It’s easy to say that we’re influenced by trolls without understanding basic human psychology and sociology. These sciences focuses on human behavior and its patterns. There are a lot of factors that determine human behavior. But the irony is, now that we have more access to information, the less reliable these are. Disinformation has been in existence since the first newspaper was published. As technology developed, so did disinformation which is basically propaganda. Think Germany in the time of Adolf Hitler. It was easy for Hitler to sell the Germans on Nazism because of the Treaty of Versailles’s onerous terms on war reparations. Before that, there was a the Spanish-American War which had William Randolph Hearst being quoted “you furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
The opposition has painted the administration as the progenitor of fake news. But what of the slew of articles praising PNoy which flooded social media platforms since last week when he died? That’s also propaganda by definition. What of the millennials who don’t bother to read history when it’s at their fingertips? Shouldn’t they be held responsible for the consequence of not doing so? In our time, you either bought what you read or absent the money to do so, you went to the library to read for free.
Inquirer columnist Hyacinth Tagupa in her snootily-titled piece “Guarding our vote from trolls” recommends haughtily, “Don’t feed the trolls.”
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As the 2022 elections draw near, these keyboard armies are expected to launch another blitz, if they haven’t already. Sen. Panfilo Lacson recently warned that troll farms are being organized in provinces using taxpayers’ money, in preparation for the upcoming presidential polls.
It’s the height of naiveté to think that only the administration deploys trolls. The Opposition has their own set of the same. Just look at Twitter accounts with a few followers but get thousands of retweets. Chat bots are software-programmed to deliver automated responses. Bots are cheaper than trolls in terms of making a post go viral. It’s automated so the investment is in the development of the bot. But ask a question not programmed into its architecture and that’s the end of the bot. Rather than whine about them, people just need to take a bit more personal responsibility for their regard for the information they consume off social media.
The supreme being gave us the ability to make choices and to be discerning about the choices we make. No bot or troll is in control of our thinking or mindset. It’s all about our discernment. This is why there is the ideological, political and social divides which exist. Then there are those who basically don’t give shit for squat about anything and everything. You don’t get to play in a sandbox with your own rules. It’s up to you to adapt to the environment you find yourself in. It’s easy to whine about trolls but whining will not get you anywhere. In the marketplace of ideas, it’s all about the substance of your thoughts and opinions which matter. Not the trolls or the chat bots.
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