Online world and the coming campaign

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    ‘Many more incidents of social media indelicacies will happen and will be reported as the nation prepares for another grueling election campaign for the 2022 elections.’

    VICE President Leni Robredo was more amused than angry when shown a supposed picture of her making the rounds of social media in which she was supposed to take the COVID-19 vaccine in a most unusual fashion.

    Robredo described the fake photo as “ridiculously funny” because she was seen getting the jab through the sleeves of her blouse. The Vice President was later told that the woman in the picture is Dr. Flordeliza Grana of Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center and she was wearing a blouse with slits. The Vice President is inured to being ridiculed and lambasted on social media, and reacts only to those that can be considered “below the belt.”

    Robredo recently said the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine should be subjected to all the local procedures of accreditation and not be allowed to cut short the process, as it had reportedly done. These remarks got the goat of President Duterte who hurled volleys of profanities against Robredo in a televised speech on Monday.

    Another victim of unfair treatment in soc-med is James Jimenez, spokesperson of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Jimenez took to Twitter to share a false post of the Facebook page called “Showbiz Fanaticz” which claimed that he supports the “Run Sara Fun” campaign. This visibility campaign is most evident in thousands of tarpaulins placed in strategic areas of Metro Manila and the provinces urging the presidential daughter and Davao City mayor to run for president in 2022.

    Both the Vice President and the Comelec spox asked the public to help them report the offending posts and, in the case of Jimenez, “for being false and intentionally misleading.”

    It is true that James Jimenez will always uphold the poll body’s policy of being non-partisan and he really did not do or say anything that may be construed as endorsing the tarpaulins’ message. What he did was just to clarify what the law says on this matter. That the tarpaulins and other paraphernalia carrying the same message do not violate the elections laws.

    Jimenez explained: “Technically, there is no violation because in order for premature campaigning to be committed, there should be an official candidate.” There is no official candidate yet, and the campaign period for national bets will start on Feb. 8, 2022 yet. And another Supreme Court decision, quoting Congress, says that a candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the start of the campaign period.

    Many more incidents of social media indelicacies will happen and will be reported as the nation prepares for another grueling election campaign for the 2022 elections. It is time for the owners and management of Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram and other social media platforms do better in fact-checking, ferreting out pornography, blatant libel, hate speech and other spurious content.