Why South-east Asia's politics are proving a problem for Facebook

The Philippines-based news website Rappler, launched in 2012, was an early and enthusiastic adopter of Facebook's Instant Articles service, which allowed it to speed up the loading of stories for readers. By 2015, it had added video to Facebook too, and was reporting triple-digit readership growth as millions of Filipinos began turning to the social media site as their main source of news.

Then, says Ms Maria Ressa, Rappler's chief executive, "Facebook ran into trouble". In May 2016, six months before Americans elected Mr Donald Trump as president, Filipinos voted in their own populist president, Mr Rodrigo Duterte, who like his American counterpart, relied heavily on social media in his campaign.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'Why S-E Asia's politics are proving a problem for Facebook'. Print Edition | Subscribe