According to Maria Ressa, an army of bots, sock puppets and a sexy blogger is terrorising Rappler


So is there really an army of “bots” that rampage through the Internet “trolling” social media and attacking hapless corporate news media sites? According to Maria Ressa, CEO of “social news media” site Rappler, there really is such an army of darkness.

Ressa insists that we are in the midst of a “propaganda war” and these armies of darkness have all but “weaponized the Internet”…

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It’s a strategy of “death by a thousand cuts” – a chipping away at facts, using half-truths that fabricate an alternative reality by merging the power of bots and fake accounts on social media to manipulate real people.

Ressa also calls out social media site Facebook and blames the algorithm it applies to customising users’ social media feeds to prioritise display of the most “relevant” content for enabling Mocha Uson’s blog to “compete – and, often, beat – news groups.” This is because, Ressa haughtily points out, “algorithms don’t distinguish fact from fiction”.

Another Rappler “thought leader”, Chay Hofilena then chimes in on the third instalment of this grand conspiracy theory. According to Hofilena, the dark army of “bots” are also joined by an army of “sock puppets” in the grand plan to “weaoponize the Internet”. Sock puppets being, well, puppets obviously have a puppetteer. This obvious fact about puppets notwithstanding, Hofilena just has to explain further…

Some of these sock puppets, aptly named because they act according to how a puppeteer motions them, post in existing online forums on Facebook – political groups, hobbyists, buy-and-sell, and even OFW groups…

Yes, now we know exactly what sock puppets are, Ms Hofilena. I’m glad you’re here to tell us these things.

hindenberg-colorHonestly, it’s actually quite hilarious the way all these “bots”, sock puppets, fly-by-night sites, and, yes, Mocha Uson’s blog happily run circles around a media behemoth like Rappler. Between them and the latter, guess who is complaining the loudest about what essentially is the way things simply are on the Net?

For an organisation like Rappler that spent much of its existence pontificating about the Net and what it means to succeed in its ecosystem, it seems it is turning out to be the least cluey — and the most whiny — about the emergence of cohabitants that actually successfully practiced what Rappler‘s “thought leaders” preached.

In essence, across a (so far) three-part treatise on the Internet landscape of 2016, Ressa and Hofilena whine about:

(1) How a guerrilla network of Internet “trolls” is terrorising a billion-dollar corporate club of monopolistic media companies in the Philippines;

(2) How Facebook’s relevance algorithm is making Mocha Uson’s blog such a serious enough threat to Rappler‘s existence that it forced no less than Her Excellency the CEO to get off her throne, take up arms, and lead the charge herself; and,

(3) How reality itself is being “manufactured” by a whole bunch of digital hands wearing digital socks that look suspiciously like K-Pop stars.

Oh, the humanity!

The world is a better place now that we all have been enlightened by God’s Gift to Philippine Journalism on what is really going on all over the Net.

35 Replies to “According to Maria Ressa, an army of bots, sock puppets and a sexy blogger is terrorising Rappler”

  1. What I know, is there are many nuisance YellowTard trolls in the internet. They blog nonsense, and contribute their ignorance to humanity…

    The internet and the blogsites/ Facebook,You Tube, etc… are the gift to humanity. They are information Technology tools in our generation. Nobody can now monopolize the spread of information. Propaganda Machines will soon be obsolete.

    This is the reason, the : of Maria Reesa, is frightened by this situation. A common internet troll or blogger, can shot her down ; even if she is a C.E.O.!

    In this Age of : Blogs, tweeters, You Tube and Facebook, etc…it is the readers/viewers, who will decide; who they will believe, and not believe…

    There is nothing you can do, Ms. Reesa…you cannot control the minds of people thru your propaganda machine in our generation !

  2. It seems that Rappler drove away a lot of its readership with this series of articles. The combox of the first of these articles seemed like a balanced mix of commenters agreeing and disagreeing. Now, the combox of the 3rd of these articles looks like an echo chamber.

  3. A rumor is a social cancer: it is difficult to contain and it rots the brains of the Failippines masses. However, the real danger is that so many Failipinos (including the likes of C-Rapplers Maria A. Ressa, Chay F. Hofileña, et. al. and its clone minions) find rumors enjoyable. That part causes the infection. And in such cases when a rumor is only partially made of truth, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the information may have gone wrong. It is passed on and on until some brave soul questions its validity; that brave soul refuses to bite the apple and let the apple eat him. Forced to start from scratch for the sake of purity and truth, that brave soul, figuratively speaking, fully amputates the information in order to protect his personal judgment. In other words, his/her ignorance is to be valued more than the lie believed to be true.

  4. There are already multiple lines of news transmission that are not subservient to the elite machinery and any attempt to fabricate a false theory will just suffer the repercussion.

