THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged Congress to create a measure that will regulate the use of social media, especially for the dissemination of illegal content.
Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the DILG, said social media platforms, especially Facebook, should never allow themselves to be venues or tools for illegal activity.
He made the statement due to Facebook’s late response to the Philippine authorities’ request to remove pages and accounts containing illegal e-sabong operations.
“Despite official requests and public appeals by this department and other government agencies, they ignored our requests to comply with Philippine laws and acted only belatedly when we exposed their inaction and negligence to the public” , he said in a statement.
“He appears to have dragged his feet in stopping illegal and harmful activity on his social media platform. In the race for profits, they should never put growth ahead of the safety of its users,” he added.
Malaya said the Philippines is one of Facebook’s biggest markets, accounting for 93% of the country’s social media market share.
He said some online predators continue to use live streaming through social media platforms because most tech companies haven’t done enough to detect or stop this kind of abuse.
“We call on Congress to follow the lead of other countries and pass legislation to regulate social media. Facebook must be held accountable for any illegal content on its sites. They must be held to account for how they protect their user’s privacy and how they process and protect user data. Facebook must have a duty to take care of its users, including protecting them from illegal and harmful content,” Malaya said.
“The Philippines must be vigilant in enforcing our laws without fear or favor, even if it involves a social media giant. We need to create a safe and healthy online environment by removing content that is illegal and harmful to the general public,” he added.
Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to shut down the operation of e-sabong as part of an investigation into the disappearance of 34 cockfighting enthusiasts, authorities have been monitoring websites and Facebook pages leading the illegal activity.
While some of them have already been closed, there are still others that continue their activities.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Colonel Jean Fajardo said the PNP is working twice to stop these illegal activities and hold the people behind them accountable for breaking the rules.