Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan wants to penalize Facebook for allowing fake news to be spread on the largest social media network. This Wednesday, January 18, the Liberal Party president filed Senate resolution 271, saying that Facebook should be held liable for the false information it has been distributing, and for not taking drastic action against them.
“In this digital age, Facebook and other social media platforms play a crucial role 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.” Sen. Pangilinan said in a statement.
“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.” He added, noting that his resolution is seeking to probe the proliferation of misinformation and fake news sites in social media platforms.
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Sen. Kiko Pangilinan also mentioned that there were 59.2 million Internet users in the Philippines in 2016, with more than 22 million became active on Facebook during the recent elections. He also cited Article II Section 24 of the 1987 Constitution, stating that “the State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.”
“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. 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.” Sen. Pangilinan further said.
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Apparently, the move of Sen. Pangilinan was inspired by a similar action of German legislators who announced last December their intention to penalize Facebook for every fake post posted on its platform and not being properly moderated within 24 hours. As a response, Facebook said the company is to introduce new tools to control fake news.