Sanctions imposed on 'fake news'

SHARING and creating “fake news” are enough grounds for Malacañang to revoke or suspend its accreditation of so-called “social media practitioners” who wanted to cover the Office of the President, a Palace official said Friday.

In a television interview, Communications Assistant Secretary Michael Kristian Ablan said that while the ‘interim social media accreditation’ they’re set to implement “will not regulate content” that will be produced by bloggers and netizens, sanctions would be in place if they will disseminate ‘fake news.’

“The qualifier is, under this particular policy, the principal advocacy is regular dissemination of original news and opinion of interest and cover the President. If for example this particular blogger accredited posts fake news, then that may be subject for loss or suspension of accreditation,” Ablan said in a CNN Philippines interview.

In his Department Order No. 15, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar ordered an interim ‘social media practitioner accreditation system’ that will be handled by the PCOO’s Social Media Office under starlet now blogger Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson—with the only requirements being at least 18 years old and has gained more than 5,000 followers in any social media platform.

Under the order, the PCOO may “withdraw, cancel or suspend” the accreditation, on grounds of: “Abuse of rights and privileges extended by PCOO;” and putting “his/her accreditation to improper use.”

A “Social Media Practitioner” refers to “a person that maintains a publicly accessible social media page, blog, or website, which generates content and whose principle (sic) advocacy is the regular dissemination of original new(sic) and/or opinion of interest.”

Andanar, a former news reader, vowed that they would not tolerate anyone who would spread inaccurate information.

“We will also take the effort, we’ll make a must to monitor what they are writing. As long as it’s not fake news, there won’t be any problem,” he said in a radio dzMM interview.

The highly divisive 2016 presidential elections showed the rise of some social media personalities accused of propagating “fake news” and hoax websites mimicking the name and logo of legitimate websites but peddling unverified news.

Media watchdog Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility earlier described characteristics of fake news sites, which include the lack of identification, unverified aggregated content, article submissions open to the public, and trending news sites.