Solon seeks congressional inquiry into Facebook's 'controversial' censorship policy

Published August 22, 2021, 7:58 PM

by Ben Rosario

Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Michael T.Defensor has asked the Lower House leadership to summon executives of social media giant Facebook Inc. to respond to questions about its controversial censorship guidelines.

Rep Mike Defensor

Defensor has filed House Resolution No. 2112 proposing a congressional inquiry in aid of legislation into the information censorship methods that Facebook has imposed.

“Considering Facebook’s huge influence in our country’s moral, political, national securitya nd also in securing private corporate interests, there is a need to clarify its Information Censorship Methods,” Defensor said in filing HR 2112.

The resolution will likely be referred to the House Committee on Public Information chaired by Cagayan Rep. Joseph L. Lara.

Defensor noted that in the past six years, Filipinos topped the world’s list of people spending time using social media. He said Filipinos spent an average of four hours and 15 minuters each day on social media.

This alone makes it important for the country’s social media users to determine the reason behind Facebook’s censorship policy.

“The Facebook usage percentage in the Philippines rose from 25.87 percent in 2015 to 96 percent in the third quarter of 2020,” said Defensor.

“With the sheer number of Facebook users and the high usage percentage, there is no denying that this social media platform has become the de facto Mass Media firm with arguably a much larger impact than traditional media outlet,” said Defensor.

The partylist solon said Facebook officials in the Philippines have to explain the controversial censorship issues by testifying before Congress.

“We expect Facebook to be a leading political battleground in the forthcoming presidential elections – to serve as a virtual platform for campaigning – so we want to ensure that the right of every Filipino to freedom of opinion and expression is adequately protected against arbitrary censorship,” Defensor said.