So is there really an army of “bots” that rampage through the Internet “trolling” social media and attacking hapless corporate news media sites? According to Maria Ressa, CEO of “social news media” site Rappler, there really is such an army of darkness.
Ressa insists that we are in the midst of a “propaganda war” and these armies of darkness have all but “weaponized the Internet”…
It’s a strategy of “death by a thousand cuts” – a chipping away at facts, using half-truths that fabricate an alternative reality by merging the power of bots and fake accounts on social media to manipulate real people.
Ressa also calls out social media site Facebook and blames the algorithm it applies to customising users’ social media feeds to prioritise display of the most “relevant” content for enabling Mocha Uson’s blog to “compete – and, often, beat – news groups.” This is because, Ressa haughtily points out, “algorithms don’t distinguish fact from fiction”.
Another Rappler “thought leader”, Chay Hofilena then chimes in on the third instalment of this grand conspiracy theory. According to Hofilena, the dark army of “bots” are also joined by an army of “sock puppets” in the grand plan to “weaoponize the Internet”. Sock puppets being, well, puppetsobviously have a puppetteer. This obvious fact about puppets notwithstanding, Hofilena just has to explain further…
Some of these sock puppets, aptly named because they act according to how a puppeteer motions them, post in existing online forums on Facebook – political groups, hobbyists, buy-and-sell, and even OFW groups…
Yes, now we know exactly what sock puppets are, Ms Hofilena. I’m glad you’re here to tell us these things.
Honestly, it’s actually quite hilarious the way all these “bots”, sock puppets, fly-by-night sites, and, yes, Mocha Uson’s blog happily run circles around a media behemoth like Rappler. Between them and the latter, guess who is complaining the loudest about what essentially is the way things simply are on the Net?
For an organisation like Rappler that spent much of its existence pontificating about the Net and what it means to succeed in its ecosystem, it seems it is turning out to be the least cluey — and the most whiny — about the emergence of cohabitants that actually successfully practiced what Rappler‘s “thought leaders” preached.
In essence, across a (so far) three-part treatise on the Internet landscape of 2016, Ressa and Hofilena whine about:
(1) How a guerrilla network of Internet “trolls” is terrorising a billion-dollar corporate club of monopolistic media companies in the Philippines;
(2) How Facebook’s relevance algorithm is making Mocha Uson’s blog such a serious enough threat to Rappler‘s existence that it forced no less than Her Excellency the CEO to get off her throne, take up arms, and lead the charge herself; and,
(3) How reality itself is being “manufactured” by a whole bunch of digital hands wearing digital socks that look suspiciously like K-Pop stars.
Oh, the humanity!
The world is a better place now that we all have been enlightened by God’s Gift to Philippine Journalism on what is really going on all over the Net.