Social Media Manipulation of Voters



Never in the history of Philippine politics has there been such widespread use of various forms of social media for political propaganda, as in these recent years. This fact has been especially highlighted in the political campaigns for the May 2022 elections. I do not belong to the Facebook generation who have grown up making use of social media as their networking tool, but it is something that I have gradually learned to adapt to. However, it is disquieting to witness how this tool has been used by political actors to manipulate voters. According to Oxford Internet Institute, this is happening not only in the Philippines but in more than 70 countries worldwide.


The revisionism of history by the Marcoses, for instance, is reportedly a well-funded social media campaign that has been going on for the last twenty years, making use not only of Facebook but various forms of social media such as Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube. It has also been said that the so-called “army of trolls” who have been either attacking or defending specific political candidates are being paid generous salaries ranging from P 30,000 to P 350,000. The voters continue to be misled by fake news orchestrated by these trolls.


It is no small wonder why the huge attendance at the rallies of Bicolano Presidential candidate Leni Robredo is not reflected at all in the surveys. A large portion of the political strategy seems to be going on through social media, and the majority of people showing up at the Robredo rallies may not be on social media at all. Which brings me to these questions: if empowerment is a vital aspect of a thriving democracy, whose voices are we really empowering on social media? And more importantly, what form of democracy are we creating through this? Is our democracy, as Will Rogers puts it, committing suicide?


Maybe it’s time we make a difference, too on the social media platform.


TRIVIA:


Belated birthday greetings to Tato Mendoza who celebrated his natal day a couple of days ago.


Our deepest condolences to the Reorizo family for the demise of my friend for almost forty years who became a family friend as well, Totoy Reorizo. We are deeply saddened by this news.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“DEMOCRACY CANNOT SUCCEED UNLESS THOSE WHO EXPRESS THEIR CHOICE ARE PREPARED TO CHOOSE WISELY”

- FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


“ I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE” - JOHN 11:25