:
Dear Facebook Team,
It is frustrating for me to get that generic response from you regarding this serious problem that I raised. It’s totally unacceptable. Let me recap my issue:
Instead, I’m getting this error message: “You can’t post this because it has a blocked link: The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe.”
It’s bewildering since I am merely sharing a link to a news article. And, I had www.FilipinoScribe.com checked by three different security websites and they all declared it safe (the screenshots are attached):
Trend Micro Site Safety Centre
I’d like to emphasize here that I’ve been sharing links to my blog site since 2011and this situation has never happened before. My business partners and I had been spending heavily on promoting my blog articles on Facebook (we do ‘sponsored posts’) and this wrong decision greatly affects our business.
I am afraid that what happened to me here is part of a coordinated attack from operatives of certain Filipino politicians and that if Facebook will do nothing about it, then the free flow of information through its website will get hampered. I sincerely hope you can rectify the error as soon as possible.
Yours truly, Mark Madrona
UPDATE (1/27/2016) – As of today, Facebook is no longer prohibiting me from posting the aforementioned link on the pages I managed. I guess that means I made my arguments well. Please “like” our Facebook page!
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila.
His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education.
He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition.
Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.