Recall the famous call of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa to “take back the Internet” (or something to that effect) more than a year ago. It was a call dripping in self-righteous pomposity which my colleague ChinoF wrote about…
One of the country’s prominent mainstream media personalities in this country posted, “Time to Take back the Internet. Time to take back social media.” Fancy words. “Take back” is often used in posts and calls to move people to action. Our very own Ilda has an article using it.
However, I believe this use of “take back” by the mainstream media personality was misplaced. You cannot take back the Internet and social media. Because you cannot take back what you don’t own.
Indeed, I believe the media personality’s perceived opponent for the “take back” post was citizen journalism. However, the new media cannot be “taken back” from citizen journalism because it’s one check and balance for a “fourth estate” that’s gone rogue.
It mirrors a disturbing attitude in the mainstream; an unwillingness to compete in what has become a Darwinian landscape where the battle for ideological dominance has become even more intense thanks to the Internet and social media. For the longest time, Ressa and her henchgirls in Rappler gushed about the Net like it was the greatest invention since sliced bread. But rather than embrace its real utility as a means to gain access to a vast diversity of ideas, Ressa and her wider circle of “disente” cliques cocooned themselves in echo chambers and exchanged increasingly inbred ideas amongst themselves. They blocked people who they perceived to be opposed to their “decent” views on how society ought to be and followed and kept track of like-minded people who shared their views. The result of just a few years of this digital inbreeding is not surprising…
As we can see from all the text above quoted from the dustiest recesses of our vast archive of old articles, we at Get Real Philippines had called this way way before Ressa and any other “social media expert” had the slightest idea that it was already happening. We have watched and waited patiently for a long time for Ressa and her generals to make good on her campaign to “take back the Internet”. Alas, after the last morsel of popcorn had been munched, all we are seeing today is a tired weather-beaten CEO of a fallen media unicorn throwing a monumental tantrum and blaming God himself (in this case, Mark Zuckerberg himself) for her epic failure as a media baron.
The Philippines’ so-called “civil society”, now a.k.a. the “disente” crowd have made themselves obsolete thanks to their habitual refusal to engage non-traditional media entities like Mocha Uson. They are paying for that arrogance today. To the chagrin of pompous “thought leaders” like Maria Ressa and Chay Hofilena, the Internet has been “taken” from them. The landscape of guerrilla bloggers, meme creators, Facebook “chuwariwaps” who are dismissed collectively as “trolls” by the traditional Establishment have taken over the Internet from right under the noses of the Old Guard.
The “trolls” relish a fight. The latte-fattened “disente” crowd retreat from it. So it is no surprise who wins the war for Internet turf. There’s a history lesson in there somewhere — something about barbarians and gates and the collapse of a big Mediterranean empire.
Facebook needs to moderate its greed, clean up the toxic waste, and be accountable for its role as the new gatekeeper to information.
Spoken by Maria Ressa, Rappler CEO. Spoken like a true loser.
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