(Please note that this post was created to fulfill an academic requirement in Development Communication 80 – Communication and Society.)
The Onslaught of Trolling and Social Media Wars
If you have ever engaged on an online discussion regarding certain national or political issue, then for sure you have seen how dangerous it is to voice out your opinions or question and argue with someone who has already commented. No matter what you say, what side you are on or who you are, there will always be someone who’s ready to bash on your comment and even about who you are. The comments’ aim is not to support or argue with the idea presented but to attack and try to humiliate the one who questioned what they are saying. These “trolls” as what people are now calling them has finally found their match. The online social news network, “Rappler”, has begun an aggressive moderation and clean-up of all the nasty and disrespectful comments that are posted on their social media platforms and on their individual news stories. The campaign, started on August 26, 2016 gathered hundreds of reactions, a mix of rejoice and anger.
The #NoPlaceforHate Campaign flooded the timeline of every social media sites the week it was published. Citizens were separated into three teams: Those who were happy about the destruction of trolling and spamming, those who were angry that their space for expression is getting controlled and those who were indifferent of the issue. Users who were celebrating the empowerment of respect and netiquette voiced-out their concern and thanked Rappler for the “evolution” of communication.
But then there are also those who not only were offended by Rappler’s campaign but also expressed their dismay towards the ignorance of the Law to freedom of speech. These people, ranted on their social media accounts and even began questioning Rappler’s credibility, even threatening to unfollow the network. Also, major Duterte supporters like Mocha Uson and Ira Panganiban also expressed their dismay over Rappler’s campaign with Ira Panganiban narrating the reasons why these so-called “trolls” are acting the way they do and Mocha Uson with posting a meme that compared the campaign with another social media movement.
Is the freedom of speech really being endangered?
The freedom of speech “pertains to protection of the citizens’ right to criticize and air their grievances against the government ” and promotes the expression of their ideas and opinions. The Campaign #NoPlaceForHate in my opinion did not harm nor hinder in anyway the right of anyone to express and state their opinions, it only and will only protect those who shares from online bullying and bashing. The state of cyber-bullying in the Philippines has grown into a whole new level of disappointing, with individuals even making fake accounts in order to harm and commit bashing.
The Campaign’s main goals are to moderate users who do not contribute to the intellectual exchange of opinions and to prevent those who wish to harm from being able to inflict the damage. Their efforts whether it continues or not has only proven that there are still people who wish to make our online identities safe and our voice to be listened to. Bashers are of no help in anyway and their moderation, in my opinion, will contribute so much to making sure that we all practice the right conduct or netiquette whenever we are online.
Some may say that Rappler is only doing this campaign because of the compilation of all the hate and bashing they have received from previous national and political issues that they have reported but Rappler is firm that their aim is to make an example of what an online space for exchange of ideas should be.
To end, I believe that Rappler/s #NoPlaceForHate is made in good intentions and for the greater good. Good can only tell how horrible and disappointing it is to look at the comments section in any news agency’s social media profiles or articles. People are humiliated, offended and attacked everyday in those forums and no one does anything to defend or report those people. Now, with Rappler’s campaign, things can be different. For now, it may only be applicable to rappler’s page but hopefully the other networks and social media sites also pursues the campaign. There so many evil already in the world, let us not contribute to it. Let us not contribute to hate.
Let us all help build a nation of leaders, well educated and respectful citizens who believes that every perspective can be wrong and no is almighty.
PS: For further information about the netizen’s reactions towards the campaign, please visit Campaign Reactions.
Thanks for dropping by!