DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said social media platforms, especially Facebook, should never allow themselves to be venues or tools for illegal activity.
He made the statement due to Facebook’s delayed response to the request of Philippine authorities to take down pages and accounts carrying illegal e-sabong operations.
“Despite official requests and public appeals made by this Department and other government agencies, they ignored our requests for them to comply with Philippine laws and only acted belatedly when we exposed their inaction and neglect to the public,” he said in a statement.
“It appears to have dragged its feet on stopping illegal and harmful activities on its social media platform. In the race for profits, they should never put growth above and before the safety of its users,” it added.
Malaya said the Philippines is one of Facebook’s biggest markets, accounting for 93 percent of the country’s social media market share.
He said some online predators continue to use live stream through social media platforms because most tech companies have not done enough to detect or stop this type of abuse.
“We call on Congress to follow the lead of other countries and pass legislation to regulate social media. Facebook must be held liable for any illegal content on its sites. They must be made to account for how they protect their user’s privacy and how it handles and safeguards user’s data. Facebook must have the duty to take care of their users, including protecting them from illegal and harmful content,” said Malaya.
“The Philippines must be vigilant in enforcing our laws without fear or favor even if it involves a social media giant. We must build a safe and healthy online environment removing content that is illegal and harmful to the general public,” he added.
Despite the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the operation of e-sabong amid a probe into the disappearance of 34 cockfighting enthusiasts, authorities have monitored websites and Facebook pages carrying out the illegal activity.
While some of them have already been shut down, there are still others that continue their operations.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo said the PNP is working double-time to stop these illegal activities and to make the people behind them liable for violating the rules.