A post that says Facebook and Instagram have a location option of “Philippines, Province of China” gained mixed reactions from netizens today, May 16.
Some users expressed their dismay, saying that the social network Facebook and photo-sharing platform Instagram were “offensive,” “very infuriating,” and “downright insulting.”
Twitter user @Jdenggg1 posted “Bruh, I’m really offended that [the] Philippines is being called [as] “Province of China.” Our heroes didn’t die for this.”
Another Twitter user, @Dear_Deadly, said he used the geotagging option to check for himself.
“Guys, check your face [Facebook] and try to check in. Social media platforms Facebook and Instagram now include “Philippines, Province of China” as an option for location check-ins. Very infuriating and downright insulting,” @Dead_Deadly tweeted.
Amid the furor in social media, experts were quick to point out that anyone can just edit and suggest location tags on both Facebook and Instagram, adding that someone might have just added “Philippines, Province of China” simply for fun.
However, a number of netizens, including Senator Risa Hontiveros, suggested to report the inaccurate location for it to be completely deleted from Facebook and Instagram.
The senator said that while it is a joke to some, it is alarming given China’s continued harassment to Filipino fishermen and the airing of a Wow China program.
“Sabi ng ilan, joke lang naman daw itong ‘Philippines, Province of China’ sa social media, pero nakakagalit pakinggan,” Hontiveros said.
“Katunog siya ng mga mangingisda natin tinataboy mula sa sarili nating mga karagatan. Katunog siya ng propaganda Wow China na ini-ere sa sarili nating radio station,” she added.
Hontiveros was making reference to a radio program that promotes China on Radyo Pilipinas, a state-run radio station under the Philippine Broadcasting Service of the Presidential Communications Office.
“Kailangan natin ngayong lakasan ang tapang ng ating pagka-Pilipino. Hindi tayo Province of China! Never were and never will be,” the senator said.
In the last few months, conspiracy theories about how the Philippines is slowly becoming a province of China have circulated online following the unprecedented appreciation of President Rodrigo Duterte to the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping.