Senate should summon social media execs over spread of fake news online: Pangilinan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2020 01:01 PM | Updated as of Dec 04 2020 01:02 PM

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan presides over a Senate hearing on February 1, 2018. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB/file

MANILA - Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Friday said the Senate should consider calling representatives of social media giants to a hearing to discuss how to curb the prevalence of fake news online, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some internet trolls that may be linked to the administration continue to peddle fake news despite the global pandemic, the opposition senator told ABS-CBN News in a text message when asked about Sen. Panfilo Lacson's statement that he is being bashed by some government-linked accounts.

"Sa gitna ng pandemya, sa halip na ayusin ang kapalpakan at kurakot sa DOH (Department of Health) at PhilHealth, pagkakalat ng fake news laban sa mga hindi kaalyado ng Pangulo ang inuuna sa iba't ibang social media sites," Pangilinan said.

(In the midst of the pandemic, some social media sites have been prioritizing the spread of fake news against those who are not allies of the President, instead of focusing on the failure and corruption in the Department of Health and PhilHealth.)

"Isang posibleng hakbang ay ipatawag sa isang hearing sa Senado ang Facebook, Youtube at Twitter na walang tigil ang pagkakalat ng kasinungalingan at paninira ng mga user nito upang alamin kung kailangan dagdagan ng mga regulasyon sa mga social media platforms nito," he said.

(One possible step is to call representatives of Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to a Senate hearing to discuss if current regulations in these social media platforms are needed as their users continue to spread lies online.)

Lacson earlier said that he is "still being bashed in social media by netizens and bloggers that we have traced to the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and Malacañang" after he allegedly sided with Left-leaning lawmakers during a Senate probe on red tagging.

Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, had told witnesses presented by the military that they should present concrete evidence before accusing some lawmakers of being members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

In August, Lacson also became the target of online bashing after he grilled several presidential appointees and administration officials who were linked to irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth).

In September, Facebook said it removed 57 Facebook accounts, 31 pages and 20 Instagram accounts linked "to the Philippine military and Philippine police" after these entities tried to represent themselves as a different person to "amplify" their contents to manipulate campaigns on the platform.

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- with reports from Katrina Domingo and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News