/ 4 March 2021

SENATOR Risa Hontiveros called on major social media giants Facebook and Twitter to crack down on criminal activities in their platforms, especially the online sexual exploitation of women and children.

“Hindi lang fake news ang madaling kumakalat sa social media, pati mga pang-aabuso din sa ating kabataan at kababaihan. Social media platforms that still are not able to address this growing problem should be made accountable,” Hontiveros said.

During the hearing of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, Atty. Lawrence Aritao of the International Justice Mission said that in 2020, his group received over 1.2 million reports of online sexual exploitation.

“That’s almost three times the reports from 2019, which registered about 400,000 reports,” Hontiveros said.

“This is a dramatic rise in a span of only a year. Mas pinalala talaga ito ng pandemya, lalo na at marami ang nakababad sa social media. Social networks should prioritize ending the proliferation of these crimes before even thinking of expanding their products,” she added.

Last year, Hontiveros called on the National Bureau of Investigation to take down pages that sexually exploited children.

The senator recently filed Senate Bill 2068 or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Law that imposes duties for social media platforms.

The bill states that any social media network or similar entity that is found guilty of failing to comply with the requirements of the bill shall suffer a penalty of P10,000,000.

“Social networks should start taking this issue seriously. Ang buhay at hinaharap ng ating kababaihan at kabataan ang nakasalalay dito. We always welcome innovation, but not if it comes at the expense of the Filipino people,” Hontiveros said.