Facebook to attend Senate hearing on online sexual abuse – Hontiveros

Senator Risa Hontiveros said Wednesday that social giant Facebook is expected to attend the Senate hearing on online sexual abuse after it did not show up in the previous meeting.

“Facebook has committed to attend the next Anti-OSAEC (Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children) hearing,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“We have heard their explanation that their policy team did not receive the invitation that was sent, and we will call a next hearing to provide a platform for Facebook and other social outfits to explain their side and open themselves to questions from legislators,” she added.

During Tuesday’s hearing, senators said they might have to cite Facebook officials in contempt after it did not send a representative to the hearing about measures to prevent online sexual abuse of children.

Hontiveros called on Facebook and Twitter to crack down on criminal activities taking place on their platforms, specifically online sexual exploitation of women and children.

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

Facebook to attend Senate hearing on online sexual abuse – Hontiveros

Hontiveros noted that 1.2 million reports of online sexual exploitation were received by the International Justice Mission. The figure was three times higher than incidents reported in 2019.

“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,” Hontiveros said.

“I hope that social companies, especially Facebook, can attend our next hearing. Filipinos use Facebook the most among other platforms, so their insights will be very crucial in finally ending exploitative activities under their roof,” she added.

The senator has filed Senate Bill 2068, or the proposed Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Law or Anti-OSEAC Law, aiming to amend the Anti-Child Pornography Act and the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act.