Fighting fake news, trolls on social media might be harder in coming years — journos

·2 min read

JOURNALISM’S battle against fake news and trolls might be harder in the next few years, say some veteran journalists.

In a virtual discussion on Facebook Live organized by the news outlet The Freeman titled “What’s in store for Philippine media?” on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, some established journalists expressed their worries about the ongoing modernization of news on social media platforms.

Meta-partisan news

Ed Lingao, an anchor of TV5 and One News, expressed his concerns over people patronizing and believing meta-partisan news over mainstream media.

The Philippine Media Monitoring Laboratory defines meta-partisan news as false content circulating on social media that has been advertised as “newsworthy” to look like news and to fuel disinformation.

Lingao cited a 2022 Reuters digital news report stating that, among Filipinos, trust in social media is 73 percent and online news is 88 percent, while trust in TV is 60 percent and print is 16 percent.

“With social media, we are now bypassed by the people. We have to get the public to see the value in the news and journalism process all over again,” he said.

Media evolution; emergence of fake news

Arnold Bustamante, the reelected president of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ), recounted his start in the radio industry here in Cebu in the late 2000s.

Bustamante, an anchor and reporter of dyHP of the Radio Mindanao Network, said the competition for accurate news and scoops in the media industry was tough back then.

By 2015, social media platforms, such as Facebook, among others, had started to gain popularity, said Bustamante, who is also a correspondent of Superbalita Cebu.

Disseminating information got quicker, but determining facts became difficult with the emergence of fake news, he said.

Bustamante said defeating the spread of fake news has always been his advocacy as CFBJ president.

Propagandist’s longtime problem

Julius Mariveles, executive editor of DNX Digital News Exchange in Bacolod City, said propagandists or “hao siao” (fake) journalists emerged when democracy in the country was restored in 1986.

Mariveles said the problem stems from the journalists’ failure to address the issue decisively, especially now that online platforms are trying to split the media.

“The role supposedly of journalism is to make us see the story about us, the stories about society. But what is happening right now in the online platform is, it is a story about me. It is what’s gaining prominence, no longer the news or what’s happening in the society,” he said.

“We (mainstream media) don’t own editorial prerogative now [in] the age of social media,” he added.

Joeberth Ocao, the event host, closed the forum with a reminder to all media persons and future advocates to be vigilant and to continue promoting good reliable media ethics.

Supported by Cebu2World Development Inc., the virtual discussion was held in line with the 30th Cebu Press Freedom Week celebration, which is being held from Sept. 17 to 24.