Philippine Troll Wars and Bringing Back The Kapamilya Feel On Social Media

A Discussion Trolls and Internet Safety with Amy Perez and Mark Logan on DZMM Sakto

Internet trolling seems to have become a catch phrase these days. Perhaps it has reached such critical proportions of late that it has warranted attention from Philippine prime time programs on TV as well as AM radio.

Whether or not ordinary Filipinos actually feel threatened is another discussion all together.

My social media savvy friends and business associates, however, see that there is a visible effort to keep hammering away at the idea that the Duterte administration is the aggressor and responsible for vicious internet troll attacks. This is something which we find disconcerting especially when certain prominent personalities on social media strongly identified with the previous administration have been seen engaging in angry tirades against Duterte and other personalities identified with his administration.

What we see is a continuing propaganda war being waged in cyberspace by well-armed combatants, where those whose interests were displaced by a reversal in the recent polls are plotting a return to power by any means possible. 

With that said, those who mark themselves on cyber space by their words or actions as leaning for one side or another must be willing to pay the price and face the consequences. Luckily, this is a war where the volleys of shots traded are pixels and not bullets -- so far.

The danger in framing a discussion on internet trolling in Philippine cyberspace as a story of a brutish aggressor attacking innocents, truth sayers, or supposedly objective bystanders will seem self serving.

Especially in the case of one internationally self-acclaimed journalist slash social media influencer whose primary angel funder is a member of the former president's clan, the resulting multi-part series of articles exposing "weaponized trolling" doesn't seem to have been given enough thought and circumspection.

Perhaps someone's mood meter redlined or got stuck on the upswing of a seriously imbalanced cycle.

If the journalist had accounted for bias and been transparent about the strings that tie them to one side of this war, the article should have had a lengthy sidebar about their part in the evolution of a Philippine broadcast media juggernaut and perhaps an infographic slash schematic diagram revealing how they fit in a vast media empire.

A few names should crop up as the backers of movements on the internet that came into prominence at the height of the ouster movement against former president Joseph Estrada as well as during former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's term. (Perhaps, if the review went further back, it may as well include the texting brigades and texting campaigns that came into prominence during the late 1990s. Some my friends say became the model for the purported professional troll operations we have today.)

Be certain that just as Wall Street had Morgan, Rockefeller, Harriman, Carnegie, and Rothschild  as well as a Hearst that branded Spain as America's enemy to stem the tide populism that rose against their stranglehold on the economy, we have their equivalent in families rooted in the feudal agricultural societies of Luzon and Panay.

The symmetry becomes even more compelling when you replace Spain with China and Cuba with the Philippines.

All told, we are just beginning to see the seams and inner workings of a 30 year regime whose rise promised the end of poverty but yielded an economy shored loosely by the remittances of millions of Filipinos working overseas.

Going back to vicious internet troll attacks, what we are witnessing online is really the effects of an intense online marketing/propaganda war and as with real wars, there are casualties.  

This morning, I was invited for an interview on DZMM's radio program Sakto with Marc Logan and Amy Perez to talk about internet trolling and the ways by which one can insulate themselves from it.

Given the short time that I was on air with Marc and Amy, one thing I tried to stress is the idea that almost everything you see on social media these days is marketing and political propaganda.

Our discussion focused mainly on the rise of social media trolling and possible ways people can counter being trolled. You can listen to our discussion in the video below:



In the very short time that I was able to interact with Amy and Marc, I could sense some weariness with the intense social media chatter of late and the way the noise sometimes invades online conversations with family as well as friends on social media.




This is understandable, especially for people who use social media mainly to nourish and maintain connections IN REAL TIME with their loved ones (or in ABS-CBN speak, their kapamilya) who may be in another part of a traffic infested city, another province, or another country. 

Off the air, I got an inkling of just how difficult it is for celebrities to use social media and while maintaining their privacy. Celebrities also have moments when they feel that they just have to vent out whatever they are feeling, but doing it on social media (even with the strictest of privacy settings) can lead to terrible consequences. 

Because unlike being overheard and being misquoted or being caught in situations which would lead people to jump to conclusions, venting on social media will get screen captured and may become fodder for their detractors or parties on either side of whatever online war that is raging at the moment.

This further underscores the fact that nothing is truly private on the internet.

As in previous instances when the noise online had become too shrill, the advise that we must go back to is that which points to checking one's friends list, newsfeed filters, and privacy settings.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have already developed the controls which, although not foolproof, can at least minimize incidents of social media grief. So, it's best to get acquainted with the rules and guidelines of these social media platforms.

Philippine Troll Wars and Bringing Back The Kapamilya Feel On Social Media Philippine Troll Wars and Bringing Back The Kapamilya Feel On Social Media Reviewed by Paul Farol on 10:36 AM Rating: 5

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