Countering disinformation – tools and initiatives in the Philippines

The Philippines has in the past decade been fertile ground for wide and deep disinformation campaigns and is amongst researchers known as patient zero for election-related disinformation practices.

For over half a decade now, Filipinos have also topped the rest of the world in terms of time spent on the internet and social media on which much of the disinformation is peddled. The Philippines, like many other countries in the Southeast Asian region, does not have the regulatory oversight in place to address platforms or propagators of disinformation, nor does the majority of its social media users have the necessary cognitive resilience against disinformation. A 2023 study shows that 96 per cent of Filippinos are concerned about disinformation and blaim traditional media, as well as the government, influencers and the likes. Trust in all media has been weakened. As a result, a slew of initiatives and tools have emerged to address disinformation.

This paper was produced as input for discussions and sharing amongst IMS media partners and stakeholders working to counter disinformation in the South and Southeast Asia region at the second IMS Asia Regional Disinformation Learning Forum from 16 – 17 May 2023. It seeks to highlight innovative practices and initiatives to fight disinformation that have emerged in the Philippines over the last five-to-six years and takes a particular focus on multisectoral and all-of-society approaches taking into account, among other things, technology, gendered disinformation, agents and structures of disinformation. While the overall prevalence and consequences of disinformation have already been widely documented, the paper instead focuses on the initiatives and tools that have arisen and are active to counter disinformation and hold disinformers to account.

This study was produced by Rachel E. Khan and Yvonne T. Chua, University of the Philippines, and commissioned by IMS (May 2023)