Businesses are urged to advertise only in media platforms that do not allow disinformation and hate speeches as they expressed alarm at the spike of abuse in press freedom during this election season.
About 20 business organizations have signed a joint statement to decry the proliferation of disinformation and hate speeches being peddled in social media and abused by multiple parties.
“Together with other members of society, the business community has watched with concern how social media, media, and other platforms have been abused by multiple parties in recent years. They have been used to spread disinformation and hate speech, resulting in erroneous beliefs, confusion, and division,” said the joint statement.
Realizing its role to fight this epidemic, 18 business groups said they have a significant role through advertising spending.
While continuing to advocate and defend media freedom, the groups encouraged businesses to “evaluate the platforms they advertise in — including social media, messaging apps, broadcast, and print — in terms of whether and how much disinformation and hate speech they allow.”
The groups urged these platforms to more fully share with the public how they are addressing disinformation and hate speech, which may be a factor on where businesses feature their products and services, to reflect the values of their organizations.
The groups also acknowledged some of the platforms have taken steps to address this issue. They also acknowledged ongoing efforts to create tools that businesses and advertisers can use to assist them in this evaluation in the near future, but commit to taking first steps now.
“We are losing the trust and unity we need to work together to better our lives, livelihoods, and society especially amid the pandemic crisis. We watch with alarm how this abuse has spiked during this election season. We fear the damage may be long-lasting,” the statement added.
The abuse comprises lies, personal attacks, trolling, misogyny, ‘red-tagging,’ and many more, sometimes putting people at risk of physical harm, the business groups said.
“We call on political players to consider what they are doing to the country and to individuals, pledge not to engage in such abuse, and exhort their supporters to remain civil as well. We call on operators of social media and other platforms to consider what they are allowing to happen, and declare to their users and the public the steps they are taking to stop or curtail this,” the business groups added.
Finally, businesses also called on Filipinos to evaluate political players as well as these media and communications platforms on these same terms, and use their votes and clicks to promote truth and civility in the coming elections.
Signing the statement are Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), Cebu Business Council (CBC) 3. Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB), Energy Lawyers Asso of the Phils. (ELAP), Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI), Filipina CEO Circle (FCC), Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), Integrity Initiative Inc., Investment Houses Association of the Philippines (IHAP), Judicial Reform Initiative (JRI), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Makati Business Club (MBC), Mindanao Business Council 14.Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Life Insurance Association (PLIA), Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), and Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA).