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‘Hold people responsible for socmed lies’

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Senators should craft a measure that would hold technology and social media giants responsible for the information spreading on their respective platforms, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Maria Ressa said on Wednesday.

Ressa made the remarks at the third hearing of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes where Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan inquired on the possible ways to curb the growing disinformation and misinformation in cyberspace.

The Rappler Chief said one of the “quick” solutions to the pressing issue is to create such legislation and penalize digital platforms that would continue to allow its proliferation on their platforms.

This is possible in the Philippines, she said, noting that the country does not have a law similar to Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act in the United States which states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

“In our country, what can we do? We don’t have Section 230 so the quick solution would be to actually hold platforms accountable for what they allow to spread,” she told senators. “When you do that, you would automatically see a shrinking of information operations.”

Drilon then asked Ressa if online platforms should be considered as publishers and be given the same liabilities as traditional media.

“In traditional media, the publisher is made responsible because theoretically they have control over media outlets particularly newspapers, radio, etcetera, but in social media, the platform owners are not responsible. They’re not considered as publishers,” Drilon said. “Are you saying that one remedy is to consider them as publishers?”

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