With Filipinos scattered all over thousands of the country's islands and the rest of the world, social media has become an invaluable tool for our countrymen to get the latest news and updates about current events. Filipinos are the most engaged people in the world on social media, which has become the first stop for many people for getting news updates.
Social media, for the most part, has been a tool for empowerment. In the past, media managers and editors have been the sole gatekeepers when it comes to choosing the news reports that are produced and written, and eventually viewed and read by people. Social media has turned that dynamic on its head: tools are available for people to take up the mantle as citizen journalists, while any regular Facebook user has a newsfeed customized to his preferences -- because news delivered to the user is tailored to his interest and behavior, as if it were a publication with headlines and stories edited to his taste.
But social media is far from perfect. One of the pitfalls we've seen on social media has been the proliferation of fake news articles and memes, which are then shared and re-shared to bigger audiences. In this case, social media becomes a powerful tool for disinformation instead of enlightenment.
Because of this, GMA News Online is starting up the #HindiTama project, which aims to put in check some of the viral hoaxes that spread on social media. We believe that whichever part of the political spectrum one falls on, fake news doesn't do anyone any favors, and only serves to undermine the power of social media to enlighten.
The #HindiTama project will produce articles that will call out fake news and inaccurate memes, to hopefully help keep inaccurate information from spreading.
However, these articles are only one part of the project. The other part lies with users; because of social media, they've become as involved as gatekeepers of news and information as media managers and editors. We believe that they will be key for any project such as this to be successful.
With articles from the #HindiTama project, we hope to provide a tool for users to be able to help combat disinformation. When one sees a fake news article or a meme with wrong information, a user can simply cut and paste the URL of the #HindiTama article onto the comment on the post. It can be a gentle and respectful way to tell a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or fellow netizens not to believe the article, and encourage them to take the post of the fake news down.
To start, we've published these articles to begin the series:
1. Hindi Tama: Sites claim FVR tested positive for drugs, died in hospital
2. Hindi Tama: Video shows how to make a wireless smartphone charger at home
3. Hindi Tama: Photo purports to show relief operations for Typhoon Lawin
4. Hindi Tama: Graphic compares Supertyphoon Lawin with Supertyphoon Yolanda
5. Hindi Tama: Site claims Trudeau gave 'fullest support' to drug war