MANILA: Amid the recent proliferation of fake news and dummy accounts on social media, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday sternly warned those responsible for the malicious activities that the government will actively investigate and prosecute them in accordance with the law.
“We should not tolerate those who use it (social media) to mislead people, spread fake news, conduct anomalous activities and take advantage of the vulnerabilities of fellow Filipinos, especially in times of crises,” Go said.
“Mapaparusahan ang mga nagkakalat ng fake news dahil sa paglabag ng batas. Sisiguraduhin namin na mapanagot kayo sa mga kalokohang ginagawa ninyo (Those spreading fake news will be punished because they violated the law. We will ensure that you will be held responsible for your wrongdoings),” he said.
Go said Facebook and other social media platforms should remain a safe space for everyone to converse and exchange views, and appealed to the public to make use of social media to help fellow Filipinos instead of wasting their time to sow misinformation.
“Gamitin n’yo na lang sana ang oras ninyo para tumulong at magmalasakit. Huwag ninyo sayangin sa pagkalat ng kasinungalingan o sa panloloko ng mga tao. Huwag kayo gumawa ng problema at dumagdag sa pasakit ng bayan (Use your time to help and show compassion. Don’t waste it in spreading lies or defrauding people. Don’t create problems and become additional burdens to society),” he said.
He said while criticisms are welcome and are part of the exercise of democracy, Filipinos must verify the information they encounter and take part in creating a well-informed citizenry.
“Social media should be a platform where freedom of speech can be exercised as part of a democratic society. But let us do this in a responsible manner. Welcome ang mga bumabatikos na magbigay ng kanilang rekomendasyon sa paraan kung saan pwede lahat maging parte ng solusyon at hindi dumagdag sa problema (Critics are welcomed to give their recommendations in a manner where everybody becomes part of the solution and no to add to the problem),” Go said.
Go made the statements following the spate of fake news and dummy accounts on social media.
Just recently, Facebook released a statement in which the social media platform revealed it is investigating reports of suspicious activity, particularly the proliferation of dummy accounts.
The report prompted the Department of National Defense (DND) to reach out to Facebook on the matter.
“It’s a cause for concern. It creates discordant voices among the people which should not be there,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday.
Go said he fully supports the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate, with the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), and crackdown on these alleged possible cases of cybercrimes.
His sentiments were shared by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar who said that the concerned government agencies have already been directed to look into the matter.
He added that the National Privacy Commission has been in touch with Facebook to probe and share significant findings with the agency.
“We also ask the public to do their part and be conscientious and vigilant. Please report fake accounts and do not fall prey to unsubstantiated posts from unverified accounts. Our office continues its programs, such as Dismiss Disinformation and Youth for Truth, meant to quell fake news and combat misleading information,” Andanar said.
“We urge everyone to be responsible social media users and warn those who commit malicious acts of fake accounts and fake news creation, that you can be made accountable for your actions, as such actions are prohibited and punishable under the Cybercrime Prevention Act,” he said.
(PNA/ Jose Cielito Reganit/ SRNY/ RSP)