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Balancing the Social Media

The online exchange of thoughts and ideas grew from being a mere tool of communication into something more influencing than the usual mediums of publication. From the 80’s to 90’s, we can recall that only a few get the opportunity to interact with friends abroad due to very limited access to social networking. In general, the publishing industry of local newspapers wasn't worried of the public consumption of their production. Broadcast journalists weren’t questioned of their credibility reporting nor do the audience see any biased information. There was yet no metamorphosis of said online media fusing with the disciplines of journalism. However, with recent modifications, one would inevitably associate posting in social media with freelance journalism.

In one article entitled “Fake becomes Legit: Disinformation, Social Media and Democracy,” it was emphasized that there was initially a prediction with the rise of the so-called “fake news.” In 2013, there was an academic article released discussing the disinformation tactics employed in political campaigns. In the past five years, social media gave the impression of helping write a very different chapter in the history of political movements. As clearly put by the author of the disorderofthings.com, what we are witnessing now with the progress of social media is better explained as the beginning of the parallel ascendance of artificial intelligence and augmented reality. This is a situation where distorted information is disseminated in digital media to make social inequality acceptable to the readers and viewers, often by employing a totalitarian discourse. Is it not obvious how our Facebook friends or Instagram followers post images with comments of profuse vanities that are quite far from their actual situations? Or do we let it skip our attention to see how our political leaders post every single act of charity they do, yet the society remain mum to their existence in fact?

Sad reality though, citizens themselves actively participate in the creation of disinformation by using social media platforms. Whereas information spread by governments or corporations can be contested or at least skeptically dismissed, information produced and shared by regular users or sometimes by AI robots masquerading as users or the now popularly labeled as “troll users,” acquires authenticity, and spreading this information is an act rewarded by social media platforms by metrics such as attention, popularity and visibility. While there are mechanisms instituted by Facebook and Google to quarantine fake news, it seems they are way behind the spread of this epidemic mentality that readers prefer the hoax than the genuine. We can’t neglect the manifestations that today’s generation of Maranaos would rather go for “Photoshopped” self-images than their own natural beauty. Unconsciously, we now tend to convince ourselves and depart from reality by living in a digital fantasy.

In order to ensure we will not be lured to this, we need to return our focus to “real” news, that is, we need to support real journalism, and educate the masses through media literacy so that they can recognize fake news and stop being such dupes. Naively, we cling to the idea that in these conditions, falsehoods can be challenged with facts. However, facts cease to matter much in a system in which the act of lying itself is endowed with authority and certainty. Now is the best time worthy to remind the public to become vigilant vanguards of truth, honesty and even natural order of things.

While it is acceptable to share our sentiments and prejudiced opinions in social media by the simple virtue of our being a user, we must always be mindful of the responsibility tagged along with our works. We must always be careful with how we pretend to be someone else we’re not for it may come with it catastrophic irretrievable injuries beyond our control.

Responsible Past. Preserve today. Avoid chaos tomorrow.
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