MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is pushing for a legislative investigation against social media trolls who spread erroneous and misleading news online.
Trillanes, in his Senate resolution 259, urged 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 who disseminate fake news.
"Recently, instead of being a tool for empowerment, the social media has become a platform for political propaganda, deceit and manipulation, which has been continually abused and misused for the sake of personal or political agenda, at the expense of rational discourse and discussion with the proliferation of the so called 'social media trolls,'" the lawmaker said.
Trillanes said a social media troll, whose identity is usually anonymous, is "someone who deliberately creates and/or foments discord and conflict on social media sites through the posting of controversial and inflammatory messages to provoke emotional responses from other internet users and take the focus away from the rational and meaningful discussion of the subject at hand."
"These social media trolls are creating a culture of impunity online by using foul and uncensored language, and personal attacks like death threats and rape threats," he added.
The senator said online trolling has become a source of living where one can allegedly earn as $2,000 (around P99,000) every month.
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."