Comelec chief wants law to control candidates' social media pages

Comelec chief wants law to control candidates’ social media pages

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 10:28 AM May 30, 2024

Comelec chief wants law to control candidates' social media pages

FILE PHOTO: Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Erwin Garcia, along with other officials, discusses terms of reference of the Automated Election System that will be used in the 2025 National and Local Elections during a news briefing at the Comelec Session Hall in Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila, on May 4, 2023. INQUIRER / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines—Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair George Garcia is encouraging a law that would regulate the social media accounts of poll candidates during the campaign period.

Garcia pointed out that social media—the contents candidates or their administrators publish and the cost that candidates pay to maintain or operate the pages—is the only sector Comelec has no regulatory powers over during campaign season.


“That is the reason we are really calling honorable congressmen and the senators; maybe it is high time we look[ed] into regulation as far as social media is concerned,” he said.


He emphasized that the law should only cover social media pages of election candidates and not the general public since it would “intrude on the freedom of expression” of the people.

READ: Comelec eyes ban on deep fakes, AI in 2025 midterm polls

Garcia asserted that politicians automatically submit themselves to regulation when they file their election candidacy.

“When you file your candidacy, it’s not an absolute right; it’s a privilege only, and therefore, you are allowing yourself to be regulated once you become a candidate,” he explained.

Comelec’s call to ban AI in polls

According to Garcia, his recent call to prohibit artificial intelligence (AI) sets a good starting point in allowing the poll body to regulate social media during the campaign period.

“We are really pushing for a law, but my proposal is a good start, this is a wake-up call to everyone,” he said.


READ: ‘Deepfake’: PCO disowns clip of Marcos ‘attack order’ vs China

“We are now in a modern age, these are dangers to our democracy, especially deepfakes,” he added.

Garcia noted cases of government officials worldwide who are being victimized by AI-generated deepfakes, including President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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“Therefore, this is really a grave threat to our existence,” he added.

TAGS: Comelec, Social Media

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