Even PNP now complains about fake news on Facebook, TikTok
Time was when social media was used for social good, but this is no longer true in the Philippines, particularly since 2016 when it was transformed into a tool for disinformation or misinformation by malicious paid hacks or simply ignorant fools.
Even the Philippine National Police is now complaining about fake news being spread on social media, particularly Facebook and TikTok.
“I call the attention of our public to be more mindful of what we are posting in our social media sites and refrain from spreading unverified information from unknown sources that may lead to public disturbance, panic and confusion,” Police Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., chief of the PNP, complained on Friday.
He said there has been a “sensational surge in social media reporting” of crimes, many of which had already been solved by the police.
Azurin made the appeal after the crime wave reported on social media contradicted his claim that the number of crimes in the country has been in a “steady decline” over a 12-year period since 2010.
Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon and the Muntinlupa police also complained on Friday about social media claims of kidnapping incidents in the city.
“Based on the investigation of the Muntinlupa PNP, the news is false and there is no reported kidnapping case in the areas that were mentioned in the posts and messages that were circulated,” Biazon said.
On Friday, Azurin ordered the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group to intensify its monitoring of social media and immediately probe the veracity of crime reports.
The anticybercrime group’s chief, Brig. Gen. Joel Doria, said that many videos of attempted rapes, attempted abductions and allegedly missing persons turned out that it happened years ago and were already solved by the PNP.
“The videos are being recycled while others are edited pictures that are posted probably to gain followers or to depict a picture of an unstable government,” Doria said.
To reassure the public, Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, said he has ordered increased police visibility in Metro Manila via the Tactical Motorcycle Riders Unit, which will now conduct night patrols as well.
But Estomo confirmed that his command’s investigation of crimes reported in social media turned out to be rehashed or completely false.
“We conducted an investigation regarding this sensational surge in social media reporting of crimes and we found out that most of these incidents were either false or were previously reported cases already categorized as solved in our database,” he said in a statement on Friday.
Based on NCRPO data, index crimes in Metro Manila decreased by 2.37 percent in July, compared with June after the administration of President Marcos took over.
Murder cases decreased by 17 percent, while rape cases went down by 13.5 percent. Carnapping incidents dropped by 51.85 percent, while theft cases declined by 8.38 percent.
“Actual data will not lie against mere social media hype. Indeed, we do not deny that crimes occur,” Estomo said.