As the country celebrates World Social Media Day today, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today called on Filipinos to use their social media power for good.
“Ngayon, nagiging commercialized at weaponized na ang social media, tulad na lang ng pananakot sa mga pumupuna, o kahit na yung meron lang ibang paningin sa mga bagay-bagay tulad ni Frankie,” Pangilinan said. (Now, social media has become commercialized and weaponized, just like threats against those who notice or criticize or those who have a different view on various issues, like my daughter Frankie.)
Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, was referring to the various threats his daughter Frankie received online for expressing her viewpoint that rape is caused by rapists and not by sexy clothes.
As the social media capital of the world, the Philippines has become a petri dish for political operatives who use the platform to sow fear and hate, he said, pointing to various studies on data mining of Facebook accounts.
“Nagsimula at naging matagumpay ang social media para pag-ugnayin ang mga tao sa kanilang mga kapamilya at kaibigan, at para palawakin pa ang ating mga circle of friends at kaalaman. Revolutionary at game-changing ang social media dahil diretso sa tao ang komunikasyon. Dahil may palitan ng kuro-kuro at kaalaman at damdamin na nangyayari. At dahil mabilis, o real time, nangyayari ang mga ito,” he said. (Social media started and became successful in putting people with their families and friends. Social media is revolutionary and a game changer because its communication with the people is direct. There is an exchange of ideas and knowledge and sentiments on what is going on. This is happening in real time.)
According to the Pew Research Center, about 70 percent of the Philippine population is on social media, he added.
“How do we reclaim what should be a safe space online? Unfollow social media pages that do not cater to your interests anymore. Unfriend random people you have added on your Facebook over the years. Leave groups that spam your notifications and perpetuate hive mentality. Report fake news and abusive language. Mute toxic words on your Twitter. Block and do not engage with the paid trolls,” Pangilinan said.
“We have power over our social media experience, and it’s high time to make it work for us. We should not just be passive receivers of information, but active participants in reclaiming social media to be what it used to be. Join your interest groups, and share content that reflect your interests and values,” he added.
Pangilinan himself recently premiered a bi-monthly social media show on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/officialkikopangilinan/) and Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/francispangilinan) called “Agri Tayo”, which aims to promote agriculture on social media.
To date, two episodes have already aired: “Oh My Gulay!” which discussed the importance of vegetables as aid and relief in the time of pandemic, and “Meet Your (Urban) Garden” which discussed basic urban gardening steps and tips. The second episode alone garnered at least 40,000 reach during and immediately after airing.