A study on mobile technology and its social impact conducted by United States-based Pew Research Center ranked the Philippines on top of 11 emerging economies when it comes to the number of users who blocked someone because of politics.
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Pinoys block people over politics – social media study
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos are among those who are most comfortable talking about politics, although a recent survey showed that four in every 10 social media users in the Philippines have blocked someone because of their political views.

A study on mobile technology and its social impact conducted by United States-based Pew Research Center ranked the Philippines on top of 11 emerging economies when it comes to the number of users who blocked someone because of politics.

The results of the survey released last week revealed that 42 percent of the Filipino respondents said they have blocked someone because of their political views. Fifty-seven percent said they have not.

This is eight points higher than the average among those countries included in the study.

Following the Philippines is Kenya with 39 percent, Lebanon 37, Vietnam 36, Jordan 35, South Africa 34, Venezuela 25, Colombia 24, Tunisia 21, India 18 and Mexico with 17 percent.

The same study showed the Philippines topped the 11 countries in terms of discussing politics, whether on social media or face-to-face.

Eighty-one percent of Filipinos said they feel comfortable talking about politics face-to-face, while 72 percent said they are comfortable when using mobile phones.

“But although majorities of adults in most of the countries surveyed say they feel comfortable discussing politics in face-to-face settings, people are often less likely to feel comfortable talking about these issues on their mobile phones,” read the paper.

“Across the 11 countries, Filipinos are the most comfortable with using their mobile phones to discuss political issues: 72 percent of Filipino mobile phone users say they’d be comfortable doing so, including around a quarter who would be very comfortable,” it added.

Misinformation

The study showed that exposure to false or incorrect information is prevalent in 11 emerging economies, including the Philippines.

The survey, which had 2,487 Filipino respondents, showed that 68 percent have seen articles or contents that are obviously false or untrue.

The country ranked sixth, following Tunisia with 78 percent, Lebanon 76, Vietnam 72, Jordan 71 and South Africa with 69 percent.

Following the Philippines were Venezuela with 57 percent; Kenya, Colombia and India with 55 each and Mexico 44 percent.

Among the Filipinos who have seen false content, 67 percent believed that access to mobile phones, social media and internet have made it easier to manipulate people with false information or rumors.

Fifty-seven percent of those who saw false information said these technologies have increased the risk of people being manipulated by politicians.

Despite the high number of those who see false information online, 75 percent of Filipino netizens said social media and messaging applications have introduced them to a new idea.

“This highlights the double-edged quality of social media that people in these 11 countries perceive,” said Laura Silver, senior researcher focusing on global research at the Pew Research Center.

“They see and worry about the baleful effects but can also speak to its benefits. Even those who regularly see false or misleading content are not unambiguously critical of social media,” Silver added.

She said those who see false and misleading information view social media more negatively, particularly in dividing people politically and making it easier for politicians to manipulate them.

Aside from the survey, the study also conducted focus group discussions in the Philippines, Kenya, Mexico and Tunisia. The results have a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.

FILIPINOS POLITICAL VIEWS UNITED STATES-BASED PEW RESEARCH CENTER
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