Senators press alarm button on false news, memes in social media

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Senators Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino IV and Leila de Lima have called on different stakeholders, led by the Department of Education (DepEd), to join forces in combating rampant trolling and spread of misinformation on social media.

Sen. Leila de Lima
Sen. Leila de Lima

“We need to address the volume and frequency issues with the same volume and frequency,” Aquino pointed out during the Committee on Education hearing on the responsible use of social media in schools.

“Maybe we can work on something that can match that level of speed, exponential growth and energy that we see online,” added Aquino, chairman of the said committee.

De Lima, on the other hand, said there has been a proliferation of fake accounts and manufactured news in the social media ?where hackers, fanatics and spammers have abused the freedom of the Internet to foment lies and hatred at the detriment of rational discourse.?

She said many well-respected individuals such as former presidents Fidel V. Ramos and actress Agot Isidro have been the object of malicious misinformation campaign.

?A few days ago, I learned about the news that I bought a $6-million mansion in New York, USA. A cursory check at the address of the alleged property, it turned out, it was a popular landmark in New York, the Barlow-Pell Mansion Museum. This latest fake news is just one of the many manufactured news and fabricated lies being maliciously peddled around to malign and discredit me. Sadly, truth has become the first casualty,? she noted.

Aquino has filed Senate Resolution No. 173 to determine how schools are educating and developing students regarding the responsible social media use.

He said DepEd can lead the way by conducting a “media literacy week” or “responsible social media use week” to jumpstart the move.

“This is something we can explore further and I’m confident that everyone will be willing to volunteer,” said Aquino.

The DepEd, for its part, has established mechanisms that would guide “digital learners'” to make them responsible social media users.

“Right now, the concern is there. Na-recognize na may problema at na-recognize rin na ang solusyon dito hindi lang magagawa ng isang grupo o ahensiya. Kailangan magtulong-tulong ang iba’t ibang sektor para masolusyonan ito,” said Aquino.

Ultimately, he said the move “aims to create a society that is more humane and compassionate towards each other and a Philippines that is more tolerant of different ideas and beliefs”.

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