Pangilinan seeks Senate probe of fake Facebook accounts

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Senator Francis Pangilinan has asked the Senate to investigate the proliferation of fake Facebook accounts that use identities of students, government officials, journalists, and other users, stressing such online acts could imperil one’s security and privacy.

Filing Senate Resolution 444, the senator urged the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry to find out if there is a need to amend Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and other pertinent laws to make them more responsive to the situation.

Pangilinan said the inquiry would also help determine “possible regulation of social media platforms, in accordance with the policy that respects the rights and freedoms of all Filipinos guaranteed by the Constitution.”

“It is the declared policy of the State to protect and safeguard the integrity of communications systems, networks, and databases, and the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and data stored therein, from all forms of misuse, abuse, and illegal access,” the resolution said.

It added that: “There is a need to look into our existing laws to increase the extent of liability and possible regulation of service providers or content hosts such as Facebook and other social media platforms.”

“Legislation must be carefully crafted so as to balance the rights and freedoms accorded to every Filipino by the Constitution and the public interest to be protected from dangerous acts online,” Pangilinan said in the measure.

In the resolution, he noted that the sudden surge of dummy Facebook accounts came following the protests staged on the streets and online against the anti-terrorism bill.

“Some Facebook users reported to have received threats from said dummy accounts using their names. The threats even go as far as calling said users ‘terrorists’,” he said.

The social media giant has vowed to look into the suspicious activity on its platform, even as the Department of Justice announced it will also conduct its own investigation.

“We should not be utterly defenseless against social media manipulation and threats. We must use our laws to fight the fakes online,” Pangilinan said./Stacy Ang

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