Issue of November 11, 2018
     
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Group taps young people to be "ambassadors for truth"
by Jane B. Cadalig

Young people in Baguio have been tapped to join the country’s network of fact checkers, composed of people who are in the frontline of fighting disinformation and misinformation that are now dominating cyberspace.

Fact Check Philippines brought to the city its Media and Information Literacy Caravan that aims to train the youth to become “ambassadors for truth” by equipping them with the knowledge and skills on how to identify and counter false information on social media.

The group conducted a seminar-workshop for Baguio students at the University of the Cordilleras on Nov. 8, in which the participants learned how to spot “fake news” or disinformation, misinformation, or malinformation that are spread on social media.

The participants were also assisted in coming up with strategies on how to counter the spread of disinformation and misinformation on social media.

Fact Check Philippines Program Officer Tiffany Jungco said the caravan in Baguio is the group’s ninth leg.

She said they aim to establish Fact Check Baguio by assigning ambassadors for truth in the city who will lead in fighting misinformation and disinformation here.

Von Carlo Yacob, one of the pioneer ambassadors of Fact Check Philippines, said they aim to build communities of fact checkers or verifiers in each area where they hold the caravan by training young people to become ambassadors for truth.

“We are doing this to help our society counter disinformation in our online space,” he said.

Pinoy Ako blogger Jover Lario said in this age of misinformation and disinformation, the help of the communities in fact checking will go a long way in cleansing social media.

“At the end of the day, all we want to achieve is to fight lies, regardless if these are local or national (in scope). In this era of misinformation and disinformation, we want to build communities of verifiers who will be (be proud) to say that they have been at the right side of history,” Lario said.

Misinformation and disinformation on social media are collectively termed as “fake news,” which media and communication experts claim to be an oxymoron.

Jungco said misinformation occurs when a report only missed a point or the error is not intentional, while disinformation is intentional.

“Disinformation is intentional. Systematic ‘yung paggawa ng false information, which is often aimed at destroying someone else’s reputation,” she said.

Malinformation, meanwhile, entails the twisting of news or story to serve an audience or an agenda.

Yacob said that during the caravan, Fact Check Philippines also explains to the participants that misinformation and disinformation is not the same with satire.

He said that while Fact Check Philippines is fighting disinformation, it also respects the freedom of expression of individuals who engage in satires, usually done by artists and comedians, among others.


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