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How Comelec will monitor Facebook, YouTube, other social media platforms ahead of Eleksyon 2022

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has engaged Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to regulate and monitor the electoral campaigns and spending in the social media ahead of Eleksyon 2022.

In an episode of “The Mangahas Interviews,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll body had engaged the platforms to have access and tools to regulate political advertisements and other activities n the social media. 

Jimenez, however, noted that the poll body will only start monitoring advertisements starting February 8, 2022 onwards as the official start of the campaign period.

The Comelec spokesperson bared that they will have an access to monitor political campaigns through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok among others.

“Yung Instagram ay under Facebook so makukuha natin yan. 'Yung Tiktok ay may policy na no political ads and we do have a partnership with Tiktok so mache-check natin yan. Ang problema sa Tiktok is wala naman tayong political ads na political ads na matatawag pero meron tayong mga private individuals na naglalabas ng mga political ads na ring matatawag. So we are going to have to work on that. Pero meron kaming partnership with Tiktok at kami mismo nasa Tiktok at mino monitor namin yan,” Jimenez said.

(Instagram is under Facebook so we can get that. Tiktok has a policy of no political ads and we do have a partnership with Tiktok so let's check that. The problem with Tiktok is that we don't have political ads that can be called political ads but we have private individuals who issue political ads that can also be called. So we are going to have to work on that. But we have a partnership with Tiktok and we are in Tiktok and we monitor that.)

“Yung Youtube again mino-monitor din natin yan. Meron tayong nga tao sa Comelec na nagbabantay at meron tayong paraan para makuha yung reklamo ng publiko tungkol diyan sa mga ads na ‘yan,” he added.

(We are also monitoring Youtube. We have people in the Comelec who are watching and we have a way to get the public's complaint about those ads.)

Asked if the poll body would regulate the behavior of trolls online, Jimenez said that the Comelec would monitor and look for coordinated behavior.

“Yun naman talaga ang red flag diyan. Kung ay coordinated behavior pwede na natin ituring yan na campaign adjunct o surrogate nung kandidato,” he said.

(That's really the red flag there. If it is coordinated behavior, we can consider it as a campaign adjunct or surrogate of the candidate.)

“Kasama po sa rules natin yan na kahit hindi nyo i-recognize o ibigay ang pangalan ng isang page or individual site in can still be considered depending on its behavior,” he added.

(It is part of our rules that even if you do not recognize or give the name of a page or individual site, it can still be considered depending on its behavior.)

Jimenez also appealed to the Congress to create legislation to implement stricter and appropriate measures in the upcoming campaign season.

Told about the difficulty of having to monitor thousands of pages online, Jimenez said, "That's the reason why humihingi kami from Congress ng batas on social media."

"Because ang problema dito everyone sees the problem, everyone  recognizes the need for a solution and everyone seems to be relying on  Comelec to come up with the solution that the Comelec is not empowered to provide," Jimenez said. "That's the problem, e. It predisposes us to failure. That's what's really annoying."

The campaign period for the aspirants to the national posts is set from February 8 to May 7, 2022.

Meanwhile, the campaign period for candidates in local elective posts is set from March 25 to May 7, 2022.

Next year’s general elections will be held on May 9. -Richa Noriega/NB, GMA News