By ALYSSA MAE CLARIN
MANILA – Cagayan de Oro-based journalist Leonardo Vicente “Cong” Corrales filed a complaint with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) in an effort to compel giant tech company Meta to disclose the information of the people who red-tagged him on the social media platform, Facebook.
Accompanied by the Movement Against Disinformation in the Philippines (MAD) and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ (NUJP), Corrales hopes that the filing of the complaint “will become the first step in holding his anonymous red-taggers accountable in legal courts.”
“The filing of this complaint in the NPC, I hope, will pave the way for others– not just journalists but also the Filipino citizens, who have been maligned and slandered in social media platforms here in the Philippines,” said Corrales. “I hope this will offer a clearer way to combat red-tagging and libelous posts, specifically on Facebook.”
The complaint is filed against Meta for its alleged failure to observe Corrales’s right to access information when the company had denied his request for information on Facebook accounts that red-tagged him.
According to Section 16 of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, a data subject had the right to “reasonable access, upon demand, of the names and addresses of the recipient of [his] personal information.
Meta, in its previous reply to Corrales, said that it needed “legal processes” to comply with his request for information.
JUST IN. Cagayan de Oro based journalist Cong Corrales @congcorrales files a complaint with the National Privacy Commission to compel Meta to disclose info about Cong’s red-taggers. pic.twitter.com/n46pX22ubN
— Bulatlat (@bulatlat) May 5, 2023
Corrales is asking P10 million (US$180,490) nominal damages, exemplary damages amounting to P5 million ($90,245), as well as moral damages of P5 million ($90,245).
Antonio La Viña, who stands as one of the lawyers, said that the complaint is a precedent in the whole world.
“It is not just the journalist that can benefit from this, but also others who have been red-tagged in social media by anonymous media accounts. What this case will do is to surface that, to actually know who is doing this evil thing so we can take action,” La Viña said.
NUJP Chairperson Jonathan de Santos lauded Corrales and MAD, saying that it is high time that anonymous accounts should be held accountable for their unfounded allegations.
“It is very easy to accuse someone anonymously because people feel like they will never be caught,” said De Santos. “Hopefully with this, we can find a way to hold them responsible.”
NUJP had been documenting multiple incidents of red-tagging on Corrales, as well as other colleagues in Cagayan de Oro. The organization firmly believes that the anonymous attacks against Corrales and others are all part of a strategy to discredit journalists, and push them as well as other human rights defenders into silence.
“Today’s filing is more than a legal exercise, it is a manifestation and a statement to show that we are strongest when we — journalists, the law profession, the academe and civil society — are together and we can best help each other hold the line when we do it hand in hand,” said NUJP in its statement. (RVO)