Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected a proposed law on the registration of real names and mobile numbers of social media users. A spokesman for Duterte said Friday it was a threat to freedom of speech and privacy.
The law was enacted to curb problems such as fake news and online abuse. The law also provides for the provision of personal information to mobile phone users when purchasing a SIM card.
Although Duterte spoke out in favor of freedom of speech on social media, his government has been accused of serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings.
A large portion of the Philippine population uses social media. Misleading or fake news has become a hot topic in the country. Duterte made the decision despite the spread of fake information on Facebook, YouTube, TickTock and Twitter ahead of the May 9 national elections.
The law was passed in both houses of Congress last February. Critics say the law is an example of state surveillance. The campaign on social media played a big role in Duterte’s victory in the 2016 elections. Critics say Duterte praised himself during his online campaign. On the other hand, dissidents were attacked and even threatened with death. However, the president has denied the allegations.