Battling disinformation during #Halalan2022

Disinformation campaigns have revved up as the May 2022 national elections nears. There is no single political candidate who can dare say that they and their supporters are not churning out disinformation. The holier-than-thou marketing of some candidates easily gets negated when they and their followers spew out disinformation on social media. Can they dare condemn these followers of theirs for doing this? Highly doubt so.

Different organizations in the Philippines are trying to combat the spread of disinformation. Unfortunately, not a single group or organization has addressed the elephant in the room - technology companies that profit from the spread of disinformation. From Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok to Twitter, they are all spreading disinformation, because it is more profitable than spreading facts and the truth. Why not condemn them from promoting disinformation and misinformation for profit? Are they scared of these companies? I’d understand the PH telcos, they have been in bed with the likes of Facebook for a long time already, even when there are hints of anti-competitive behaviour there, but religious and academic groups not addressing the source of the spread of disinformation is the question.

The Washington Post has a guide to avoiding misinformation, “How to avoid falling for and spreading misinformation about Ukraine”. Whilst this was written particularly to avoid inaccurate news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this guide works for all others, specially #Halalan2022.

The TL;DR is simple - do not believe everything that is shared with you on social media (not even from your family and friends or even verified accounts or some obviously biased media outfits), so do not share/like/retweet them. Be skeptical of these shared content. Remember, text and photo manipulation are very easy to do, and deep fake is not that complex anymore, so any text, photo, video and/or sound clip shared should not be taken as true or fact.

Whilst I believe that print media has a far better batting average in publishing facts and truths than broadcast or online media, select those that you think are fair and unbiased. As Washington Post recommended, start a collection of trusted sources. I’d recommend that you use an RSS reader (try NetNewsWire) to get the news straight from the source, without any influence by tech companies' recommendation engines (which are optimized to spread misinformation and disinformation, and hate).

Protect yourself from being bombarded by disinformation and misinformation, stay away from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok and Twitter. You won’t be inundated with these types of posts, and even better, you won’t share/like/re-tweet it. :)