MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor and presidential candidate Isko Moreno doesn’t want his supporters to be online trolls spreading disinformation.
Hoping to set the tone for civil online political discourse, the 47-year-old aspirant for Malacañang made this request to his followers and allies during no less than his proclamation speech on Tuesday, February 8, day one of the 2022 campaign period.
“Wala tayong sisirain. In fact, before I say this, payo ko sa inyo ‘no, lahat ng supporters natin: Puwede tayong lumalaban, pero magalang,” said Moreno before a sea of supporters wearing blue at the Kartilya ng Katipunan.
(We will not badmouth anyone. In fact, before I say this, my request for all our supporters: We can fight, but let’s be respectful.)
“Huwag tayo magtatapang-tapangan sa likod ng mga account. Gusto ko, ang babanggitin lang natin, facts,” he added.
(Let us not appear to be brave shielded by accounts. I want us to mention only facts.)
His call for polite language comes mere months after he had infamously referred to supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo and the Liberal Party as “yellowtards.” He had also implied that Robredo is a “fake leader with fake character,” though Moreno now denies he had been referring to the Vice President.
Are his latest remarks the closest thing to an apology Robredo and her supporters will get?
Stance on disinformation
Moreno, who has sought to project youthful and technology-savvy leadership, is one of two presidential candidates with the clearest stance on holding social media companies accountable for thriving disinformation networks.
He told GMA’s Jessica Soho in January that, if elected, he would run after companies like Facebook where false news and divisive propaganda have found audiences, to devastating effect.
“‘Yang mga social media company na ‘yan, papapanagutin ko ‘yan kasi walang sumusubok sa kanilang habulin sila ng bansa eh. Hinahayaan nilang gawing outlet ng mga maling impormasyon ‘yung kanilang sistema,” he had said.
(Those social media companies, I will hold them accountable because no one is challenging them in our country. They have allowed their systems to become an outlet for wrong information.)
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the man to beat in the 2022 presidential race, is notorious for being propped up by a vast online disinformation network.
Recently, Twitter suspended around 300 accounts that were supportive of Marcos for inauthentic and coordinated behavior. Yet Marcos said in a recent interview that he has no trolls and believes false news to be dangerous. – Rappler.com