SOCIAL media companies should impose stricter campaign regulations to increase information accountability in the digital space, communication experts said.

Marie Fatima Gaw, a University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman professor and project co-lead of elections watchdog project Digital Public Pulse, said digital platforms like Facebook should make both politicians and “intermediaries,” or those who campaign for politicians, accountable for the hyper-partisan content they propagate.

“Facebook, Google, [and other tech giants] can actually not only create literacy campaigns or create more rigorous content policy moderation but also try to investigate the insidious campaign industry that supports all this [propaganda],” Gaw said during the “e-Leksiyon: Taming Tech Titans” webinar on March 9.

Gaw, a researcher of algorithms, said these tech companies should ensure the flow of credible information beyond the elections.

Social media platforms use algorithms to sort content by looking into what a user views and spends time on, and then creating a personalized user experience.

Benjamin Bunquin, another project co-lead of Digital Public Pulse, said these algorithms are crucial in shaping public opinion since they can be a tool for manipulation by politicians and politician communicators.

“It’s all of these technological features that are malleable and can be manipulated by individuals who have malicious or who have that desire, really, to sort of influence public opinion. That’s really the biggest implications of the role of big tech in the elections,” he said.

Roy Tan, the head of politics and governance of the Asia-Pacific branch of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said the social media website’s policies are “ever-changing” and “ever being updated” to ensure that users see things they want to see.

“But having said that, I think it’s also important to know that we also realize that that could also be a double-edged sword in that sense. We do realize that we need to ensure that we have policies in place to ensure that what you want to see is also within the means of what you should be seeing,” Tan 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 role of technology giants in amplifying and limiting information flow during elections. Christine Joyce A. Paras


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