Social media in 2021: Networked propaganda and disinformation get into high gear

Vernise Tantuco

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Social media in 2021: Networked propaganda and disinformation get into high gear
Disinformation on social media persists amid the COVID-19 pandemic and with the 2022 national elections on the horizon. Read and watch our in-depth reports and explainers on the topic.

MANILA, Philippines – Disinformation on social media has been a growing concern in recent years and conversations on how to fight it have ramped up as we near the 2022 national elections. 

In the past, disinformation had been used by foreign and local actors to influence election results. The Philippines was even been called a petri dish for disinformation, wherein groups experimented with manipulating voter opinion or disseminating propaganda on social media in the Philippines before using the techniques in the West.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the world suffered through what the World Health Organization (WHO) called an “infodemic,” a phenomenon wherein there is too much information – including false or misleading information – circulating during a disease outbreak.

Meanwhile, fact-checkers, journalists, lawmakers, educators, civil society groups, and concerned citizens have been pushing social media platforms to take accountability for the disinformation on their sites. There has also been an increase in voter education and media and information literacy.

Some action has been taken. Facebook, for instance, has partnered with third-party fact checkers and has taken down pages, groups, and accounts that exhibited “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” YouTube has removed videos containing COVID-19 misinformation and included information panels on topics that are prone to false information. 

However, experts say that the platforms’ actions have not been enough, and ways of spreading disinformation on social media platforms continue to evolve

Read, watch, and listen to Rappler’s explainers, in-depth reports, videos, and podcasts on disinformation and social media through the links below.

On propaganda networks, platforms’ policies
Lists and features
Videos and podcasts

– Rappler.com

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Mayuko Yamamoto


Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.