Marcos doubts information online can be regulated – ‘Why would you want to?‘


Posted at Apr 26 2022 11:31 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2022 03:09 AM

Bulacan residents attend a UniTeam campaign sortie in Meycauayan city, Bulacan on March 8, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
Bulacan residents attend a UniTeam campaign sortie in Meycauayan city, Bulacan on March 8, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA – Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos expressed doubts on Tuesday about the potential efficacy of laws against the propagation of fake news. 

In an interview with Ruth Cabal on CNN Philippines, Marcos said that it would be hard for government to limit peoples' participation in the internet. 

"One of the greatest advantages of the internet in general, not just social media, is that it's interactive and open source. So anybody can participate. How do you control that? And why would you want to?" Marcos said. 

The former senator also said that legislation would always be behind technology, and a certain technology would be outdated by the time legislators understood enough to have it regulated. 

"I think the only defense for everybody is to interact and to read everything. Don't read one thing," Marcos said. "You have to be more ... you have to show a little discretion in what you believe in." 

The Commission on Elections has repeatedly lobbied a bill to have social media regulated during elections. However, according to political analyst Aries Arugay, these moves have been ignored by successive sessions of Congress. 

Former Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia has also said Philippine voting laws, such as the Fair Elections Act and the Omnibus Election Code, were too "Jurassic" to deal with political manipulation and other election-related issues on social media and the internet. 

Marcos' campaign has been accused of propagating fake news against political rivals, as well as historical revisionism aimed at cleaning up the Marcos family's history and the Martial Law period between 1972 to 1981. 

In March, election watchdog "Kontra Daya" called out Marcos for his campaign's alleged use of disinformation networks. 

But the former senator denied he made use of so-called troll farms, just as he did in a previous interview with Korina Sanchez.

"Find me one. Show me one. One. Just one," he said. 

News outlet Rappler reported in January that more than 300 accounts from Marcos' supporter base on Twitter were taken down for violating the platform's rules on spam and manipulation. 

But the former senator said these were just individual accounts. 

"You know, yung sinasabi nilang trolls, thousands of... hanapan mo ako ng isa. Just one. Find me a troll working for us," Marcos said. 

"They don't exist. You show me the place where the hundreds of trolls sitting in front of a computer spreading fake news. It doesn't exist." 

Marcos added that he was offered a so-called "click army", as well as online trolls, but he never made use of their services.