Warning: False online info can impact May polls


Posted at Jan 09 2019 09:55 AM

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Social media users should be discerning in sharing dubious information online, which may impact the vote in May's midterm elections, 2 members of the academe said Wednesday. 

"When you 'like' something or when you tweet false information simply because you think, 'Oh isa lang naman siya' or when you amplify something, you don't realize the magnitude, implication of that. False information can spread rapidly," Prof. Cheryll Soriano of the De La Salle University told ANC. 

"We do not know to what extent it will have an impact on. Once the information sphere becomes dirty, for example, we can have voters that will be making decisions on the basis of false information," she added. 

Meanwhile, traditional media can be "the voice of truth" and flag inaccurate viral online stories because they have a larger audience share, said Prof. Clarissa David of the University of the Philippines. 

"'Pag nasunog iyung audience, meaning they believe a story from [a social media] influencer, and later on they find out that it's not true, then you're seeding doubt and eventually that will affect the reputation," she said in the same ANC interview. 

Soriano also urged the public to come up with "concrete recommendations" to hold social media platforms responsible for the spread of false information. 

For instance, there are recommendations in the UK for Facebook to face fines for violations and work with qualified researchers on data operation, she noted. 

Both Soriano and David are convenors of the advocacy group Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation, which mounts seminars around the country to combat propaganda. 

ANC, 9 January 2019