Panay News

‘New animal of disinforma­tion’ may rise in 2025 election

- ( Jean Mangaluz © Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should brace itself for a “new animal of disinforma­tion” for the 2025 elections, warned the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) on Tuesday.

In a committee hearing for House Bill ( HB) 2820, or a proposal for the “Fair Elections Act” from Quezon 4th District Rep. Keith Micah “Mike” Tan, the challenges of disinforma­tion proliferat­ing on social media during campaign season were tackled.

There, Lente Executive Director Ona Caritos said that Comelec’s Campaign Finance Office ( CFO) lacks the manpower and expertise to tackle the changing nature of disinforma­tion sufficient­ly.

“Nung 2016, 2019 po, iba yung disinforma­tion. It’s continuous­ly evolving, so we also need to capacitate our Commission on Elections, specifical­ly the Campaign Finance Office, to better address the future problems kasih in dilan gitoyung disinforma­tion na makikita natin. It will evolve by 2025,” said Caritos.

According to Caritos, the CFO operates on an ad hoc basis and is not permanent. She recommende­d that the bill should include a provision that will give the office a permanent staff that has data analysts as well, on top of lawyers and accountant­s.

“There’s a need for data analysts to monitor better what’s going on, especially in the disinforma­tion world,” she said.

Based on Lente’s media monitoring, the 2022 elections saw the emergence of microinflu­encers, said Caritos, which is a new developmen­t from past elections.

“We’ll see a new animal of disinforma­tion, and we would want Comelec CFO to be better prepared to address this new animal of disinforma­tion by 2025,” she said.

The committee took note of these suggestion­s, which will be taken into account during the revision of the bill.

HB 2820 seeks to “regulate the use of the internet and the social media as a lawful election propaganda” while empowering Comelec to monitor partisan activities. The law also aims to help enforce t he Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The bill was approved during the hearing, and will now undergo second reading.

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