Artlets Dean Marilu Madrunio speaks during the E-Leksiyon: Taming Tech Titans webinar on March 9.

FACEBOOK, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, also known as Big Tech, must engage in more fact-checking initiatives to combat disinformation, especially with the upcoming 2022 national elections, Dean Marilu Madrunio of the Faculty of Arts and Letters said.

Madrunio, citing Farjad Manjoo’s “Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us” column for the New York Times, said fact-checking should be part of these companies’ social responsibility because they have the power to influence decision-making in society.

“Little or no checking allows unscrupulous parties to spread disinformation or fake news through the facilities of these companies. As such, according to Manjoo, more efforts should be done,” the dean said in her opening speech during the “e-Leksiyon: Taming Tech Titans” webinar on March 9.

In the 2017 column, Manjoo said the five tech giants were among the top 10 most valuable companies in the US and had continually grown “stronger and richer” over time.

Because of the influence and reach of these tech companies, Madrunio said their products have become embedded in daily human life.

“A more interesting question relating to Filipinos at this time is: Will these companies have any impact on local and national elections in the Philippines this 2022?” she said.

According to the 2022 Digital Report, Google, Facebook, and Youtube (owned by Google) were the top three most-visited websites in the Philippines. Most of the country’s 48.10 million users primarily use the Internet to find information, the report said.

However, these websites, especially Facebook and Youtube, have also been infamously used to spread propaganda, misinformation and disinformation.

Facebook and Google have started partnering with news organizations, civil society groups, and academics for fact-checking of content on their sites.

“Indeed, while these companies help us in more ways than one, by making our daily lives convenient, we should also be wary about the disadvantages that they can bring. A few months from now, we shall be holding our elections where the use of information and communications technologies will play a crucial part,” Madrunio said.

E-Leksiyon: Taming Tech Titans was the eighth installment of the National Forum on Communication and Democracy: Philippine Elections 2022 series organized by the Philippines Communication Society (PCS) to discuss the impact of technology giants in amplifying and limiting information flow during the election season.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.