Comelec's Jimenez defends 'misunderstood' rule on social media account verification | Inquirer News

Comelec’s Jimenez defends ‘misunderstood’ rule on social media account verification

/ 03:24 PM December 13, 2021

Comelec's Jimenez defends 'misunderstood' rule on social media account verification

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez. (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez on Monday defended from criticisms the poll body’s decision to make social media accounts verification a precondition for uploading political advertisements.

Jimenez explained in a press conference that, “The policy was enunciated in the Fair Elections Act implementing rules and regulations. It’s just that someone picked up on it and said ‘this is how I understand it’ and they understood it wrong and everyone ran with it. There is no new update on any new policy because the policy was enunciated in that resolution.”


“The day we released that, someone tried to make some noise about it and I said if you have problems with it, write the commission. Write the commission to strike it down, no one has done that. We are not really going to be changing policy just because some people on the internet misunderstood the provision,” he added.


READ: Comelec expands rules on pol ads run on social media

Jimenez reiterated that the Comelec never required an aspirant to have 100,000 subscribers on Youtube.

“We never said that you’re supposed to have 100,000 followers. We just said you need to get verified. Did anyone try to get verified? Because those who did, got verified. Ganun lang naman kasimple ‘yun eh [It’s that simple],” he said.

Over the weekend, several aspirants in the May 2022 elections appealed to their supporters to subscribe to their respective Youtube channels so they can reach 100,000 subscribers and obtain a verification badge.

Owners of YouTube channels are usually required to reach 100,000 subscribers to be eligible to apply for verification.

However, the online video sharing platform said it may also “proactively verify channels with fewer than 100,000 subscribers that are well-known outside of YouTube.”


“All of this noise really makes no sense. This particular criticism that people are saying that you need 100,000 subscribers,” Jimenez continued.

“The very people who are claiming to be disadvantaged by this over the weekend, they already got verified,” he added, without mentioning names.

“So ano yung sinasabi nila (So what are they saying)? And the people who get verified, they’re not coming out and saying ‘Guys, OK na na-verify kami hindi kami kailangang umabot ng 100,000.’ [‘Guys it’s OK, we’re already verified even if we have yet to reach 100,000 subscribers’]. It’s a little strange that when it comes time to feign outrage at something that they’re obviously misinterpreting, they’re all gung-ho about it,” he added.

“But when they get what they want, they’re all quiet and not clarifying the confusion that they created,” he further said.

Meanwhile, Jimenez also recently announced that Comelec will work with YouTube to verify the official channels of candidates in the video-sharing platform.

READ: Comelec teaming up with YouTube for verification of candidates’ channels

Jimenez said the poll body also continued to talk to other platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“We’re always talking to these platforms and we’ve said from the very beginning that we are talking to these platforms. This is not a new thing, this is not some novel development. We’ve dealt with these platforms before,” he said.

Jimenez explained why Comelec is requiring the verification of an account before it can be allowed to put up political advertisements on social media.

Among the reasons include the need to ensure accountability among candidates.

“We want to make sure that there’s accountability for these ads. We want to make sure that there’s accountability for the information that’s being pushed out and we want to make sure that people have a credible source that they can trust so that people will be able to differentiate between fake news and real news because of where it’s coming from,” he said.

While he acknowledges that even verified accounts can still be sources of false information, he said “at the very least, there is accountability.”

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“Malinaw ‘yung accountability kasi verified ka [The accountability is clear because you’re verified]. That’s equivalent to a candidate saying ‘I approve this message.’ Iyon ‘yung katumbas nun [That’s what it means] when you’re verified,” the Comelec spokesperson added.

TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 polls, Comelec, Election, Nation, News, Social Media, verification

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