The Marcos administration has no troll farms as the lead communications arm of the government aims to combat fake news, Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said on Monday.
Garafil made the clarification during a Senate hearing on the proposed P1.921-billion budget proposal of the Presidential Communications Office and its attached agencies for 2024.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said there were suspicions regarding 1,479 contractual employees working for the former Presidential Communications Operations Office, with allegations of them engaging in troll-like activities.
In 2021, former Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon demanded that the PCO provide documents related to these employees under contract of service, consistently referring to them as “trolls.”
The slang term “troll” is used to describe an individual who shares incendiary or irrelevant content with the intention of provoking or upsetting others on social media and various online platforms.
“For the record, Mr. Chair, we don’t have trolls. No troll farm, no troll army,” Garafil said.
Ejercito underscored the importance of “disseminating information regarding the accomplishments of the Marcos administration.”
Garafil, for her part, said that PCO provides accurate information as the primary source of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s messages.
“Our number one priority is still, of course, communication with the President, but, of course, underlying that is what you mentioned earlier, the fight against fake news. That’s why this year, we launched a media information literacy campaign to address the problem of fake news,” Garafil said.
Last month, PCO launched Marcos administration’s Media and Information Literacy Project to combat misinformation and disinformation online.
Garafil said the MIL is the administration’s response to the disinformation and misinformation plaguing the country’s digital landscape, focusing on capacitating the youth to become more discerning media consumers.
She also emphasized that the PCO would refrain from participating in any kind of historical distortion or rewriting.
“We will not engage in any form of revisionism as they claim; on the contrary, we want to… that’s why this is not a fact-checking tool, we want to empower everyone, especially the youth, to see for themselves, on their own, what is really true or not. We will not revise anything,” Garafil said.
She also mentioned the PCO’s partnership with social media platforms such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Google, and TikTok in the fight against misinformation.
Garafil expressed that the PCO favors establishing a constructive partnership with TikTok rather than opting for a platform ban.
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