Worried by the prevalence of misinformation and use of abusive language in social media, especially by so-called “paid trolls”, a senator wants schools to educate, guide and develop students on responsible and proper social media use.
In Senate Resolution No. 173, Sen. Bam Aquino calls on the Senate to conduct an inquiry on the proper education and development of responsible social media use in schools.
“Our schools can play a critical role in guiding students to become ethical and productive digital citizens and to communicate properly and respectfully online,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education.
In addition, learning institutions can teach students on how to determine reliability and credibility of online news and views, practice digital safety and prudence and to create a positive digital footprint.
“Social norms, best practices, and guidelines for social media use are still evolving, which is why our children and the youth need guidance on proper and responsible social media use,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam pointed out the growing concern across the globe over how social media is increasingly being used and abused to spread fake news and misinformation.
“In the Philippines, this unfortunate phenomenon was observed widely during and following the recent national elections,” Sen. Bam said, mentioning social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
As a response, some of these social media companies have initiated moves to combat misinformation and fraudulent news that emerge online.
Recently, Facebook and Twitter joined over thirty major news and technology organizations in the First Draft Partner Network to collectively address “issues of trust and truth in reporting information that emerges online.”
The Network plans to share best practices and a collaborative platform for verifying news and stories shared in social media, and promote news literacy among social media users;
In January 2015, Facebook updated its News Feed to reduce the distribution of posts that users have reported as hoaxes. Annotations were also made to posts that were frequently reported as false or misleading so as to warn others on the platform.
Twitter, for it part, released new guidelines in December 2015 for the removal and moderation of abusive, hostile and offensive language on its platform.
According to latest data, the Philippines has the second highest social media penetration rate among internet users in Southeast Asia, with 39.7 million people, representing 74 percent of its internet users, regularly visiting a social network in 2015.