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Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez Files House Bill No. 5021 to Penalize Facebook Fake Account Owners

Let’s call this double-edged. The House of Representatives are mulling over a new house bill (House Bill No. 5021) filed by Pantaleon Alvarez seeking to turn creating fake social media accounts into a crime.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez filed House Bill No. 5021 which aims to control the use of social media by requiring social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to and I quote “ensure the veracity of the identity of a social media user”.

Section 5 of the bill reads:

Applicants for social media accounts shall be subjected by the Social Media Networks to effective identity verification in order to ascertain the authenticity of an account.

House Bill No. 5021 also looks into “shutting down” accounts that have been proven to be “compromised” or “fake”.

Pantaleon Alvarez (c) Rappler

According to the bill, responsibility is also given to social media users who must observe a responsible and fair exercise of his/her right to free expression and opinion.

Here’s where things get tricky. House Bill No. 5021 will prohibit individuals from opening social media accounts using other people’s identity AND present himself online as a person he/she is not.

Those “who intentionally and maliciously” commit violations to these will be penalized with imprisonment of six to 12 years and fine ranging from P30,000 to P50,000.

Those who control apps and software will also be liable to these criminal offenses.

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