Liking, sharing on Facebook not libelous–AngaraBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines — Liking and sharing a libelous comment in social networking sites like Facebook will not make the “liker” or “sharer” liable under the cybercrime law so long as he or she does not conspire to commit the crime, Senator Edgardo Angara said on Thursday.
Angara was initially unaware of the terms “like” and “sharing” when reporters asked during a regular forum in the Senate asked whether the act of liking or sharing a malicious comment or remark on Facebook was punishable under the law.
“Anong mag-like? (What’s to like?)” he asked.
After a reporter explained and showed him how to do it on Facebook, Angara said, “No. Not really. You see, the anxiety and apprehension over this are so exaggerated….”
“Hindi. Hindi naman ikaw ang author nito (No. You are not the author (of that libelous comment),” he said when pressed. ‘
“Hindi, audience lang naman sya e. Kapag sinabi kong uy gusto ko yung sinabing yun. Conspirator na ako? Hindi. Audience lang ako. (He is just an audience. If I say, I like what he said. Does that make m conspirator. No. I’m just an audience) We are a non-party. Non Participant,” the senator said.
Even sharing a libelous comment on Facebook, Angara said, was not punishable under the law unless the “sharer” had conspired with the author.
“Kung may connivance. Kung may conspiracy (If there is connivance. If there is conspiracy),” he said.
“Kung ikaw kasabwat, conspirator ka, kilala mo yung nagpadala niyan at nagkausap kayo, ito pag pinadala ko sayo, i-share mo sa lahat, e di conspirator ka (If you are a conspirator, you know the author and he told you to share it to everyone, then you become a conspirator),” he pointed out.
Angara called on the public to calm down, saying the law is not a threat to anyone’s freedom right now.
“I think the first call of the media, a very powerful conveyor of information, is to calm down and say there’s no threat to anyone’s freedom right now. What we are just saying is that we are apprehensive, we are anxious that it will violate our rights. Nothing so far has been violated,” he said.
“In the first place, the law is not even enforced yet. There’s still no IRR (implementing rules and regulations) e…So there’s no actual injury to anyone and therefore I would appeal very strongly and almost passionately…don’t be afraid. Don’t panic…,” the senator added.
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