Facebook, turbulence, and Duterte trolls

Buddy Gomez -- Cyberbuddy

Posted at Sep 11 2020 10:14 PM

Taking down the internet obscenities, deceptions and falsehoods of Malacañang and Marcos trolls has been a continuing struggle for all aggrieved victims of orchestrated disinformation. Oftentimes, their vigorous responses to rectify falsehoods and avenge unkindnesses, they are instead mistakenly the ones suspended and taken to task by Internet administrators. 

On the other hand, internal turbulence within Facebook Inc. is presently unraveling. This happenstance could finally usher in respite from our cyberwarfare and hopefully reinfuse civility back into our online lives. 

Let us take a quick look at what has transpired as occasioned by the deleterious advent of Duterte’s calculated entry into national prominence and dominance. Now we know and indeed can confirm that such political ascendancy was effectively maneuvered through social manipulation via cyberspace. The Duterte presidency is a creation of the misunderstood status quo as well as the disenchantment popularly churned by it. The messaging that portrayed Duterte as the savior and the catalyst for change was an absolute success. In other words, the Duterte presidency is a product of mental conditioning. Of course, political campaigns are always a battle of persuasions but Duterte’s was newfangledly Faustian! (Please read that to mean a deal with the devil as never before attempted!)

The unfortunate truth is that Social Media, being universally available to ‘everyman,’ has unleashed an uncontrollable torrent of cascading information, both beneficial as well as evil. Facebook is today a prominent embodiment of this system of communication. 
Undeniably effective, Facebook is now at life’s center stage seeking to dominate behavior, attitudes, outlook, action and interaction of folks from all walks. As such, it can be a veritable hazard of daily life!

Precipitate action and reaction upon a Facebook-sourced bit of information, without fact-checking, verification or validation can cause embarrassment, in the least; or physical and emotional harm, at most.

As a national experience, Facebook is the handiest of online social media and social networking services. It has become the most potent tool employed as the principal purveyor of disinformation by the Duterte administration’s mercenaries of untruth against the country’s concerned and righteous opposition, against an unsuspecting public. This deception’s enthrallment of the mass base has indeed buoyed up Duterte’s survey ratings, until recently. Duterte’s deceptive populism has finally met its comeuppance and has began to tatter and fray. 

Sad but commonly accepted, the employment of this malevolent machination is powered by the use of people’s tax money, by way of Congressional budgets under ‘confidential’ and ‘intelligence’ allocations. We also know that such nefarious attempts are further enhanced by the Marcoses, with public money long ago siphoned and secreted from the national economy. Much of that purloined wealth is now being re-cycled aiming at a return to political power as well as for a vainglorious revising of history, whitewashing a sordid past.

All these are still happening because of the obvious laxity in the administrative inability of Facebook to ferret out malice and deceit from its internet space. The Facebook organization knows and allows unwholesome content designed by mercenary trolls and its allied multiplier (ro)bots. Freedom of expression, regardless of ethics and morals, has been the convenient catchall shibboleth. 
Aside from being cautious and vigilant, many of us singly and collectively, do expose ongoing deception and chicanery. That is, whenever we are able to do so. It has been with great difficulty that we hold the line but we ought never loosen up. Truth needs help if it must prevail. We must never tire and must continue the crusade for truth in fighting this malevolence gnawing at the very sinews holding our democracy intact.

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has thus far been adamant, in fact, even recalcitrant, in policing the internet of the malicious and the fallacious, there is light at the end of the tunnel. That is most probably due to the fact that Facebook/Zuckerberg have become victims of their laxity, creating turbulence within Facebook, Inc.

In meeting after meeting, the employees have aired grievances over Facebook’s inability to take down the blatant lies and disinformation coming from the Trump campaign. The employees were standing up against messages of deceit and hate carried on their platform.

Just the other day, a software engineer resigned declaring that their workplace has become a “haven for hate.” The departing employee said he was quitting because he could “no longer stomach an organization that is profiting from hate in the U.S. and globally.”

In earlier meetings, employees openly criticized Zuckerberg. “At what point do we take responsibility for enabling hate-filled bile to spread across our services?” “We need to get better at avoiding mistakes and being more proactive.”

In fact, Zuckerberg himself has not been spared from the kind of disinformation and conspiracy theories his policies have been lax about. Now, Zuckerberg is beginning to respond because fake news has taken aim very close to the Zuckerberg home. Misinformation targeted his spouse, Dr. Priscilla Chan, Pediatrician. 

Now get this! Mrs. Zuckerberg was portrayed as partner/co-owner of an exclusive LA restaurant for the “cultural elite,” “the Cannibal Club,” specializing in “serving human flesh to supposed connoisseurs.” The place patronized by celebrities the likes of Meryl Streep, Katy Perry and Chelsea Clinton. Of course, that was fake news. Both website and restaurant are non-existent. So much for “freedom of expression!” 

Does such modus operandi not appear familiar? Smack akin to Duterte troll tricks, right? 

And the lesson learned from Facebook employees’ vigilance and respect for truth and rectitude? 

There can be no substitute for righteous indignation in promoting and protecting truth consistently and sincerely. Fight back. We shall overcome!
            
-----------

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.

In 1986, the then Pres. Cory Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.

During the Ramos administration, he was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network.

After government service, he became an ‘OFW’ in the U.S., working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel. He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist.

He is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.