Posting on social media may seem harmless but not until Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The said Republic Act provided the penalty for Cyber Libel.
Cybel libel is libel committed through a computer system and this includes posts on facebook.
Ano nga ba muna ang libel?
Under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead. Thus, the elements of libel are: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b) publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.
In short, cyber libel is paninirang puri done on line at mas mabigat ang penalty as compared to ordinary libel.
So what is the penalty?
Kapag ginawa mo ito, you shall be punished with prision correccional (6 months and 1 day to 6 years) in its maximum period to prision mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) in its minimum period or a fine ranging from Six Thousand Pesos (P6,000.00) up to the maximum amount determined by Court, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party.
A lot of teenagers are not informed kung gaano kabigat ang consequences ng irresponsible social media use and many schools recognize this concern. Kaya naman I was thankful when I got the chance to be invited as a resource speaker to talk about Cybebullying and Netiquette before the 800plus Senior High School and College students of PASS College in Alaminos, Pangasinan during their orientation.
In preparation for the talk, I found a graph that shows that we Filipinos spend an average of 4:17 hours every single day on social media. You read me right – 4 HOURS AND 17 MINUTES. That is a lot of time wasted if we use social media irresponsibly! Very alarming. (Please refer to the graph below)
This explains the reason why most of the cyber libel cases that I handled were committed on facebook, the most popular social media platform of our time. Nowadays, Facebook has been the easiest avenue for venting. Airing our frustrations in life through facebook may seem so innocent but can, most of the time, be messy.
To avoid being a victim of cyberbullying or to make sure that you don’t cyberbully or commit cyberlibel as defined under Republic Act 10175 also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, you can follow this one simple tip that I borrowed and shared during the talk:
THINK stands for:
- T – is it TRUE?
Make sure that all your posts are TRUE. And let me just warn you that even if they are, not everything that is true deserves posting on social media. In a Supreme Court decision, the latter said:
It is true that…
Oo nga, totoong kabit siya! Pero huwag mo idaan sa social media, gather evidence para makasuhan mo siya kung ang kinakabit niya ay ang asawa mo. 🙂 Pero kung pinost mo ito sa facebook nang hindi nagdadalawang isip, baka magkabaliktad pa ang mundo at makasuhan ka din. Kaya huwag magpost ng kung anong hugot ate at kuya, huwag.
2. H – is it Helpful?
Will your post help? We cannot deny that social media aides in fast dissemination of information. We learn about the death of relatives, the fact na walang pasok dahil bumabagyo, na walang maka-daan sa Kennon Road dahil landslide, na may 3-day sale sa SM, at iba pang information na talaga namang nakakatulong para mapadali ang ating buhay. Through facebook, we are also reminded of the birthdays of loved ones and are even encouraged to greet them.
In those examples, posts are of big help. Through social media, helping can just be a click away, we don’t have to be physically present to help inform someone. Imagine kung iisa-isahin mo ang mga kamag-anak mo para sabihin na may bago kang bentang sabon na makakapagpabago ng buhay nila, stressful diba?
Social media, more particularly facebook, also help bloggers reach their potential readers and it is us netizens that decide whether to share them. We can opt to share articles that sow good vibes or spread negative ones.
Kaya remember, post to help.
3. I – is it inspiring?
A lot of us get encouragement when we read inspiring posts online and I thank those people who take the time to craft inspirational quotes for sharing. There is no problem with posting personal statuses (one thing that I am most guilty of) for as long as it has a goal, and if it is not to inspire, it will be no different than a spam clogging someone else’s facebook feed.
4. N – Necessary?
“Kailangan mo bang i-post yan?” For the past days, my facebook timeline has not been busy because of this. I just realized that I have been unnecessarily posting before to the point that every person I meet in the workplace know every single detail of what is happening in our family. There were many many times that I crafted facebook statuses and end up deleting them without posting it after realizing that my facebook friends need not know about it.
5. K – is it kind?
We see a lot of posts bashing someone else’s grammar, accomplishments, pictures etc. One latest example is this celebrity who was told for her grammatical error when she posted:
“the more you ignore me the closer i get, your wasting your time!”
A netizen then reacted and posted:
The netizen may be knowledgeable about grammar, and she was right with the grammatical error that she spotted. But a lot thought that the netizen could have just chosen to be a little kinder by sending her a personal message if her intentions were pure. Ang ending, na bash din ang netizen.
Social media is an effective platform in making life easier for us these days. We can get a job, open opportunities, and get our message across easily because of this technology. But if abused, we open ourselves to falling victim, worse victimizing our fellow netizens. Let us protect ourselves and our loved ones, let us T-H-I-N-K before we post.
One biblical rule that I challenge myself to follow before posting:
God bless, everyone! 🙂