MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe on Thursday denied rumors that she is pushing to ban Facebook in the country.
In a television interview, Poe, chairperson ng Senate committee on public information and mass media, said that this news spreading on the internet is a form of “fake news.”
“That is fake news. That is not true. First of all, that’s counterproductive…wrong. That is really a disinformation,” Poe said in mix Filipino and English.
“We are fighting for these products of fake news factories. Twisting the truth is one big industry in the Philippines,” the office of Poe said in Filipino in a Facebook post.
In the continuation of the Senate hearing on the supposed proliferation of “fake news” in the country, the lady senator asked a law expert about the extent of the government’s reach in blocking hate speech and expressions online that border on criminal liability.
“Not that we’re going to do this. I’ll be the first to disagree if they do. But let’s say, can you block a particular company like Facebook from being accessed in the Philippines? Of course, that would spark a revolution and we know that,” Poe said.
“But what I’m saying is this: They’re banking on their popularity but we should also assert their accountability to us,” Poe had said, in reference to the accountability of the social media giant for its failure to address offensive speech,” she added.
The senator said the “trending” Facebook video which had been linked to the plan of the senator to ban Facebook use was made to discredit her and the ongoing hearings on the spread of fake news.
“We can’t control what will appear on social media. I am on Facebook, even my children are on Facebook, a lot of our countrymen are using news from Facebook,” Poe said.
Poe urged the public to examine the information they receive and to “cross-check” facts from lies.
“We should be able to inform the citizens that they should be able to cross-check information that they get online. We’ve come up also with our own video of the proceedings because it was spliced,” the senator said.
If you’re conscientious enough and you really want to find the truth,…because if you don’t want to know the truth then it’s easy to forget that,” she added.
She also vowed to oblige Facebook executives to attend the next hearing to discuss the “algorithms” that it uses to control what information appears in a user’s news feed.
“What we’re trying to do is how we can encourage Facebook to be able to cooperate with us,” Poe emphasized, adding that governments in the European Union have initiated a crackdown to fight fake news and compelled social media sites to flag illegal, hateful, defamatory and racist expressions within 24 hours,” Poe said.
Earlier, Poe underlined media and information literacy as the solution to the spread of fake news and false information.
Despite saying that the public wouldn’t be able to distinguish “true news” if there’s no “fake news,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday defended that he is not encouraging the spread of fake news in the country.