The government will arrest and file charges against people who spread terrorist propaganda online, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Tuesday.
Information Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said some suspects have been tracked down by and these will soon be arrested for committing “cyber sedition.”
“May huhulihin na-cyber sedition [We’ll be making some arrests on grounds of cyber-sedition]. We’re not going to name the persons. We were able to track about more than one last (Monday) night,” Salalima told reporters.
He admitted that the DICT is “involved” in government efforts to stop the spread of Islamic State propaganda online in light of the military’s request last week to take down 63 Facebook accounts that were alleged spreading misinformation.
“Rebellion, sedition are crimes under the old penal code. You do sedition, you incite people via cyber or via Internet, there is cyber rebellion. There is cyber sedition. But in rebellion, there must be a taking up of arms. So pag sa online (if it’s done online), it could amount to cyber sedition,” Salalima said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier asked Facebook Philippines to close down 63 accounts allegedly being used by the Maute Group and its sympathizers to spread terrorist propaganda amid the battle in Marawi City.
These groups supposedly spread misinformation to undermine government operations against local terrorists.
Amid widespread attacks worldwide, Facebook said it will remove fake accounts and accounts that support any terror propaganda.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the social media platform said it wants to provide a service where people feel safe.
“Our Community Standards do not allow groups or people that engage in terrorist activity, or posts that express support for terrorism. Fake accounts are also prohibited. We will remove accounts and content that violate these policies when we are made aware of them,” it said.
Facebook added that should there be an emergency that may compromise someone’s safety, they will also notify law enforcers.
“Online extremism can only be tackled with strong partnerships. We have long collaborated with policymakers, civil society, and others in the tech industry, and we are committed to continuing this important work together,” it said.