Facebook execs to be called to Senate hearings on fake news
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan wants the executives of Facebook to attend Senate hearings in relation to a probe into the proliferation of fake news.
The senator, who filed one of two similar resolutions for an investigation, particularly wants the officers of the social media platform to explain what steps they have taken to fight the spread of falsehoods online.
"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 in a statement last Friday, January 20.
Pangilinan added, "We are hoping that Facebook would take a lead in helping the public in discerning truth from lies and fabrication that are being spread massively to influence public opinion and national discourse."
On Wednesday, Pangilinan filed Senate Resolution 271, directing the appropriate committee to probe "the proliferation of misinformation and fake news sites in social media platforms, particularly on Facebook. (READ: Propaganda war: Weaponizing the internet)
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed Resolution 259, urging the committee on public information and mass media to probe the "proliferation of false, erroneous, distorted, fabricated and/or misleading news and information on social media, as well as on the so-called social media trolls." (READ: Fake accounts, manufactured reality on social media)
Facebook, in a statement the following day, said that it takes misinformation seriously.
"Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information. We've been working on this problem for a long time – years – and still have more work to do,” Facebook said.
Pangilinan's resolution was prompted by an earlier move in Germany, where the country's ruling party announced its intention to pass a law penalizing Facebook for fake and wrong posts that are not removed within 24 hours. Facebook has since announced it will introduce new measures to fight fake news in Germany. – Rappler.com