Drilon pushes for measure requiring identity of 'trolls' in social media

Published December 9, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday pushed for a measure that would require social media platforms to disclose the identity of “trolls” to curb the rising number of abuses done in the online community.

Drilon, during the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision’s hearing on the rising problems of social media , expressed his belief “trolls” have the impunity to say what they want because they can hide behind anonymity provided by social media platforms.

“In traditional media, we do not censor, but we make those responsible for defamatory language. We make them responsible under our revised penal code for defamation,” Drilon said during the hybrid hearing.

“In the development that we have because of technology, you cannot avail of this right because of the anonymity of the authors,” Drilon lamented

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who chairs the committee, is hearing Senate Resolution No. 953, which calls for a review of the country’s existing criminal laws in light of the rise of social media platforms and the rapid advancement of technology.

Pangilinan, for his part, said that despite technological advancements, the country’s laws “should always protect us and our loved ones, our children, from those who abuse the openness of the internet by spreading disinformation, hate speech and undertake criminal activity using social media platforms.”

Drilon agreed with the proposal noting that while there are laws in place for libel and cyberlibel, the anonymous nature of social media makes it difficult for victims of online attacks to identify their attackers.

“I was a victim of libel in cyberspace. Fortunately, the one who constantly hit me used a social media platform where I can identify him… and I was able to identify him, I was able to avail of the libel laws of our country and had him finally convicted by the Supreme Court of the crime of libel,” Drilon said.

“This is a system which is available to the victims of defamation where the libelous statements are made over traditional media. But when it is made through social media platforms where there is anonymity, the abuses are done and this is what we should correct,” he stressed.

Drilon said it is imperative to balance freedom of speech and the responsible use of such freedom especially in the age of social media.

He said doing so would help promote responsible use of social media and victims of online attacks can avail of legal remedy under the law for libel and defamatory language.