Rise of the trolls : exploring the constitutional challenges to social media and fake news regulation in the Philippines

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Juris Doctor


College of Law




Best thesis, 2018/5th batch

Thesis Adviser

Antonio Gabriel M. La Vina

Defense Panel Member

Victoria V. Loanzon
Renato M. Pambid
Jack Andrew O. Miranda
Jose Manuel Diokno


The power of social media is undeniable. It has universally become one’s go-to source for information. By the mere click of a button or by opening the application on one’s smartphone, the ability to communicate has never been easier. Recent history has shown us that social media has contributed as an effective medium to reach out to a large group of people using the same platform and communicating an important message to them. It is undeniable that the use of social media has further empowered people to exercise their right to freedom of expression. It is likewise true, however, that this avenue has been abused by many to the extent that the platform is used to propagate lies and falsities in order to shift public opinion in favor of another. This research discusses in great detail how social media impacts Philippine society, the problems posed by the rise of fake news online, the risks of imposing regulatory measures on social media, and lastly, how to address the constitutional challenges brought by potential regulation.

The first chapter provides a background on the fake news and ‘disinformation’ problem in the Philippines. It will be followed by a discussion as to how fake news affects democracy. The paper will then go on a review of related literature involving free speech jurisprudence, principles of international law, and domestic law.

In the fourth chapter, it begins with a discussion on the existing frameworks of social media regulation in three key areas: (1) the Philippines (2) the international community and (3) the social media companies and their voluntary regulatory measures. It proceeds to a doctrinal analysis of various jurisprudence by the Philippine Supreme Court on free speech issues. It later makes a detailed analysis regarding the liability of online intermediaries such as social media companies in light of the fake news problem. It is followed by a section dedicated on a comparative analysis of various countries, with Germany as the leading model, which seeks to give a deeper insight as to how other countries are dealing with the fake news problem. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the several possible approaches to deal with the problem while taking into consideration the constitutional challenges involving the right to freedom of expression.

Concluding this paper is a chapter dedicated in discussing the best solution to address the fake news problem in the Philippines. A draft law is created which introduces both the ‘notice and correct’ and ‘notice and take down’ procedure as constitutional means to deal with the problem and how it is effective in preventing the proliferation of fake news on these platforms.

In this study, not only is the user who publishes the fake news content discussed, but also the social media company itself, and the question as to who should liability attach is definitively addressed at the end of this thesis.

Abstract Format




Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

154 leaves ; 28 cm. + 1 computer disc 4 3/4 in.


Social media -- Philippines; Social media -- Law and legislation -- Philippines

This document is currently not available here.