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The scourge of fake news

A Pulse Asia survey shows that close to 90 percent of Filipinos believe fake news is a problem, a sentiment reflected nationwide and across all socioeconomic classes.

A recent survey said majority (58 percent) of Filipinos nationwide see bloggers and vloggers, or social media influencers, as responsible for “spreading false information” about government and politics. They were followed by journalists (40 percent), national politicians (30 percent), leaders of civic or nongovernmental organizations (15 percent), businessmen (11 percent) and academics (4 percent).

The survey indicates that the Philippine press has “trust issues and credibility issues” at a time when the public believed that he mainstream media served only as a mouthpiece for the elite and did not accurately reflect the true pulse of the masses.

While Filipinos somehow recognize the vloggers, bloggers, content creators and influencers “are getting out of hand with their disrespect for the facts, more level-headed approach is needed because fake news may differ among respondents,” said University of the Philippines communications professor Danilo Arao.

“This could explain why responsible journalists get unfairly judged as the truth they report get mistaken for lies, at the same time that the lies of irresponsible colleagues get ascribed to them,” Arao said. This view of media will remain as long as certain news organizations “perpetuate state-sponsored disinformation like denialism and Red-tagging,” he added.

The spread of false information online was among the top global concerns cited by respondents in a recent Pew Research Center survey across 19 countries. As early as 2018, the Philippines had already been referred to by Facebook’s Global Politics and Government Outreach director Katie Harbath as “patient zero” in the global war against disinformation.

One worrying finding is how journalists are losing trust ranking next to content creators and influencers as sources of fake news in the survey. This survey should spur media to police their ranks and reporting, staying away from gossip, rumors and propaganda, and refocusing on relevant matters in order to restore trust and credibility as we fight against the scourge of fake news that is threatening to consume and destroy society.*

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November 2022
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