[Mirror] Gacutan, Marifren

SY 2011-2012, First Semester

Are “Facebook” and “Twitter” bad words?

With the advent and popularity of social networking sites like Facebook (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook) and Twitter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter) in this electronic age, we cannot deny the fact that people are more fastened to their computers rather than to (their) traditional televisions. I say “traditional” because we have here now the fad where television is in the hands of these social networking sites. And this is the culprit why television networks made a big switch to using such as a marketing tool to boost their authority. It is now the norm for television networks to having social media (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media) network accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to connect with their viewers.

The real question now is this: Is it appropriate for these television networks to mentioning “Facebook” or “Twitter” on-air? Selective advertising (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/selective-advertising.html), eh?

The “French Rule”

According to this website (http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2011/06/03/the-words-facebook-and-twitter-have-been-banned-from-french-tv/):

French broadcasting regulators have issued the following ruling: TV and radio show hosts must refrain from uttering ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ unless it’s in direct relation to a specific news story on the subject.

So, for example, a French TV presenter is barred from saying something like: “Follow us on Twitter for more updates on this story”. No reference must ever be made to connecting to Facebook or Twitter to discover further information on a news story.

Well I see nothing wrong in this rule. It may seem odd but it’s fairly sensible. It just connotes: “Facebook” and “twitter” are fairly utterable in any TV program in France but you cannot advertise for them. That is what the rule is saying, at least in my thinking.

So maybe the issue lies if one is mentioning Facebook or Twitter connoting as an advertisement or merely as a brand. If one is using the words quite becoming, in the long run, as an advertisement, that such would be “clandestine.” (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/clandestine) But if one is uttering the words or just merely incorporating the words on the news as brands, then there’s nothing offensive at it. A brand is a brand, although it may seem that there’s an animosity that one may think involved being that Facebook and Twitter are trade names of American origins.

On Selective Advertising and Brand Recognition (http://www.docstoc.com/docs/14867651/INTELLECTUAL-PROPERTY-RIGHTS-PROTECTION-IN-THE-PHILIPPINES)

Social networking sites are indeed nothing short of an explosion of inter-connectivity amongst the people of the world. And there are various social networking sites out there. But because these television networks are repetitiously mentioning the two (2) specific social networking sites, is it NOT indeed selective? Many have made big jumps onto these networking sites because TV networks have made them household names. And it sparks an unfair competition to those other social networking sites who are just standing in the default. Is it not?!

So “Follow us on Facebook or Twitter?”

Well, I may say, “Follow the French Rule!”

My Reception to (a Possible) WikiLeaks’ Localized Version

WikiLeaks is “a Web site (http://www.wikileaks.org/) that according to its submission page, accepts classified, censored and restricted material that has ethical, diplomatic and political significance. WikiLeaks garnered major, international attention in the summer of 2010 when it published thousands of U.S. military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan. It enabled the public to learn realities of the war as well as divulged U.S. strategy.” [1]

Since the website’s launch, it has been the culprit of many controversies and criticisms worldwide due to its uncensorable and untraceable contents:

“Documents and videos … that include sensitive military information, political cover-ups, tax evasion, suppression of free speech and spying.”


And “Julian Assange (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange), who keeps an extremely low profile, has been hailed as both hero and villain.” [2]

Indeed, there have been many praises and condemnations from around the world that have been hurled to the website. Our President Benigno Aquino (http://tl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benigno_Aquino_III), for instance, was quoted:

“Philippines: President Benigno Aquino III condemned WikiLeaks and leaked documents related to the country, saying that it can lead to massive cases of miscommunication.” [3]

And speaking of the Philippines, the issue:

“Can we, as ordinary citizens, create our own version of WikiLeaks and expose (to the public our) government anomalies?”

would now come into the light.

Confronted with such an issue, I posit that yes, we can create a local version of WikiLeaks. But then again, I must say “Thanks, but no thanks” because I will NOT (even if I am capable to).

I will not, and I am not in, favor to such a (creation of a) website because I am strictly against its would-be violations in the legal and humanitarian spheres. To point it out, in not favoring the (currently existing) WikiLeaks (http://www.wikileaks.org/), much less do I favor the possible creation of its local version.

The Adverse Effects

WikiLeaks (Local Version) would be as the same with the ‘current’ WikiLeaks because it would be:

1) Tantamount to an Espionage

According to our Criminal Laws, Espionage is defined as “the offense of gathering, transmitting, or losing information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the Republic of the Philippines or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” (See the opening sentence of Sec.1 and other Sections of Commonwealth Act No.616).

Further, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) defines Espionage as “involving an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information.” [4]

Hence, if one purposely obtained and possessed a classified information without any authority and hence aims to expose such information or official secrets or any anomalies pertaining to the government, in a WikiLeaks’ way – uncensored and unaltered and in “perceived absence of editorial control, without checking of the facts, without putting them in context, and without analysing them,”[5] would be as good as spying.

