Sen Trillanes Wants Senate Investigation vs Fake News Websites, Social Media Trolls

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is now targeting to remove fake news websites and Internet trolls, particularly on social media. In his Senate Resolution No. 259, the soldier-turned-politician wants a Senate committee on public information and mass media and other related committees to conduct an investigation against misleading information online.

“Instead of being a tool for empowerment, the social media has become a platform for political propaganda, deceit and manipulation, which has been continually abused and misused for the sake of personal or political agenda, at the expense of rational discourse and discussion with the proliferation of the so called social media trolls,” Trillanes said.

In his resolution, Sen. Trillanes described social media troll as someone who “deliberately creates and/or foments discord and conflict on social media sites.” According to him, this social media trolling is now a good way of making money online, as a single Internet troll can earn up to $2,000 a month by posting controversial messages using fake accounts.

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“Because of social media trolls, the social media is now being used to create fabricated realities through a network of fake social media accounts intended for trolling and spreading of erroneous and misleading news and information.” He added, noting that spreading of fake news is threatening the viability and credibility of online journalism.

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Apparently, this problem is not new in the Philippines but became rampant during the 2016 election campaign period. There were some netizens who claimed being paid by a political party to to promote a particular presidentiable, and to destroy the reputation of his political rivals even after the election. One of them said he was receiving P10,000 a month.

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Trillanes, who is known for being a huge critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and an ally of the Liberal Party (LP), emphasized that the owners of these fake social accounts and fake news websites should be held responsible for taking the focus away from the rational and meaningful discussion, and for provoking emotional responses from Filipino netizens.

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