By Raïssa Robles
The morning after the May 29 conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona, my hubby Alan asked me if I had disabled my personal Facebook account because he could no longer access it — instead he kept getting a message that the account had been “deactivated.” That’s when I found out that without any warning, just like that, Facebook had taken down my account.
When I tried logging in, I got this message: “Your account has been disabled.”
At first I thought I had typed the wrong password or someone had hacked into my Raissa Robles account. But then people started contacting me asking why my account had vanished.
Had Facebook “unfriended” me?
I did not want to draw any conclusions just yet. I tried to see whether I could revive it. I found the Facebook instructions confusing.
First, I clicked on this link (encircled in red).
And found this. It told me to review “Facebook Community Standards”:
I looked further and opened this page because I had received no warning at all from Facebook:
Again it advised me to review “Facebook Community Standards.”
Reading the “Community Standards”, I saw that among the no-no’s that Facebook said that could get one’s account disabled was “bullying and harassment” and “hate speech.”
I don’t bully or harass. I’m the one being bullied and harassed. Many people have been friending me in FB for the sole purpose of badmouthing or cursing me.
Initially, I accepted their “Friend” requests. But when they persisted and ignored my request for reasoned arguments I just started blocking them. I blocked a number the night before FB disabled my account.
I found I could appeal the disabling of my FB account through a link that was given on the Facebook Community Standards page. But by doing so, I would implicitly be admitting to Facebook that I had violated their “Community Standards” and I would have to give them a promise never to violate their standards again.
I thought that logic was surreal, more appropriate to a gulag: I had to promise I would never repeat a violation without being told what that violation was?
I therefore opted to tell Facebook it had made a mistake in disabling my account. I demanded to know why it did that without even having the courtesy to tell me what I had done.
Yesterday, I was sent this through the e-mail that was linked to my FB account:
I told them I would comply once they told me why FB had shut down my account. Instead of e-mailing them an ID, I gave them links to my website, sent a screen cap of the ABS-CBN News website which had a photo of me. I told them it was the same photo that was on my Facebook account, and therefore it was proof that I am who I am.
Besides, they had e-mailed me through the e-mail that was linked to my FB account.
I also sent them two links – to the article that Vergel Santos had written about me mentioning my disabled Facebook account, and to an old article I had written with my byline for Asiaweek magazine that was now in the Time/CNN Archives.
I am still awaiting word from them.
About the “Raissa Robles” Fan Page in Facebook
Last April, my hubby Alan had created a Fan Page for me on Facebook for two reasons. My personal Facebook Account was getting unwieldy because many were friending me just to hit me. I thought that was not what the word “Friend” was about.
Also, Alan thought someone might grab my name and register it as a Fan Page and use it to malign me.
He hadn’t published the Fan Page yet because he hadn’t had time to work on it. When my personal FB Account got disabled, Alan suggested that he would set it up at once.
I was somewhat leery of the words “Fan Page” because I’m not a celebrity. I’m a reporter like so many of other reporters. I’m also an introvert.
But then Alan made me read all about Fan Pages and Group Pages. Facebook Fan Pages were more flexible, had no limit on the number of friends and were apparently more difficult to bring down by those who might be offended by what I say.
And so I agreed. Those on Facebook can easily find it by typing “Raissa Robles” and when you see my photo and the word “journalist”, that’s it.
Inday Espina-Varona starts an online petition to have my personal Facebook account restored
Here it is:
facebook: Return to publication the personal page of journalist RAISSA ROBLES
Just click on the link below:
As of this posting, it had 708 petitioners.
Just fill in the blanks on the left-hand side of the page. You don’t have to write out your complete address but you need to put a postal code.
If you want to explain why you are signing, just click “add a reason”.
And to “sign” electronically, just click on the red bar that says “SIGN”. That’s it.
All these fast developments have amazed and awed me over the power of Social Media.
For decades, a print journalist was walled off from the thousands of newspaper readers. The only time a reporter got feedback was when someone wrote a Letter to the Editor or someone called the publisher to complain about what had been written.
In the age of the Internet, the walls have all come down between reporters and readers. There are even some wire agencies like Bloomberg and Reuters which tell readers the e-mail addresses of not only the writer of the piece but also the editor of each particular piece.
Not only that, many of my readers have given me valuable leads. And have collaborated with me on stories.
The readers and I have begun to form a bond that we call Our Cyber Plaza Miranda – a reference to an old Freedom Park located in the heart of the Philippine capital of Manila.
As a reporter, I deeply appreciate instant feedback from readers. I welcome the posting of comments here that are critical of what I write.
But I now stop myself from posting those who keep slandering me like this:
In translation, this comment says:
You’re dumb, raissa, fuck you. Yes, you are the one being pertained to by Corona. You’re old and stupid. DUmb ass.
The commenter was referring to Corona’s three-hour diatribe during his impeachment court trial, where he made special mention of this “pekeng manunulat” or fake journalist. Everyone I talked to assumed it was me.
It is posts like the one above that make me deeply suspicious about the timing of the disabling of my Facebook Account.