Senator Pangilinan seeks to penalise social media platforms for spreading fake news

The Senator files a resolution seeking for a Senate inquiry.

By Adrian M. Reodique
Jan. 19, 2017

Credit: Sen. Kiko Pangilinan's website. 

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has filed yesterday (18 January 2017) a resolution which seeks for a Senate inquiry on the spread of fake news sites on social media platforms in the Philippines.

"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," said Pangilinan in the Philippine Senate Resolution (PSR) 271.

Pangilinan underscored the importance of social media today in the practice of democracy. "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."

Besides conducting a Senate inquiry, the PSR also seeks for the possible amendment of the 2012 Cybercrime Law.

"Some are now considering social media as the fifth pillar of a democratic republic, as it plays a crucial role in the participation of citizens in governance," he added. "We must also ensure that our people are well-equipped with media literacy skills so that they are able to discern what is factual and what is not."

The PSR was inspired by German legislators who plans to penalise Facebook for each fake news disseminated in the platform. In response, Facebook plans to implement a tool in the country that empowers users to report fake news.