The Abuse of Media Freedom and its Gullible Audience

 

(Please note that this post was created to fulfill an academic requirement in Development Communication 80 – Communication and Society.)

It was April 22, 2014 when thousands of Filipinos and their foreign relatives rejoiced after news about the removal of US Visa requirements for Filipinos spread like wildfire on social media platforms. It was shared by 10 thousand people on the social media app, “Facebook” and had exactly 711 “5 star ratings” and 540 comments on their main website, the Adobo chronicles. The post was good news for many people, as getting a US Visa as very difficult and traveling to the US was not possible without having a Visa approved. The post received many positive interactions, a mixture of happiness and inquiries, of when it will be official, flooded social media websites, none of which questioned the validity of the post and actually confirmed it.

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At 7:55 AM the next day, an official statement from the PHL Embassy at Washington denied the news and stated,

“The Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines would like to inform the public that there is no truth to what appears to be an online news report that the United States has announced a β€˜no visa’ policy for Filipinos. The Embassy has been in touch with the US Department of State, which has denied making such an announcement.”

Satirical Websites and Widespread Misuse of Information

— making the life changing post, that made thousands of Filipinos rejoice, a hoax. A satirical post made solely and exclusively to fool and humiliate those who are too quick to react and too lazy to double check facts. A good laugh for the educated and an embarrassment for those who fail to read the fine lines of these types of websites.

The Adobo Chronicles, (visit here at Adobo Chronicles) the source of the infamous “Visa” article clearly states that their website is created for entertainment and that it contains ” up to date unbelievable news. Everything is based on fact, except for the lies”. If the disclaimer is that clear and conspicuous, why then were thousands of Filipinos fooled by this satirical post? Why was this post even allowed to exist and why did the Embassy have to deny the rumor if it was so easy to determine its validity.

Legitimacy and how to prove it

If you think about it, an individual can easily determine if a news story shared online is legitimate or a hoax. Not only would the news content be out of this world and very weird but also, if the content of the news may seem real, the source can easily be checked for credibility and if it follows the proper standards. Lastly, one can look over at the author of the post and check if this is an actual person from an actual news agency/site.

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The Abuse of Media

We, as a citizen of a Democratic country, are allowed to freely express ourselves and the freedom of the press but it is not without repercussions. Laws were created in order to regulate expression and make sure that no one gets away with misusing the power of media and information. Misuse of speech that oversteps an individual’s rights like Libel, Slander and Defamation elicits punishment that can lead to serving time in jail or shut down/suspension of their media platform. But what about these types of misuse of information? Who are prosecuting these people, who enjoy on taking advantage of the haphazard habits of thousands of people? Why isn’t the Abuse of media being stopped by those in power.

This habit of irresponsible creation and dissemination of information in the Philippines grows every minute and every time a person shares an information they did not double check and validate, it is something that we must stop. The abuse of those who misleads the public for entertainment purposes does not contribute to the greater good and only proves how both media and its users are in need of a thorough education, guidance and a fair system to regulate their content.

The Gullible Audience and what we should do

Media in the Philippines is being abused not only by those who create information but also by those who devour it and share it to other people. Information is vital so that the public are able to learn and get a grasp of any situation and by having learned that, are able to decide better and act more responsibly on different scenarios. If the public are fed with wrong and misleading information then their judgements are automatically impaired, then their arguments are unsupported, they then make the wrong choices.

The relationship between media and our society is toxic and flawed. We let everything we see online make an impact in our lives, we judge celebrities, personalities and those in power harshly through our media platforms and are uninterested to open our minds for other views, we know about hoaxes and satirical posts but share them anyway for the sake of entertainment and we see the wrong in everything but our own self. If someone was tasked to control media usage and content creation, I’m honestly sure that most of us has had our media access revoked.

Misinformation can destroy lives

We should not belittle misinformation and what it can do. There’s no such thing as a safe misleading news. Every little detail can hurt someone or something, it can even destroy. We should always be careful about how we behave online and on what we share. Let us think before we click and share, it will surely make a difference. Adobo Chronicles is not alone in making fools of us consumers and writers alike, there are many more like them and many more will rise and continue on providing the country with their false and entertaining information. We should not let the abuse continue.

PS: If you’re interested to know more about Satirical websites and which ones are, I suggest you visit this article made by GMA Network. (Visit at: Think before you click)

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What do you think about the post? Do you know of any Satirical websites like the Adobo Chronicles? How do you feel about them? Comment your thoughts below! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

32 Replies to “The Abuse of Media Freedom and its Gullible Audience”

  1. There are many sites like Adobo Chronicles. I always double check the information, google or research about an article before I believe it. Some netizens immediately believe on some posts without knowing more about it. I really hate those kind of things because you feel like you made yourself stupid about it. Even news media are now making crappy news that would turn them into bias sometimes.

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by. ❀️ I’m happy to see individuals such as yourself who do not contribute to the cycle of Misinformation and abuse. Let’s spread the good habit of double checking and thinking before we click! ✨

  2. Things like this is one of the reason why I hate checking my Facebook newsfeed because it is flooded with these types of articles and websites. Social media surely has many advantages which are great but it also comes with disadvantages: misusing it and abusing it are just a couple of them, which are totally annoying and horrible.

