Solon wants socmed platforms probed over ‘Bikoy’ videos

MANILA A partylist lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Wednesday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the possible liabilities of social media platforms in the light of Ang Totoong Narco List video series that he said has recklessly dragged prominent individuals in the controversy.

Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr. filed House Resolution 2585 which directs the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology to immediately conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the possible liabilities of social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, among others, for content posted by their users.

In a press briefing after filing the said resolution, Garbin noted that on May 6, Peter Joemel Advincula surfaced and introduced himself as Bikoy, the man behind the controversial video series that were uploaded in different social media platforms starting April 2.

Bikoy has uploaded a total of five episodes where he implicated the family of President Rodrigo Duterte, some local politicians, and some private individuals who have been allegedly involved in a drug syndicate operating in the country.

However, on May 23, he revealed before the media that his previous allegations were all lies, claiming the charges he earlier made were all fabricated by the opposition to unseat the Duterte government.

Speaking at a press conference at Camp Crame, Bikoy said his claims were scripted and were orchestrated by the Liberal Party.

Nevertheless, regardless of the motive of Bikoy, the video series has been publicly viewed, shared and uploaded multiple times in social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, Garbin said.

As a result, the partylist lawmaker said the video series not only discredited and maligned the good name, honor and reputation of the individuals named in the series, but also imputed to them active membership, or worse, even leadership in a drug syndicate - a heinous crime.

Garbin cited the case of their partymate, Elizaldy Co, who was tagged by Bikoy in Ang Totoong Narcolist - Episode 5 as the leader of the drug syndicate.

Bikoy alleged that Co's five-star luxury hotel and resort in Albay, Misibis Bay Resort, serves as the central house facility where a shabu laboratory is located.

As a result of the circulation of the libelous video implicating Co, Garbin said the Misibis Bay Resort encountered a series of booking cancellations, even on its peak season.

Mr. Co's good name and reputation as a businessman were greatly tarnished. Some banking and financial institutions with which he has significant financial dealings have raised questions over his creditworthiness, the lawmaker noted.

To prevent similar cases from happening, Garbin believed that there is an imperative need to determine the possible liabilities of the social media platforms that failed to develop security features to regulate videos, postings and other materials with highly libelous and grievously defamatory contents.

Social media platforms owe it to the public to vet and confirm the veracity or falsity of the statement and materials being published in their websites, he said.

There is thus sufficient cause and justification for the taking of concrete actions, one of which is through appropriate legislation, to ensure that social media platforms do not aid or abet the commission of any crime, felony or offense by their users, Garbin said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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