2) A Violation against Rights to Privacy, particularly the Privacy of Communication and Correspondence

In my course of sourcing out some information for this Paper, I came to read Ivan Hoffman’s (http://www.ivanhoffman.com/) commentary on “RIGHTS OF PRIVACY: An Overview” which I suppose would support our above contention. And quoting Hoffman’s extensive overviews:

In The Offline World

Rights of privacy claims fall generally into these categories.

  1. The disclosure via some publication of private facts even if true. This refers to information that goes beyond what is necessary to tell the facts. In privacy claims, the “publication” required to show a cause of action is generally deemed to be more widespread than that required for defamation claims since the gist of the claim is akin to a public embarrassment. Thus, the facts so disclosed must be sufficiently private and unrelated to the matters otherwise disclosed that the disclosure becomes offensive to the ordinary person.
  2. The publishing of truthful information that, within the context of the publication, casts the claimant in a “false light.” This means that, when the material is read or seen, the right of privacy claimant appears to have attributes or qualities that are detrimental and *within the context of the published event,* not true even though there may be technical truth when the matter is looked at outside the distorted context. This may also occur as a result of editing and not just in the writing.
  3. Trespassing on the private property of another or invading a private space in which the claimant has a reasonable expectation of privacy. In these instances, even if the photograph for example would be validly taken were the subject not inside a private place, it may become actionable if the photographer had to trespass on private land (the subject’s or a third party’s) to obtain the photograph.

On The Internet

In addition to the laws and rules that apply in the offline world discussed above, the Internet presents us with potential invasions of our rights of privacy that do not find one-to-one equivalents in the offline world. Because of the technological ease of obtaining and thus collating and ultimately sharing information, whether through overt gathering practices or through the use of cookies and other means, there is some reason to be concerned about how our “tracks” are being used.


Irrespective of whether or not a site has a stated privacy policy, the use of information obtained from site visitors for purposes not directly related to the purpose for which the information was provided can be deemed to be an unfair trade practice. Among the most widely used “practice” is the sharing of information with third parties, almost always for marketing to the visitor, where such use was not expressly indicated.

Technologically, this “sharing” takes on new meaning when information gathered online (from those who clicked on banner and other ads and otherwise) can be combined with information obtained offline, since offline database collection has been going on for much, much longer.”[6]

In our jurisdiction, the violations would be on the following pertinent provisions:

a) Article III, Section 3 (1987 Philippine Constitution);

b) R.A. No. 4200; and

c. Articles 290, 291, 292 and 299 (Revised Penal Code).

3) A Violation of Secrecy of Diplomatic Relations

WikiLeaks would be a violation against the secret/s of diplomatic relations because it

“puts people protected by diplomatic secrets in danger” [7]

The purposes [8] of Diplomatic Relations such as:

a) to be able to influence the policies of the other state to her own interest;

b) in order to engineer friendship and enhance mutual understanding; and

c) in order to reduce tention and settle disputes through peaceful means instead of resorting to war

would thus be nugatory.

In sum, WikiLeaks localized version would rather do more harm than good (considering its enormous cons, particularly the ones discussed above).

Leaking supposed confidential information that pertain to our government – edited or unedited – would be prejudicial to our national security and interest. It does not even amount to freedom of speech nor an offshoot of democracy.

In freedom of speech, there’s what we call “responsible journalism” and in the light of democracy, we do not mean:

“disrespecting the rule of law and dishonoring the rights of individuals.” [9]


[1] “WikiLeaks, TechEncyclopedia.” [http://www.answers.com/topic/wikileaks]. Retrieved September 1, 2011.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Esplanada, Jerry E. (15 December 2010). “Foreign Office slams WikiLeaks”. Philippine Daili Inquirer. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20101215-309121/Foreign-Office-slams-WikiLeaks. Retrieved 16 December 2010.)

[4] “Wikipedia, Espionage.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage]. Retrieved September 1, 2011.

[5] “Wikipedia, Reception of WikiLeaks (Criticisms).” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reception_of_WikiLeaks]. Retrieved September 1, 2011.

[6] Hoffman, Ivan. “Rights of Privacy: An Overview.” [http://www.ivanhoffman.com/privacyrights.html]. Retrieved September 2, 2011.

[7] “WikiLeaks Flees to Switzerland as U.S., France Options Narrow”. Bloomberg Businessweek. UK. 3 December 2010. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-12-03/wikileaks-flees-to-switzerland-as-u-s-france-options-narrow.html. Retrieved 4 December 2010.

[8] “WikiAnswers, Answers.com.” [http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Purposes_of_diplomatic_relations]. Retrieved September 2, 2011.

[9] Aftergood, Steven (28 June 2010). “Wikileaks Fails “Due Diligence” Review”. Secrecy News. Federation of American Scientists. http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2010/06/wikileaks_review.html. Retrieved 18 December 2010.

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