Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today renewed her long-standing appeal for Facebook to take down the fake news stories and clips against her which are obviously meant to deliberately mislead the public and besmirch her reputation.
De Lima, who has been constantly targeted by fake news stories by some sinister quarters, said Facebook should exercise some responsibility for the content and posts it allows to be disseminated and shared on its platform.
“It has been a year since I last wrote a letter to Facebook expressing my concern over the continued proliferation of fake news that has been populating our social media, notably on Facebook, but the letter remained unanswered and unacted,” she said.
“As the world’s most-used and largest social network, the people behind Facebook should take disinformation seriously, considering that not everyone is well-versed about the distinction between fake news, propaganda, satire and fiction,” she added.
In a letter she wrote and sent to Facebook Philippines Country Director Digs Dimagiba last January 2017, De Lima addressed the continued re-distribution of fake news stories and clips on the platform.
In the letter, she expressed concern over the existence of “shadowy people” maintaining questionable accounts to deliberately tarnish the name of some respectable people through the distribution of disinformation disguised as legitimate news stories.
“These fake news stories have also mutated into fake videos and audio clips that have been recklessly shared and re-shared. Unfortunately, some of these fake news stories, videos and audio clips have found their ways into our mainstream news media and consequently, confused the public between real and fake news,” she wrote.
De Lima also attached in the letter a long list of the fake news peddled against her as distributed on Facebook–such as reports that falsely claimed she had stepped down as senator, that she purchased a USD 6-million mansion in New York, USA, that UK congratulating the Senate for ousting De Lima and that detained De Lima was hospitalized after attempting secret suicide.
The former justice secretary reiterated that Facebook should find creative and innovative ways and means to end the malicious propagation of fake news stories and stop their continued re-distribution, especially by paid trolls and hackers.
“These fake news stories are negatively affecting our national discourse and public opinion. The continued distribution of false stories has also become a tool for power-hungry public officials to feed the public with poison and lies to propel their political career to greater heights,” she said.
The Senator from Bicol further appealed to the public to be more critical about the content they read and shared online, especially those stories which were maliciously peddled by government officials who have political agenda to destroy their critics.
“Let’s not believe everything that we read online and easily fall victim into the proliferation of fabricated stories and online trolls. These fake news destroy not only individuals but also their families,” she said.
Last January 2017, De Lima delivered a fiery privilege speech to denounce the unabated proliferation of fake news in the Internet and other social networking sites, where she likened fake news to a “virus” that could “bring about a zombie apocalypse.”