PCO urges public to report disinformation, fake news
The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Wednesday advised the public, particularly the youth, to report the false information they encounter on social media platforms and refrain from sharing it to counter misinformation and disinformation.
“When you do realize that you have come across false information, report it, don’t share it. The spread of misinformation and disinformation ends with you. It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the truth in an age where falsehoods threaten to obscure it,” PCO Undersecretary Emerald Ridao said during the “Maging Mapanuri” Conference on Media and Information Literacy at the New World Hotel in Makati City.
“As we unite in our unwavering commitment to the truth, we will conquer what was once a daunting monster of misinformation. Together, we shall forge a future where the pursuit of truth stands above all else,” she said.
During the conference, Ridao promoted the PCO’s “stop to spot” approach in responsible information consumption and to counter misinformation and disinformation.
‘Stop to spot’
Ridao said the “stop to spot” approach can be used as a practical guide in dealing with information that one is not quite fully knowledgeable about.
“Stop to spot the source: Ask yourself, who is sharing this information? Are these posts and articles from random people on the internet, or are they from certified experts on the subject matter? Remember that the source matters. Credible, verified sources are more likely to provide accurate information,” she said.
“Stop to spot the purpose: Why is this information appearing on your feed? Is it trending because it’s sensationalizing certain angles, or is it genuinely sharing factual information? Understanding the purpose behind the content can help you separate fact from fiction,” she added.
Ridao also told the conference participants to trace the ownership of the information and content, whether they are shared by credible organizations or individuals genuinely committed to truth, or they are pretending to be something they are not.
People should also “stop to spot the time” by scrutinizing the timeline of the information release, whether it is new, old, or possibly outdated and irrelevant information disguised as news, she said.
Ridao said the “stop to spot” method is part of the PCOs focus on educating the public, rather than policing, to address the misinformation crisis.
According to her, policing the internet and stamping out every falsehood would be a never-ending battle which is why the PCO relies on education to address the challenge.
Seeing the youth’s hunger for knowledge, boundless curiosity and willingness to become responsible citizens, Ridao said that the PCO has turned its attention to the untapped potential of the young people.
Partnering with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is the right approach because educating the next generation is the way forward, she added, as she recognized the critical role of teachers and educators.
For her part, PCO assistant secretary Patricia Martin said she anticipates that Wednesday’s discussions would equip participants with the tools, knowledge and strategies needed to combat misinformation and disinformation effectively.
“We hope that, in the midst of these enlightening conversations, you will also find enjoyment in the camaraderie of like-minded individuals who share the same dedication to truth and accuracy,” Martin said.
The PCO launched its media and information literacy campaign last Aug. 14, with the DepEd, CHEd and the interior and social welfare departments as key partners in the public sector.
The initiative primarily targets equipping teachers in state universities and colleges and public schools to teach students how to combat fake news, misinformation and disinformation.