Author Topic: Doing more truthful, rational, responsible social media posts - 3  (Read 6055 times)

Joe Carillo

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By the time this column goes off the press, the country’s Presidential election campaign season shall have officially started. From a social media standpoint, I must admit that I get the feeling that the country’s cyberspace will soon be experiencing a siege not unlike the massive zombie pandemic that threatened the world in the 2013 horror film World War Z, the only difference being that well-equipped and well-funded social media trolls rather than zombies jumping out from their graves will be doing the siege.

                                                  In the national interest, the Presidential hopefuls need to mutually call a
                                                      total ceasefire to the utterly destructive misinformation and disinformation
                                                      war being waged for them by their social media troll armies.


I say this because for the past four weeks or so, there has been a very disturbing build up of troll regiments as well as slanderous and defamatory props right inside the major social media platforms themselves. The troll army commanders are showing hardly any qualm or inhibition in doing this build up in plain sight of even a cursory observer. They use their own names and proudly show their own mug shots in their hateful postings, and on web pages linked to the social media platform itself, they have been assembling huge libraries of derogatory images and caricatures of their target enemies, complete with ready-to-use cue cards and scripts for instant use by their paid trolls.

Two such personal web pages of the troll commanders and lieutenants flaunt photo-and-illustration libraries with hundreds or so ready-to-use derogatory and combative material. They are recklessly interspersed with the personal and family photos of the troll chieftain or subaltern, giving the eerie impression that they are supremely confident that their candidates will win so they need not worry about retribution or anything at all after the election.

So with this state of affairs in the country’s major social media platforms, what can we expect the next three months of the Presidential campaign to be like?

I fear that the period will see a sustained and brutal war of attrition and demolition at least between two major troll armies, one by the perceived second-runner Presidential candidate and the other by the evident frontliner in the surveys. The parties of the three other Presidential candidates—they don’t have the resources to get themselves directly embroiled in the five-cornered fight—can at best hope for whatever electoral advantage they could gain from the enormous damage the two leading Presidential candidates would be inflicting on each other.

This disturbing prospect has prompted me to seriously reconsider my original goal of encouraging the major participants in the current Presidential campaign to do more truthful, rational, and responsible social media posts. I now realize it won’t work at all. From moves and instructions dictated openly to their troll armies on social media, it has become evident that the troll commanders of the leading Presidential candidates are going go-for-broke on the operational level beyond any moral principle or restraint. It will therefore be all in vain unless the five Presidential candidates—particularly the two frontrunners based on surveys—make a solemn pledge to mutually put an end to this destructive war of attrition and demolition on the social media platforms, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

I firmly believe that the Presidential candidates themselves deeply know in their hearts that whether they win or lose, this internecine war will ultimately do none of them and our country any good. Its relentless use of misinformation and disinformation is just promoting a ruinous climate of hate, impunity, and illogic not only among the electorate but the entire Filipino population. By the time the winners are elected this coming May, this kind of campaign will have permanently created bitter enemies for life among their respective followers and families.

To avoid national perdition, it will therefore be prudent for the Presidential candidates to agree this early to a permanent social media trolling ceasefire and to order their troll commanders to immediately dismantle their trolling organizations and machinery.

This essay, 2084th of the series, appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the Campus Press section of the February 10, 2022 Internet edition of The Manila Times, ©2022 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

Read this essay in my column in The Manila Times:
Doing more truthful, rational, responsible social media posts - 3

(Next week: Getting used to common English colloquialisms)        February 17, 2022

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1. "Doing more truthful, rational, responsible social media posts - 1"
2. "Doing more truthful, rational, responsible social media posts - 2"
« Last Edit: November 25, 2023, 02:24:09 PM by Joe Carillo »