A group of Filipino-American citizens has launched an aggressive campaign to unmask internet trolls believed to be “at the forefront of widespread disinformation that is heavily influencing the Philippine elections.”
Calling themselves the US Filipinos for Good Governance (USFGG), the group called on Meta/Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to immediately remove fake posts and accounts “maliciously tagging independent presidential candidate Leni Robredo a communist terrorist”
“Our country has become extremely polarized through vigorous troll activity” said Eric Lachica, USFGG Washington DC coordinator.
The drive, dubbed “TrollExposer.com” is a website dedicated to exposing troll pages, accounts, and groups on Facebook.
“Corrupt, powerful and wealthy politicians have financed behemoth troll armies for this upcoming election, frequently with the help of the Philippine government and foreign state sponsors, such as China. While the rampant disinformation clearly favors him, presidential aspirant and son of the former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
continues to deny he has trolls and has even challenged the public to find a single troll of his,” the USFGG said in a statement.
The group said it has “exposed” a hundred Marcos trolls, who have coordinated with each other through fake accounts, to spread fake news in sustained malicious attacks against the leading opposition presidential candidate, Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Trolls have found fertile ground in weakly regulated social media to saturate the public with disinformation. These lies have been allowed to spread through Facebook for years. Having the presidency decided based on lies that re-write history and hide the fact that much of this troll activity is state-sponsored would be a tragedy,” he said. “We hope it is not too late to detoxify the minds and hearts of our people.”
“Fact checkers and efforts by social media platforms to limit disinformation have not been enough to stop it. Troll Exposer is a new weapon in the arsenal against disinformation.” said Liz Derr, founder of Troll Exposer.
“Rather than focusing on content, Troll Exposer publicly exposes the social media accounts that are spreading this harmful disinformation so everyone can see who these liars are,” she said.
People are desperate to understand what news can be trusted, who they can believe, and what can be done to save our democracies from further division. TrollExposer.com provides analysis of the troll networks and activities, and the direct links to the troll Facebook accounts so that the public can explore the pages of the trolls themselves.
Now people don’t need to trust sources they might view as biased. They can literally do their own research to discover the activities of the trolls, and find out if the content they view online is actually the result of a covert influence operation, rather than authentic narratives from real people.
“If we can’t get social media platforms to enforce their own community standards, then we need to act ourselves. It is the right of every person to defend themselves from being manipulated by false information,” said Loida Lewis, US Filipinos for Good Governance National Chair. “That’s the reason we turned to Troll Exposer. The spread of harmful disinformation, manipulated narratives, and false propaganda needs to stop,” she said. “We’re calling on Mark Zuckerberg and Meta/Facebook to immediately take down these fake posts and disable the trolls identified in TrollExposer.com to reduce the disinformation on his platform in the lead up to the May 9th election.”
The false narratives and propaganda that get spread by trolls on social media allow dictators and kleptocrats to weaken democracies around the world. We’ve seen how dangerous disinformation and conspiracies can be in the US. In the Philippines, the danger is great and the need for action is urgent. The vitriol and divisiveness created by these trolls is making a January 6th-type event in the Philippines more and more probable, regardless of the outcome of the
election. Meta/Facebook must act immediately to help protect our democracy by removing the lies that have divided us.