In response to such complaints, Facebook told CNBC it has taken steps to ensure the network is a safe space for people to express themselves politically. Those include new tools and technologies to prevent fake accounts, false stories, clickbait, harassment and hate speech.
"We recognize that the same tools that give people more voice can sometimes be abused, by anyone, to spread hoaxes and misinformation," a company representative said. "We prohibit people from setting up fake accounts and have developed improved automated systems — using machine learning and artificial intelligence — to better identify and remove them quickly."
The Philippines boasts one of the world's most active social media populations and is a crucial market for Facebook, which has an office in Manila and recently partnered with Duterte's administration on a high-speed Internet infrastructure project.
"While Facebook has expressed interest to have partnerships with (academia) and the media to better maximize the platform, it has not lent its voice in denouncing various forms of media harassment and intimidation, or even the prevailing culture of impunity," said Danilo Arao, associate professor at the University of the Philippines.
Arao said the company, already under fire for its role in propagating inaccurate articles during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, should use its power and influence to take a stand. But he said he doubts that will happen: "It is still a business, and it does not make good business sense to antagonize governments, no matter how repressive they may be, as in the case of the Philippines."
Still, Nyst argued that the social media platform "needs to wake up to the fact that it can no longer claim neutrality and immunity from responsibility, but rather needs to adhere to journalistic ethics befitting of the world's largest publisher."