(reposted from the Inquirer)
Aquino censors Facebook page over hostage crisis bashing
First Posted 06:40:00 08/26/2010
Filed Under: Internet, Benigno Aquino III, censorship, Social networking, hostage taking, Grandstand Hostage
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III censored his Facebook page Wednesday after internet users ignored an appeal to stop bashing his government over its handling of the deadly hostage crisis.
Aquino banned slanderous and defamatory comments and posts, swear words and racial insults, as well as "below the belt attacks", from his Facebook account followed by 1.9 million fans.
"We reserve the right to block anyone who fails to follow these rules and report them as spammers to Facebook," he wrote on his site.
Aquino's official Facebook page was set up to promote transparency and his anti-corruption drive, but it has become a repository for angry comments about Monday's hostage crisis in Manila in which eight Hong Kong tourists died.
Posts on his Facebook page have ranged from barbs against bungling policemen to calls for him to quit, and they continued even after Aquino appealed in an initial post on Wednesday morning for them to stop.
"Shame on you and your government. Tender your resignation now," wrote Elfis Lee, a Hong Kong resident.
"Your incompetence of leading your untrained stupid police force caused such a tragedy."
Another comment from Jay Rodrigo apologized on behalf of Filipinos, but had strong words about his feelings towards Aquino, who won the presidency by a landslide in May but whose popularity now appears to be taking a direct hit from the tragedy.
"You see, our president is a retard who has done nothing but smirk in front of the TV cameras after all that has happened," he wrote on the page.
"He's slowly killing our country coz of his stupidity."
Both messages appeared to have been scratched from Aquino's Facebook shortly after he issued his warning on Wednesday afternoon that he would censor the site.
An ex-policeman, Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, seized a busload of 22 Hong Kong tourists and three Filipinos on Monday, triggering an 11-hour standoff that ended in a bloodbath following a police assault.