Pangilinan seeks to penalize Facebook for fake news

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2017 02:33 PM

MANILA -- Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan is urging the Senate to look into the proliferation of misinformation and fake news on Facebook and penalize the social media platform for its “inaction.”

Pangilinan on Wednesday filed Senate resolution 271, saying Facebook should be held accountable for the content it distributes.

"More than being an online platform, Facebook may be described as a de facto media company or publisher that should be responsible and accountable for the content it distributes and allows to be distributed, in order to protect the national discourse from fabricated and false news," he said in a statement Thursday.

Pangilinan's resolution was inspired by German legislators who announced their intention to penalize Facebook for every post not properly moderated within 24 hours.

Facebook announced Sunday that it will introduce new measures to combat fake news in Germany, as the country enters an election year.

According to Pangilinan, his resolution seeks to direct the appropriate senate committee to investigate the proliferation of misinformation and fake news sites in social media platforms and to possibly amend the 2012 Cybercrime Law and other laws, in accordance with respect for freedom of speech and of the press.

"The propagation of fake news stories has become an effective weapon of several political operatives to influence public opinion and national discourse. As a result, the level and quality of public discourse have suffered. Discerning the truth from the lies has become more difficult every day as manipulation of information and blatant fabrication of stories have become increasingly rampant," he said.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a similar resolution on Wednesday, urging the Senate committee on public information and mass media to come up with laws to protect the public from fabricated digital information and hold accountable those behind the fake news.

There is an "immediate and imperative need" to investigate the proliferation of trolls and fake news, he said, because it "threatens not only the viability and credibility of online journalism but also violates every citizen’s right to truthful and accurate online news and information."

In 2016, the Philippines had 59.2 million Internet users, with more than 22 million actively engaged on Facebook during the May national elections, Pangilinan said.