A look at ‘GO’ Facebook pages on provinces with uniform templates, copy-paste posts

April 22, 2020 - 4:16 PM
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Facebook magnified
A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Several Facebook pages of Philippine provinces with similar logos were observed to share similar information on the government’s response on the novel coronavirus in the country.  

The pages begin with the verb “GO” in capital letters, followed by the name of the province. Among the Facebook pages launched are: “GO Bulacan,” “GO Bataan,” “GO Iloilo,” “GO Baguio”, “GO Cebu,” “GO Palawan,” “GO Tarlac,” “GO Cavite,” “GO Pangasinan,” “GO Laguna” “GO Quezon” and “GO Rizal,” among others. 

The Philippines has 81 provinces but not all were covered by these pages.

While the pages bear almost similar names, they also have simple uniform layouts. However, the colors of the Facebook pages vary on every provinces.

The Facebook pages also have cover photos with slogan saying “everything and anything” followed by the name of the provinces like: “Everything and Anything Tarlac!”

Twitter users who encountered the similar pages shared screenshots of these and noted that they also circulate copy-pasted posts on government officials and news reports including updates on COVID-19.  

 

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis early this year, there had been waves of copy-paste stories and arguments that either support Chinese nationals in the country or the Duterte administration’s response to the pandemic.  

What they look like  

In a cursory check of Interaksyon, it was observed that the Facebook pages on provinces are almost similar to the official Facebook pages of the provinces they are representing as some of them bore icons of these areas in their profile and cover photos.

The official accounts of LGUs normally bear the official provincial seals and provides information about the place and the local officials governing it.   

Each “Go” Facebook page was labeled as a “news and media website” and has up to 840,000 followers 

They, however, differ on the amount of information they provided in the “About” section of their profiles.   

For example, the “Go Batangas” page stated that it was established in 2018 and has links to a Twitter account and an email address.  

It also has a description: “Go Batangas is your official guide to anything and everything Cavite. Empowering and engaging local communities to share their stories and promote our beautiful province!” 

Others such as “Go Tarlac” and “Go Davao” did not provide any description or date of creation.  

GO Tarlac - About
Screenshot by Interaksyon

The Go Cavite page, on the other hand, indicated that it was launched in 2016 but it claimed that its founding date is on March 22, 2013. It now has over 837,700 likers.

Moreover, each Go Facebook page has a corresponding public group or online community where posts from the former are reshared to its members that range from nearly 1,000 to 

While the pages contain posts specific to the locality, some of the contents are copy-paste information that only differs in the color scheme used and the time of posting.  

Binalaan ng Department of Science and Technology ang publiko laban sa mga itinitindang face shields na gawa di umano ng…

Posted by GO Tarlac on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Binalaan ng Department of Science and Technology ang publiko laban sa mga itinitindang face shields na gawa di umano ng…

Posted by GO Rizal on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

 

‘Go’ websites

The pages also accompany these reports or articles with social media cards that promote its supposed respective websites with the domain name also bearing the verb “Go” and the name of the province.

Some of these websites like “gocavite.com,” are currently available.

It is described as:

“GOCAVITE is your official guide to anything and everything Cavite. Empowering and engaging local communities to share their stories and promote our beautiful province.”

The website works like a regular online news outlet with contents ranging from national and news and lifestyle stories published as early as February this year.

Gocavite.com has sections on news, jobs, campus news, e-sports and contact us. It is powered by website developer Kalesa Creatives and was only created in 2020.

It is also looking for online advertisers.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

On the other hand, a look at some of the websites, showed that most of them are not yet working.

The following Go websites indicated that it is “coming soon” and also showed the latest COVID-19 statistics in the country.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

The following, websites, on the other hand, were not accessible as of writing.

The website for GO Cebu is likewise not working and is redirecting to a domain page for sale called hugedomains.com.

Campaign paraphernalia?

The owners of these Facebook pages, groups and websites remain undetermined as of posting but some online users alleged that these are affiliated with Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go

READ: Candidates already taking advantage of ‘premature campaigning’ loophole

Poll lawyer Emil Marañon III shared that government officials are prohibited from affixing any type of graphic representation such as photo, logo or color motif to any government-funded project.  

Marañon III then attached photos of such paraphernalia, including the “GO” Facebook pages, on his tweet. 

We worked on this circular with the COA back in 2013 when I was still in Comelec to prevent politicians from using government-funded projects for advance campaigning. COA Circular No. 2013-004 remains effective until today,” he said.  

Some online users are also sharing donations with labels bearing the senator’s name.

The senator, however, maintained that his office is not behind health kits bearing his name.

“Hindi po namin ugaling maglagay ng pangalan. Hindi po namin kailangan ng recognition,” Go said at a Laging Handa media briefing on April 4. “Sa mga nagpapakalat ng fake news, dapat po i-quarantine ang inyong mga bunganga.”

In jest, some online users are calling these items, “Bong Go Merch” dating back to 2019 before the midterm elections.

Donation labels

Earlier this month, Go was tagged in the alleged confiscation of donated medical supplies in hospitals in Metro Manila. 

The neophyte senator immediately denied these accusations.  

He was also criticized anew after GMA News broadcast journalist Arnold Clavio disclosed that the East Avenue Medical Center requested help from his office to acquire additional cadaver bags.  

Go then threatened that he has extra body bags for fake news purveyors online.  

“Sino kailangan pa extra? Para sa drug addict or nagpapakalat [ng] fake news, meron pa ako,” Go said — With reporting from Rosette Adel