IPPO reminds netizens: spreading fake news is a crime

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Think before you click.

Lest the netizens forget, posting fake news or misleading information on any social media platform is a crime.

The situation gets worse if the misinformation and disinformation pertain to the occurrence of a crime or details of the same, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) said.

The IPPO pointed this out in response to several Facebook posts by netizens claiming that abduction incidents occurred in their respective locality, or that their relatives have been victims of abductions.

Colonel Adrian Acollador, Iloilo police chief, explained that posting and sharing of fake news may endanger public order.

It can also cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.

He cited Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code which prohibits and penalizes the unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances.

Under the said law, fake news is considered a “public disorder” which penalizes “Any person who by means of printing, lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State…”

However, Article 154 does not cover all news which may be shown to be untrue since it also encompasses false news which may endanger public order.

Fines ranging from P40,000 to P200,000 may be imposed on anyone who will be proven guilty of the crime.

Acollador also cited Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which imposes stiffer on the offender who committed the crime through the use of information and communications technology.

“I have directed the chiefs of police to include in their monitoring the fake news or disinformation being posted on any social media platforms, and to take legal actions against the persons behind the publication,” he said.

Acollador noted that all police units in the province have designated social media handlers manning the units’ social media accounts and to monitor any information online pertaining to the occurrence of a crime incident.

To date, the Iloilo top cop caused the investigation of two incidents wherein Facebook users posted the alleged abduction incidents in the towns of Oton and Estancia, but were later found out to be false information.