Senator Francis Pangilinan has asked executives of Facebook to attend senate hearings to find out what steps the social media giant has taken to stop the proliferation of fake news.
“Facebook acknowledged that it knows people want accurate information. We are interested in finding out how Facebook is doing it because the platform, as it is now, is still being abused by perpetrators of fake news,” Pangilinan said.
The senator has earlier filed Philippine Senate Resolution 271, which seeks to conduct inquiries into social media platforms that allow the spread of fake news.
The spread of fake and malicious news on social media sites like Facebook has been credited as one of the major factors in the victory of current US president Donald Trump in the run up to the 2016 US election, and played a major factor in the 2016 local elections.
“The propagation of fake news stories has become an effective weapon of several political operatives to influence public opinion and national discourse,” Pangilinan said in the resolution.
Facebook has taken steps to stamp out fake news in the US and Germany, rolling out a tool that allows users to flag supposedly fake news. Once an article is flagged by enough people, it will be marked as a disputed article and users will get a warning about the article’s disputed status before it’s shared. Disputed articles will not affect Facebook’s algorithm, which largely determines what shows up in a person’s feed.
Pangilinan is looking into penalizing social media sites that do not actively combat the proliferation of fake news in their respective spaces, though there has no monetary penalties announced as of yet. Germany is considering fining social media sites like Facebook up to 500,000 euros (Php 26.7 million) for publishing fake news.