Meta to work with law enforcers in fight vs online abuse, exploitation of kids

Facebook's Meta and Philippine law enforcers on Wednesday, July 27, agreed to fight against online abuse and exploitation of children by immediately taking down exploitative online content.

This came after Meta, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) met with Senator Risa Hontiveros.

The Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Bill, which the lady Senator authored during the 18th Congress, is expected to lapse into law on Thursday, July 28.

Meta, according to Hontiveros, also vowed to preserve the exploitative content and transmit them to authorities for filing of evidence.

The social media company will also take part in crafting the implementing rules and regulation of the future law, added the senator, who welcomed the initiative.

In a press conference, NBI Cybercrime Division chief Christopher Paz said the Philippines ranked first as distributor of materials related to online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

PNP Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division of Women and Children Protection Section chief PCol. Mary Grace Madayag added there was also a reported increase in the number of OSAEC victims.

Despite this, the Philippines has had a "good standing" in terms of coming up with mechanisms to prevent such activities for the past seven years, which the government plans to continue, Paz added.

Hontiveros told reporters that lawmakers will ensure the implementation of the measure once it becomes a law.

"Mag-eexercise ng oversight function na mapatupad itong batas ng ganap at mahusay. Sinabi naman ng Facebook na willing sila maegengage sa process at they have been doing as they said (We will exercise an oversight function to ensure the proper implementation of the law. Facebook also said it is willing to engage in the process, which they said they have been doing)," she said.

"Ang office ko will reach out din sa ibang platforms na ginagamit ng predators laban sa mga bata (My office will also reach out to other platforms that predators use against children)," she added.

Under the measure, it is unlawful for any person to employ a child, with or without his or her consent, to engage in an act of online sexual abuse or exploitation.

It is also unlawful to produce, publish, and possess, among other acts, materials related to such activity.