Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is seeking guidance on a proposed law that aims to unmask online trolls or anonymous users on social media.

Sen. Drilon voiced his concerns during a senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes last Thursday, December 9. As per the senator, the nature of being anonymous on social media immunes the trolls that post defamatory statements from libel laws, versus what it would be when such statements were shared in traditional media.

The senator explained that the proposed law is not meant to control free speech but instead to “impose responsibility”.

“In the course of our hearings this morning, Mr. Chairman, I would like to seek the views of our resource persons of a proposed law which would require online social media platforms to reveal the identity of the trolls. In other words… this is the balance between the freedom of speech and the responsibility of the use of that freedom,”

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

Drilon added that they are thinking that there should be a process by which “we can require the online social media platforms to take down those which are clearly defamatory, and should they fail to take down the account, then we impose a fine.” 


Communications Professor Jason Cabañes of De La Salle University suggests the use of campaign finance regulation. Cabañes said that this would push those who use digital campaigners to disclose their commissioned campaigns, people involved, and the cost.

The DLSU professor said that the “sticking point there perhaps is how we will define a campaign in our contemporary period, because I think a lot of our laws still think of campaigns as the traditional TV advertisement. But a lot of our campaigns now have a very different appearance and I think that needs to be factored in such a policy of campaign finance regulation,”

Sen. Drilon said that such laws on campaign finance are honored more “in breach than in compliance” or that imposing it is difficult. Cabañes then said that such regulation would add another layer to make it tougher for such types of campaigns to be conducted, even if they find a way to get around it.

Meanwhile, Meta’s (Facebook) Law Enforcement Outreach Manager for the Asia Pacific region did say that local law enforcement can get user data information from Facebook as long as they meet certain criteria.

As for taking down content, the social media giant said that they have developed a specific direct reporting system with the PNP’s anti-cybercrime group.

Meta also said that, while they have a strong response to issues like terrorism, child safety, and others, Meta did say that differentiating hate speech from criticism is still challenging for the company.

Via: Rappler

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