Comelec to regulate social media campaigns for 2019 elections
For the campaign period of the 2019 national and local elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recently released new guidelines regarding social media posts and online ads. During the 2016 elections, the Comelec only regulated the size of online campaign materials.
Under the Comelec Resolution 10488, paid social media posts campaigning candidates will now be regulated. Section 6 of the resolution lists “social media posts, whether original or re-posted from some source, which may either be incidental to the poster’s advocacies of social issues or which may have, for its primary purpose, the endorsement of a candidate only,” as part of lawful election propaganda. Others in the list include the usual pamphlets, leaflets, paid broadcasts, posters, streamers, and the like.
The Comelec also requires all registered party lists and candidates to register their official website address, website name, official blog, and social media with the Education and Information Department of the agency. Any other page that endorses a candidate for its primary purpose, whether or not maintained directly by the candidate or their official representatives, will also be considered as additional social media pages of said candidate. All lawful election propaganda, including online election propaganda, will be covered under the limitations of campaign spending. They are also required to disclose whether they are paid for or provided free of charge.
The Comelec will also monitor individuals, such as paid influencers, supporters, and even online trolls, who create online content including but not limited to blogs, micro-blogs, and pages. They are required to submit reports of payments they have received for their posts, whether it is for or against a candidate.
Here are some of the prohibited forms of election propaganda during the campaign period relating to social media under Section 7 of the Resolution:
- Broadcasting, Publishing, printing, posting, displaying any form of election propaganda for or against candidates that do not bear the words “political advertisement paid for by” followed by the true name and address of the candidate or party
- Likewise, it is prohibited to broadcast, publish, print, display, or post any form of election propaganda for or against candidates that do not bear the words “printed free of charge“, “provided free of charge by”, followed by the true name and address of the media entity
- For any broadcasting station, mass media entity, and the like to sell or give free charge of printing or advertising in excess of size, duration, or frequency
- Printing, displaying or posting any form of election propaganda that violates gender sensitivity, violates the Magna Carte for Women, obscene or offensive
- Exhibiting or displaying publicly through video sharing websites, television, theater, movie, concert, or anything that portrays the biography of a candidate played by an actor or media personality who is also a candidate
View the full Comelec Resolution 10488 here.