Sen. Panfilo Lacson recently revealed that a government “undersecretary” allegedly set up 2 troll farms in each province using government funds for the upcoming elections.
This is the reason why the Bayan Muna party-list has launched an investigation into the House.
According to the resolution, the troll armies are threatening internet freedom and even the upcoming elections.
The troll farm is an organized and systematic group that attacks supporters and political opponents using the internet.
Some of them, reposters, retweets, memes makers, and influencers who have many followers on their social networking sites.
They are paid for spreading fake news.
“If you have these troll farms amplifying misinformation, lies, even fake news, this will clearly impact how our people will decide in the conduct of an election… Can you imagine a president elected by trolls? So we’ll have a troll president for that matter,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate.
Congress wants probe on troll farms
Professor Jonathan Ong, a disinformation researcher at Harvard University, said that just before the 2016 election, troll farms flourished based on their studies and even in the 2019 midterm elections.
But now, he said, the trolls have changed their strategy to prevent their fake accounts from being suspended, especially since they can be easily identified as on Facebook.
“Disinformation and influenced operations are becoming more harder to track, becoming more targeted. So if you recall, in 2016, we have the so-called purveyor of fake news. These are high-level online celebrities or mega influencers. They have millions of followers on social media. Nakikita natin kung ano sinasabi nila. People can fact-check them. But in 2019 elections, [it] becomes more micro-targeted,” said Ong.
In 2019, he said, trolls also used parody accounts or fake politician accounts mixed with comedy and inspirational quotes to promote a politician.
It’s not obvious, but it does influence targeted online communities.
Campaign strategist Alan German said that the trolls have really changed their style due to the crackdown and fact check being done.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that anti-fake accounts should be reported and blocked immediately.