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GMA News Online : Comelec boosts social media engagement to fight disinformation

News & Interviews
22 July 2021

By HANA BORDEY | GMA News Online

For the Commission on Elections (Comelec), active social media engagement is the best way to nip disinformation in the bud.

This was shared by Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez in the latest episode of The Howie Severino Podcast.

“Kailangan active engagement, what we call active social media. Hindi ka puwedeng post lang nang post ng announcement mo, 'di ba?” Jimenez shared.

(We need active engagement or what we call active social media. You cannot just post all announcements on your pages.)

“So kunwari may nagreklamo, "Bakit ganyan? Bakit pangit? Bakit hindi ganito?" Sinasagot namin. And when we see disinformation starting to creep up, we try to address it right away. Marami na kaming cases na basically we say that we nip a problem in the bud,” he added.

(For example, there are complaints about certain issues, we answer them right away and when we see disinformation starting to creep up, we try to address it right away. We had a lot of cases where we can say that we nipped the problem in the bud.)

The poll body's spokesperson disclosed that he is training around 10 people who will monitor and address false information related to the duties of Comelec in various social media platforms.

Jimenez cited an instance in 2019 midterm elections where a politician seeking a congressional seat released a video that supposedly shows how the votes could be changed.

“On the same day na nilabas 'yun, tinira kaagad namin 'yung video niya, tinira namin 'yung nilalabas niyang information and we marshaled our resources,” he narrated.

(On the same day, we addressed the information that he released and we marshaled our resources for that.)

“Hindi tumagal 'yun. I mean it got some shares pero hindi na siya umabot sa susunod na araw. So we were able to nip that problem in the bud,” he added.

(The post was immediately removed. So we were able to nip that problem in the bud.)

Jimenez also shared how Comelec pushes its own information campaign to save the public from voters suppression.

He cited a case in Abra where voters are apparently told not to vote for a certain candidate as their votes can be monitored in the automated elections system.

“So they leverage on the people's lack of information about modernized elections to create something that's really scary. So that suppresses the vote. Some people would rather not vote than expose themselves to the possibility of retribution. So delikado 'yan (That is dangerous),” he said.

Jimenez also disclosed that some voters were even advised not to register for the 2022 elections as some individuals spread false news that the upcoming polls will not push through.

“There are more ways to skin the cat, right? So in effect nasu-suppress pa rin 'yung vote with these kinds of misinformation at action,” he said.—LDF, GMA News