By Mary Jea Heaven dela Rosa
Another scenario that is playing out in the country is the function of social media is dumbing down societal standards. One example I can give is how social media established criteria for selecting a candidate. Take, for example, how low the public’s standards are as long as the individual is popular. Raffy Tulfo belongs to the public’s top 12 senate candidate picks, according to polls taken in 2021 and 2022, due to his popularity on his YouTube channel, “Raffy Tulfo in Action.” He lacks the qualifications to run for office, but his popularity has caused people to lower their standards. Other senatorial candidates are eligible but never popular with the general public. People consider a candidate’s popularity even if he or she lacks the necessary qualifications and skills. Because of the sensationalism and framing of a certain popular persona through social media, people prefer to downplay their standards. Raffy Tulfo’s show is on Facebook and YouTube, and he’s gaining traction with his unique approach to public justice. His contents are extremely problematic, and the public’s ability to get justice is not aided by professionals such as lawyers and judges. Because he has conditioned the public to believe that he is their knight in shining armor, standards have been reduced in this domain. People trust him, yet he does not follow the proper procedures for achieving justice.
Furthermore, in our current era, social media influencers have become many people’s new sources of knowledge. People quickly accept everything they say or are persuaded by their words and actions without confirming the integrity of their remarks, which becomes an issue as society’s standards are dumbed down. Because these social media influencers become key opinion leaders for the public, even if they lack the skills to become professionals, standards are dropped. People, for example, seek advice and opinions from social media influencers rather than seek professional help from professionals. Yes, they may have firsthand knowledge, but it is not supported by science and lacks factual statements. As a result, audiences are more likely to lower their expectations for a particular product or scenario. People, for example, have the misconception that social media influencers are always a reputable source of information due to their public appeal.
All of these issues arise, and we are all aware that we are being fooled by the influence of social media. We can slow the spread of fake news and raise society’s norms, but it will never be simple. Because individuals are not devoted to combating fake news, this battle is extremely exhausting. We can, however, start by various initiatives. To start with, I propose that we create an online community or organization where volunteers may report false news and where annual activities can be held to involve people in the fight against fake news. For this organization or group, we can usually find content moderators who are willing to volunteer. We may use interactive internet activities to educate the public about the dangers of fake news. We may change the criteria that individuals must adhere to not only to combat fake news, but also to mold their thoughts about proper social media usage.
Next, we can start educating people on digital literacy. We can use social media’s potential to reach a wide number of people to teach people about digital literacy by building a campaign that can be shared on any social media platform, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Although it may sound cliche, I believe we can persuade individuals of the necessity of digital literacy. We can target specific areas and explain the campaign in local languages to make the concept of digital literacy more accessible. Local languages can be used in campaign videos and pubs to target certain areas. We can also improve the materials in order to reach a larger audience. But first, we may collect funds from organizations and individuals who are beginning to battle fake news.
Lastly, there are bills in the works that would make it illegal to promote fake news. However, I believe it is not implemented properly. My college lecturer, who is also a lawyer, once told us that the country is good at planning laws but bad at enforcing them. That is why we must strengthen the laws in place to gradually hold those who disseminate misinformation online accountable. Although it may be difficult, it is preferable to have a policing body in this area. Let us, as students and citizens of this country, draw the attention of the governing body to the need to develop and implement current laws that hold people accountable for their actions. People will continue to distribute incorrect information.
Because of its easy and quick response to individuals, social media platforms have become everyone’s friend. As one source put it, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The internet is man’s extension; it works as his arms and feet, which is a positive thing. However, many have misused the internet, particularly social media platforms, by taking advantage of the resources the platforms may provide. The social media world is a useful tool for education, entertainment, news, and a variety of other purposes, but the unfortunate side is that many have gotten addicted to it. People treat others unequally, and decency, sensitivity, and respect have all declined. Cyber-bullying and the spread of hate and fake news exist. Rumors circulate, information spreads without being verified, and many false facts have emerged. It can’t be easily stopped, but I believe it can be avoided if people take responsibility for their actions and treat others with respect.
We are part of a generation that can put an end to the misuse of social media. We may be reliant on its convenience, but we must begin to rise to the occasion. We should be the future’s catalyst for change. Let us not succumb to the oppressor’s oppression. Let us begin to take accountability for our actions. To avoid spreading false information, we should educate people on how to use social media properly. We must be sincere and united if we are to achieve the true meaning of digital literacy. We will never be free from the cyber world if we continue to practice miscommunication and misuse of social media platforms. It’s difficult to modify the system, and we’re given the chance to criticize anything we think we’re being exploited for. As a catalyst of change, we have a variety of ways to communicate with people. To achieve our liberation, we must not only engage in collective discourse, but also take action. It may sound cliche, but always remember to think before you click. Make use of your intellect.
Tutheridge, G. (2017, May 24). What is the role of gatekeeping journalist’s in today’s media environment? Medium. https://medium.com/@gabrielletutheridge/what-is-the-role-of-gatekeeping-journalists-in-today-s-media-environment-2034a30ba850
FACT CHECK: No Sereno admission of ‘order’ from Robredo in blog post video. (2018, May 24). RAPPLER. https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/203289-sereno-no-admission-robredo-order-blog-post/
Gatekeeping theory. (2018, November 2). Mass Communication Theory. https://masscommtheory.com/theory-overviews/gatekeeping-theory/
(Mary Jea Heaven dela Rosa, 25, is a graduate student at the University of Santo Tomas studying for a Master of Arts in Marketing Communication. She works for a pharmaceutical company in the Philippines as a brand manager. She graduated from the University of the Philippines Visayas with a degree in communication and media studies, but she works in marketing as a profession due to her love for advertising and marketing.)