Should misinformation peddlers be given platforms?


Posted at May 22 2023 02:46 PM | Updated as of May 22 2023 05:16 PM

MANILA — A podcast has drawn flak for featuring a controversial personality who has been accused of spreading divisive and false information.

PumaPodcast's "Catch Me If You Can" featured social media influencer Sass Sasot, a vocal supporter of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his policies, to the dismay of several social media users.

The incident sparked conversations and questions: Should misinformation peddlers be given platforms for the sake of freedom of expression?

Speaking to ANC Monday, Dr. Jonathan Ong, one of the podcast's hosts, said the show is about exposing the troll economies.

"For us, Sass Sasot is actually the best resource person for the show," he told "Rundown".

"In the sense na she is one of the top trolls. Isa siya sa mga pinakasikat.

"We have a lot to understand when it comes to her psychology, her strategies and ginagaya na siya ng ibang mga pseudo experts and knowledge influencers on YouTube today," added Ong, a disinformation researcher at Harvard University.

While Ong understands the intense emotional reaction of Sasot's guesting on the podcast, he reiterated that "Catch Me If You Can" is about trolls or people involved in troll operations.

"How the business of troll operations really works? Magkano ang bayad sa kanila? How they organize, collaborate with other influencers? Their reason for supporting such figures?" he said.

In a statement, PumaPodcast said the new season of "Catch Me If You Can" aims to talk to people across the political aisle and discuss controversial social issues.

"We reassure you that we remain committed to truth and democracy in all the work we produce, even if it means having conversations that are uncomfortable and difficult," the production company has said.

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