    Rappler is digging their own grave for pushing their bots theory.

    1. You should learn to trust your own judgement and critical thinking skills than rely on what some journalist or commenter says.

  5. Rappler’s “troll” series of articles just feels wrong on many levels.

    First, it just feels so dismissive. Instead of engaging in the discourse and writing articles to debunk or counteract any perceived misinformation, they would rather cast contrary opinions as the opinions of “Trolls.” Yes, a lot of the stuff going around social media these days are opinions and speculation, however, Rappler seems to be highly intolerant of opinion.

    Second, is the portrayal of the situation as a “war.” War presupposes that there are enemies, an object of justified intolerance and “take-no-prisoner” attitude. Don’t the editors of Rappler realize that this supposed “war” is directed towards a popularly elected President of a legitimate government chosen by the sovereign will of the people? People will of course be free to agree or disagree because this is the President they are talking about and his actions will impact us all, but to blame trolls for the support the President is receiving misses the point completely and is insulting to our individual ability to think for ourselves. Again, I don’t take offense to people disagreeing with the President, the last thing we need is an echo chamber, but to portray the ongoing discussion as a “war” does nobody justice.

    Third, this series just feels old fashioned. Portraying this as a “war” seems to be a holdover from the “Laban” rhetoric that yellow media has been peddling for the past 30 or so years. This may have had its place back in the day, but in the days of the interwebs, this is palpably out of place. For a media outfit like Rappler, which tries to market itself as “hip” and intune with the millenial mindset, this is a serious oversight. May I suggest that Rappler do a rebranding and hire younger editors for a change.

    Fourth, this series feels like a missed opportunity. A President like Duterte, who can gather so much grassroots support only comes once in a lifetime. In the days of the campaign and during his first 100 days of office, no other man has made us question our alliances, our place in the world, our vision for the future and our values so much as Duterte. This is the time to be engaging in discourse, because the next 6 years will shape us as a nation and will determine our trajectory for the conceivable future. Shutting out people as mere “trolls” will not help anyone in this formative period. Rappler and traditional media should welcome the presence of “trolls” among others so that they can improve the quality of their reportage and so together with “trolls” we can have a common history (and not a one-sided view) with which to build on for the future.

      1. True. In spite of being such lovers of America, we can’t seem to get the expression “agree to disagree.” We can’t seem to grasp that a national consciousness can be created with multiple viewpoints. This is possible in America where even following a bloody civil war (which was a war of ideas and of justice as much as it was a war of politics), Americans can speak of the losers Davis, Lee, Johnston, Jackson, Beauregard and Stuart with as much reverence as they would the victors Lincoln, Grant, Meade, Mclellan and Sherman. Here, it always has to be black and white.

    1. Would you give equal time to the opinions of a chemist and an alchemist? Or would you give audience to a taliban symposium on womens rights? Some opinions are just more valuable than others.

      1. Are you living in the middle ages? Rappler taught us that everyone’s opinion is valuable. That’s why in 2012, they made a push for “citizen journalism.”

        1. @Popoy. No. I only believe in the primacy of the rights to free speech and peaceable assembly as enshrined in our constitution and explained in Reyes vs. Bagatsing. The only restriction placed on free speech in that decision is if it creates a clear and present danger. No restriction is made as regards to learning and credibility. It is up to the recipients of the message to think for themselves.

        2. Its not about free speech. If you’re feeling sick do you give equal time to the medical advice of a doctor and a carpenter?

        3. @Popoy. Nobody is feeling sick here. All of these issue being tackled in social media, blogs and news media are all debatable.

          If we have an economic crisis, consult an economist or finance guru.

          If we have a war, consult a general.

          If we have an epidemic, consult scientists and doctors.

          When we are discussing issues of public importance, everyone has a right to speak. See the difference?

        4. Airing your opinion is a basic human right. May it be wrong or right. Nothing wrong with that. The problem with Rappler they encourage their ‘citizen journalists’ to write in favor of their own political agenda.

  6. Magdasal nlang tayo n ma ihaon ang bnsa ntin Laban s druga pati sindikato nki sabay n rin Pra sirain image ni mr Pres kya yung mga noytard jan dasal n rin kyo n magitan Utak nyong dilaw kahit anong gawin Nyo people’s choice si mayor T itong rApller gawin nlng natin NG wrapper ksi dagdag LNG Ito s mga pasaway m media dapt r condemn yung bias media wla. Silang mgawa kundi black propaganda LNG atay social media an NG balita n tunay at yungga haters at bashers stayfoot nlang lugAw nlang kayo

  7. Ma. Ressa is in the wrong side of history. She cannot suppress the grassroots movement of enlightened ordinary citizens rising against the Yellow Sith Lords!

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