Amid a spate of lies in the political arena and a flurry of lies and misinformation on social media, voters in the Philippines will go to the polls on Monday to elect the country’s next president. News media BBC.
A man named John (pseudonym) claims to be a marketing consultant on social media in the Philippines, saying, “I consider myself a troll, or politically speaking — I am a social media marketing consultant.”
John is part of a work that could be crucial for the upcoming presidential election in the Philippines.
John said he has been working six hours most days. In return for a fee, John maintains hundreds of Facebook pages and fake profiles for the election campaigns of several Philippine politicians.
John claims that his clients include the governor, members of Congress and even the mayor.
Tomorrow, Filipino voters will vote in the country’s next presidential election. At the same time, the voters will take part in the voting of the candidates of several departments. After the victory of Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, the country is going to have another presidential election. There are allegations that Rodrigo won the last election by resorting to massive fraud and fake news.
Election observers and misleading data analysts say the situation has not improved since the 2016 election, but those concerned fear it could get worse.
John is part of a propaganda network in the Philippines. He said about 30 ‘trolls’ were working directly under him. The purpose of these ‘trolls’ is to increase customer support; It can also be through spreading false or fake news or information. John said he has been doing these things for years.
“We spread fake news in one of the provinces I worked with in 2013,” John said.
John describes how he managed to trap his client’s opponent in this way: ‘We got the mobile phone number of that top politician. Then I used the number Photoshop to spread fake messages on people’s mobile phones that the politician was looking for a mistress. Coincidentally, the person I worked for won the election. ‘
To substantiate his claim, John sent several videos posted on various Facebook accounts to the BBC, the media reported.
John also sent to the BBC several screenshots of his employers, including screenshots of WhatsApp messages being circulated, bank slips, fake IDs and multiple SIM cards used to evade the Facebook verification process.
The BBC did not reveal the man’s true identity for security reasons.
He also said that another tactic was used by John. He created various non-political pages and groups on Facebook to counter political propaganda.
Meta, the owner of Facebook, says it has deleted a number of networks in the Philippines that were trying to influence people. According to Meta, these networks contained more than 400 accounts, pages and groups that violated the Meta policy.
Many candidates have expressed concern about the impact of misrepresentation on the outcome of the upcoming Philippine presidential election.
In an interview with a news channel in the Philippines, presidential candidate Leni Robredo said he had initially ignored the problem of fake news. But, it ‘didn’t work.’
Leni Robredo said, “If you keep telling lies, it becomes true.”
Another presidential candidate, former boxer Manny Pacquiao, has spoken out against the need to “control” fake news and misinformation.