Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has warned against the continued proliferation of online fake news directed to her as part of the well-oiled and orchestrated campaign to damage her good name and incite hate among the citizenry.
De Lima, the first political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said the pro-Duterte groups and their websites are seemingly working “double time” to spread misleading videos and reports in the Internet through the help of video-sharing website YouTube.
“These purveyors of fake news are obviously working harder to spread fake news and propagate hate and injustice online. Aside from Facebook and other blog sites, they are also resorting to the use of YouTube to push for their evil agendas,” she said.
“Despite my office’s effort to report these online fake news pages and websites regularly, the President’s troll army is just really good at peddling lies for the benefit of its grandmaster Duterte the No. 1 source of fake news,” she added.
De Lima has been continually targeted by fake news stories by some sinister quarters aiming to silence her from calling out the excesses of the administration in its all-out war on drugs and tarnish her reputation as a Senator of the Republic.
The reports about De Lima on YouTube ran misleading and obviously false headlines, such as “DELIMA ILILIPAT BILIBID! BATO DELA ROSA EXCITED NA!”, “LEILA DE LIMA ILILIPAT NA SA BlLIBID AALAGAAN DAW NI BATO DE LA ROSA” and “MUST WATCH!! PARUSANG BI-TAY POSIBLENG ISAMPLE KAY LEILA DELIMA KAPAG NAIPASA SA SENADO!,” but the contents of such video clips are different from their titles.
To date, De Lima’s office has already flagged down more than 100 fake video news reports circulating on YouTube alone.
Prior to these, there were previous reports published on other websites that falsely claimed she had stepped down as senator, and that she purchased a USD 6-million mansion in New York, USA, among others.
The Senator from Bicol pointed out that Duterte’s troll army does not show any sign of stopping anytime soon, especially if they are supported, funded and rewarded by no less than the government.
“Kapansin-pansin naman, na sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte, lalong tumindi at dumami ang fake news para linlangin ang mga Pilipino at malihis ang atensyon ng publiko sa mga tunay na isyu sa bansa,” she said.
“At dahil sa nagpapatuloy nilang makinarya ng malawakang propaganda at kasinungalingan para siraan ang mga tutol sa baluktot nilang polisiya, kailangan nating pigilan ang paglaganap ng fake news at imulat ang ating kababayan sa katotohanan,” she added.
De Lima said she hopes Google, which owns YouTube, would take cue from Facebook on how it was able to control, if not at all stop, the proliferation of fake news videos, especially among overseas Filipinos hungry for news from the Philippines. Last January 2017, De Lima delivered a fiery privilege speech to denounce the unabated proliferation of fake news on the Internet and other social networking sites, where she likened fake news to a “virus” that poisons and corrupts the people’s mind.