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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

01 September 2021 01:36:35 PM

Concerned over its unilateral deletion of content, Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera today said that tech giant Facebook should clearly define its parameters as a social media platform.

“Dapat i-define nila, ano ba sila? Are they a platform? Are they media?”Herrera said, citing the importance of Facebook in the flow of information during these times.

Guesting at Wednesday’s virtual Ugnayan sa Batasan news forum, Herrera called out Facebook over its practice of unilaterally removing content it deemed inappropriate for its platform.

The Bagong Henerasyon party-list representative said Facebook could be engaging in “free speech censorship,” which undermines the freedom of expression guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution.

“Gusto namin malaman sa Facebook, ano ang proseso na ginagawa ninyo para tanggalin ang isang post?”Herrera said.

The House leader said that while other countries are starting to legislate regulatory laws to cover social media platforms, she would like Congress to study first the processes involved in various social media’s processing and allowing or banning content in their respective platforms.

“As of 2019, mayroong 74 million (Filipino) Facebook users. They can control the flow of information. If they can control that flow of information, then parang sila na yung nagsasabi kung ano ang tama at mali na dapat ninyong mapakinggan,” Herrera stressed.

“Kung bigla nilang tine-takedown yung post mo at hindi sila pabor dito, parang kino-control mo na yung impormasyon na dumadaloy sa 74 million Filipino users,” she pointed out.

In her open letter to Facebook, Herrera claimed receiving “numerous reports from her constituents that their posts have been unjustly and unceremoniously deleted despite the fact that such information is not fake news, nor libelous, and within the community guidelines.”

“I fully agree with the need for ensuring our people are informed with the truth, especially in times of great uncertainty. However, I must heed the call of the people when they allege their freedoms of expression have been undermined and are uncertain as to the cause,” Herrera said in her letter dated August 31, 2021.