Youth most vulnerable to fake news – PCO

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) vowed Wednesday to step up its campaign against fake news, amid the spike in the number of Filipinos falling prey to disinformation and misinformation. Based on the findings of the PCO's recent study, around nine of 10 Filipinos are either 'victim of fake news' or having a 'problem in their everyday interaction with information [and] media,' Communications Undersecretary for Digital Media Services Emerald Ridao said during the Bagong Pilipinas program aired over state-run PTV-4. 'So, malaking number na po ito (this is a big number). This is enough for us to know that this is a problem that the PCO needs to answer,' Ridao said. 'We found that mostly kabataan po talaga sila because sila po 'yung pinaka-social media savvy, sila po 'yung pinaka-exposed sa internet. So, sila po muna 'yung unang-unang target namin before we move to other sectors (they are the youth because they are the most social media savvy, they are the most exposed to the internet. So, they are our first target before we move to other sectors),' she added. Ridao said the PCO is collaborating with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DepEd) to expand the Media and Information Literacy (MIL) modules that are already available in schools. She said there is a plan to expand the MIL modules by raising awareness about fake news peddlers using artificial intelligence (AI) in promoting misinformation and disinformation. 'The use of artificial intelligence is now strong, unfortunately, in creating fake news,' Ridao said. 'So the MIL program teaches our students how to take that moment to analyze kung ito ba mayroon siyang markers ng legitimate information o kaya kailangan ko pang itsek ano kaya 'yung source nito, ilang sources ang nagsabi ng information na ito, and 'yung mga sources ba na 'yun ay legitimate in their fields of information. Ganoong klaseng habit po ang bini-build natin (if this has markers of legitimate information or do I still need to check what the source is, how many sources said this information, and are those sources legitimate in their fields of information. That's the kind of habit that we are building).' Ridao noted that the PCO, as the lead communications arm of the government, also wants to promote the 'legitimate government pages.' This, as she bared efforts to discredit President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. by spreading misinformation. 'We've even seen it being done to our President. Because he is always in the media, everyday his face is on TV, it has become very easy for people to use AI to manipulate, unfortunately, his messages,' Ridao said. In line with the celebration of Communications Month in October, the PCO will launch the Campus Caravan and hold an MIL Summit, Ridao said. This year's celebration of Communications Month carries the theme, 'CommUNITY: Nagkakaisang Tinig Tungo sa Bagong Pilipinas,' magnifying and showcasing unity among government institutions by illustrating a whole-of-government approach in combating misinformation and disinformation while fostering a sense of unity among students and the youth. In a separate statement, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman joined the country in celebrating Communications Month and lauded the PCO for bringing 'accurate, timely, and useful information to inspire our people.' 'As communication plays a key role in our quest to establish an open, transparent, accountable, inclusive, and sustainable society, I fully support the mandate of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in recognizing the critical function of communication and information in nation-building,' Pangandaman said. 'With the Presidential Communications Office as the primary source of the administration's messages, I am optimistic that we will be able to realize the President's vision of having an informed citizenry - participating and engaging in constructive dialogues - which will always be critical in transforming our nation into a progressive and inclusive one, where no Filipino is left behind,' she added. Pangandaman also stressed the need to uphold wisdom and proper discernment, considering the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation 'that plant hatred, and oftentimes mislead our citizens.'

Source: Philippines News Agency