    We, readers, should be mindful as to whether the things we’re reading are true or not. Let’s not be victimized by these kinds of hoaxes. Just because the article have hit your interest and everything that you expect are told/written in there doesn’t necessarily mean that it all are true. Question their credibility. Let’s not be too ‘gullible’.

  3. There are too many sites now that display hoax. Ive been a victim before of this ridiculous wide spread news that are not true. Even those share-able informations like promotional news or contest that are just scams. I always check the site or paits legit.

  4. I guess that the best course of action (long term wise) is education. Not just educate which are satirical sites and what are not, but to also teach everyone to analyze the writing and information being presented before accepting it as is, yeah?

    xoxo,
    Julia Antoinette
    http://juliaantoinette.com/

  5. Yepp media is pretty powerful isn’t it? You also have some interesting points. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ I also reaearch a lot when all these media stories pop up.

  6. I also read about that Adobo Chronicles and they’re wrong articles. Since it’s easier to create blogs and websites now, I think one should check if the source is really reliable. It pays to do our own reading and research.

  7. Think before you click also think before you share which is true naman. Pero no one can stop naman Adobo Chronicles to post what they want to post, it’s up to the people talaga to do their own research and validate the info. Sometimes even the mainstream media cannot be reliable.

  8. Great insights!! There are many other websites like Adobo Chronicles. So, be careful about whatever you read online. Moreover, it’s also important for the publishers to verify the facts before publishing any details.

  9. I really hate satirical websites because they are misleading. While satire is supposed to poke fun at issues, it is now misleading people who do not know how to distinguish satire from real news. And what I hate most of all are the supposed to be reputable news agencies whose titles are clearly misleading and not at all giving justice to the article. I feel like I want to send them again to journ school! haist.

  10. I agree on your sentiment on some people’s gullibility. Sometimes, I can’t help but cringe in frustration. Well, what have we, it’s on the internet, so it must be true! *note sarcasm* Maybe it’s just me, because I work as a social media person, but I can almost always know if a post is satirical or legit. Maybe it’s also because I do follow a lot of reliable sources that I wait until that news shows up and it’s coming from them (unless they, too, are gullible victims of the clickbait). Not only do we need to be careful on the content of the websites or information we see, but we also have to be careful on actually clicking them. It’s useful to check if the url of the article is not suspicious-looking. Some might actually be bots that, when clicked, auto-reshares (thus the pornographic stuff appearing on their feed even though they swear they haven’t shared it.) Happened to a friend just recently, she showed me a screenshot of a news about Brad Pitt committing suicide because of the Brangelina breakup, and I warned her not to click. She still did, and it re-shared like wildfire. *sigh* These satirical contents will keep on emerging, so we just have to be more vigilant on knowing the difference between what is legit and a hoax. Writing this blog post is one way to inform people, so keep it up! πŸ™‚

  11. It’s a sad state that a lot of people in the country these days have become gullible. I do hope that these people could separate a fact from the hoax. It makes us easy to manipulate, and that’s not a good thing.

  12. I hate it when people fall easily to false news. I hate it even more when they share it and they are all over my newsfeed. I just hope people would properly educate themselves so they won’t fall for such treacherous stuff.

  13. Nowadays you don’t know what’s legit and what’s hoax, that is why its very important to search about it first before believing. Lalo na in FB, one issue can be shared to a million people worldwide.

  14. Sometimes I think that social media just made some people dumber and meaner. Dumber because they believe everything they see in the Internet and meaner because they used it for their schemes. I thinks these satire blogs just wants thousand of views for their ads (?) And it is really sad to see Filipinos being so gullible on these things. Maybe we need to teach this in school na rin? πŸ˜‚

  15. I think it is a combination of many factors. Primarily, people believe what they want to believe. Take for instance the current political climate, where you have opposing sides on the issue of EJK, the cursing, the rhetorics of Duterte. See how easy it is for people to believe whatever is being spun. πŸ™‚

  16. There is a very popular online satire news outlet callwd The Onion. Its quite fun to read when you KNOW its all fake. The Sun is also an exagerated versionof reality and peopl believe every word of it!

  17. Satirical stories are quite fun to red, no doubt about that, but as a reader we should know how to identify the true stories to faux pax. And since most online readers nowadays are too lazy to do fact checking, this laziness is being abused, thus generating clicks and buzz, equivalent to high engagements of the site which leads to more advertisers online (e.g. google adsense).

    Just like my Chinese friend said: “Whenever a person got so lazy, there is always a business for others.”

  18. There a lot of satirical websites like Adobo Chronicles. Sometimes these are funny to read. But only if you know what it is. I’ve been fooled as well. It’s just when you only read the headline and are not yet familiar with what kind of website it is. I’m not against these websites though. I just check new I read. And I can imagine people enjoying the satirical websites.

  19. this is the main reason why i sometimes dont like checking social media and it is good that you took the time to explain the cons and pros in this post. I completely agree with you that it is important to check every post before believing or sharing it. social media can help or destroy.

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