Law requiring IDs for social media users sought

Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. introduced a bill that will mandate social media companies to require users to present valid government-issued identification cards or barangay certificate.


House Bill (HB) 129, or “An Act Mandating the Authentication of Online and Social Media Memberships in the Country Through Registration of their Accounts Using Any Valid Government-issued Identification and/or Barangay Certificate,” or “The Online and Social Media Membership Accountability Act” will penalize the social media provider that cannot provide and authenticate the identity of the account holder that faces a lawsuit from an aggrieved party.

“All persons shall be required to possess any valid identification cards issued by the government and/or barangay certificates issued by barangay authorities,” the bill said.

“People intending to register in social media networks and websites may then use their identification card or barangay certificate numbers to verify their online identity,” it added.

For public and private entities, they may use the identity card or barangay certificate number of a designated employed representative of the company, the bill said.

Social media networks and other online websites must require online users availing of their services to input their identity card or barangay certificate number as a requirement of the membership registration process.

“Online users may be allowed to register multiple accounts under the same identity card or barangay certificate number,” the bill said.

The proposed legislation did not specify the penalties for the failure of social media companies to verify the identity of the social media user.

However, the bill stated that the social media provider will face fines and community service for allowing the registration and “for creating and using a social media account for the purpose of performing acts of bullying; acts of defamation; libelous and malicious acts; and trade of illegal drugs, weapons and firearms, whether or not such account is linked to a valid identification card or barangay certificate number provided by the government to each individual".

The bill’s purpose is to “facilitate secure and accountable interactions, particularly online interactions, between individuals, public institutions, and private entities".