Senate bill pushes online, social media membership accountability

September 14, 2022 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 195 views

SENATOR Manuel “Lito” Lapid believes it is high time that the Senate establishes a remedy against disinformation and builds a system of responsibility and accountability across social media platforms.

Senator Lapid filed a measure mandating all social media operators to require users to submit a valid proof of identification prior to registration for their services to facilitate secure and accountable interactions, particularly online transactions, between individuals, public institutions, and private entities.

According to Lapid, his proposed bill “seeks to mandate the authentication process for all social media platforms through registration of the users’ accounts using any valid government-issued identification and/or barangay certificate” with the intent to curb the undesirable consequences of the usage of social media.

Under Senate Bill (S.B.) No. 1289 or the “Online and Social Media Membership Accountability” act, all social media website operators are to require their users to submit valid proofs of identification which can be accessed by law enforcers in cases involving criminal acts committed through these sites.

“Kagaya po sa tunay na mundo, kailangan pong maging responsable ang bawat tao sa kanilang salita at gawa. Dapat na pong tapusin ang pag-gawa ng krimen at pagpapakalat ng kasinungalingan gamit ang pekeng user account sa mga social media platform,” Lapid said.

In his proposed measure, Lapid also maintained that social media operators must be compelled to reveal the identity of those behind fictitious accounts in their platforms.

“Layunin natin na mapigilan ng bagong panukala na ito ang sinuman na gumawa ng mga anonymous na account online. Higit na kailanman, ay kailangan na nating solusyonan at panagutin ang mga trolls na nagpapakalat ng mga peke at maling impormasyon nang kasing bilis ng virus na kinakalaban natin ngayon,” Lapid added.

The bill provides that Philippine-based users can use any government-issued identification cards, including barangay certification of identity and those shall be sufficient proof of identification. Work and school identification cards may also be used provided they reflect the actual name of the person so identified.

Under the bill, website users may still use different usernames and have multiple accounts but their membership must still be supported by real identities. Data privacy act applies to all personal information collected by these websites.

For existing members, the operators shall require that each member submit a valid identification card as a condition for continuing membership on their platform.

Meanwhile, Lapid also said that individuals who will be found to verify their information using fake or falsified proofs of identification shall be punished under this bill.