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Law firm and CDO Journal’s dispute with Meta over data access

An attorney group and a local journalist have filed a lawsuit against Meta, the parent corporation of the social networking site Facebook, for allegedly failing to uphold data subject rights.

The Movement Against Disinformation (MAD) is aiding Cong Corrales, editor-in-chief of the nearby newspaper Mindanao Gold Star Daily, in his complaint against Meta before the National Privacy Commission (NPC) in Manila, according to attorney Ernesto Neri, who is a member of the MAD.

The NPC is a quasi-judicial authority regulating the nation’s privacy laws.

He claimed that Meta had infringed his rights by withholding from the complaint (Corrales) “user data” and other information that may have allowed him to locate the writers of the defamatory and unlawful posts.

According to Republic Act 10173, the Data Privacy Act of 2012, a data subject has the right to “reasonable access, upon demand, of the names and addresses of the recipients of personal information.”

Right of entry

Neri claimed that when Corrales addressed a letter to Meta asking for details on the anonymous users behind those who disparaged him, the social media platform responded that they needed a “court order” first.

For instance, Meta had removed the harmful messages but claimed that “legal processes” were necessary to comply with the information request.

Neri drew attention to the fact that NPC had previously determined in a similar matter that the right of access might be exercised without a court order, particularly when the data was required to support one’s legal claims.

To bring a case against them, according to Neri, it is essential to obtain information from Meta that would identify the person accused of publishing damaging posts about Corrales.

Lead MAD convenor and Corrales’ attorney Antonio La Vina claimed that since 2019, Corrales has been “red-tagged” or accused via fictitious Facebook posts of being a part of a communist rebel network.

Accountability

According to him, many of his other clients had also received red flags. Still, they were powerless to act since they could not identify the culprits, who hid behind fictitious Facebook names and accounts.

La Vina states, “This case aims to hold social media platforms accountable.”

Lead attorney and co-convener of MAD Rico Domingo stated that this action will help other journalists and “truth-tellers who have been red-tagged.”

“We are confident that we have a strong basis for this case,” he declared.

Corrales claimed that he required the details to locate the owners of the Facebook profiles and hold them accountable.

I hope that taking this legal action will inspire other red-tagging victims and people whose rights have been violated on Facebook to seek legal redress, the user stated. (

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