Here’s why the hate train vs Vice Ganda raised suspicions of a ‘demolition job’

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Here�s why the hate train vs Vice Ganda raised suspicions of a �demolition job�
Screengrab of Vice Ganda from "It's Showtime" episode on June 4, 2024.
ABS-CBN Entertainment via YouTube
This report forms part of Philstar.com's coverage of influence operations, which involve the spread of false information and propaganda that can mislead, cause confusion and prevent informed understanding and discourse. Read our explainer on influence operations. 


Here’s what the so-called “demolition job” against Vice Ganda teaches us about two common strategies used to attack a personality.

MANILA, Philippines — A popular Filipino celebrity has become the target of a coordinated social media campaign by mostly anonymous or previously dormant accounts, most of which posted similar or identical messages. 

After dealing with a misunderstanding about  a contestant's alleged inappropriate behavior on the noontime show "It's Showtime", Vice Ganda has become the subject of a wave of identical comments and posts questioning their and the show's credibility. 

At least five posts posted within hours of each other on Facebook on June 5 used the exact same words to accuse the show of "shaming innocent people." Several posts across TikTok and X (formerly Twitter) also imply that the show's staff, besides Vice, communicate in a dishonest manner.

Several social media users have called out the sudden criticism against Vice online, noting that accounts across multiple platforms appear to have used the same "script" based on their carbon copy comments criticizing the host.

Philstar.com's monitoring shows that several accounts mostly on X have been deployed to respond to these allegations of inauthentic behavior to assert that the criticism against Vice is legitimate. These dubious accounts mostly post hyperpartisan content in a coordinated and inauthentic manner.

This online campaign targeting a Filipino celebrity who has recently been praised for speaking up about current affairs has some of the markings of an influence operation that Philstar.com is tracking across all social media platforms, groups and spaces on the internet.

The presence of accounts that exhibit coordinated and inauthentic behavior is a mainstay in most influence operations that media has reported on. 

But these are usually deployed against public figures like Philippine Coast Guard Jay Tarriela, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte, with few or zero campaigns launched against celebrities.

In this report, Philstar.com explains how two common strategies typically used in influence operations have been deployed in the coordinated campaign against Vice Ganda. 

Strategy 1: Use of anonymous, dubious accounts 

Mostly anonymous or dubious accounts posted against Vice Ganda after a now-viral TikTok video uploaded on June 5 depicted a female "It's Showtime" contestant allegedly upset after being reprimanded by the show's staff.

The video came after Vice Ganda retracted their apology to a male contestant who the celebrity called out for appearing to kiss the female contestant on the cheek without her consent. 

The TikTok video posted on June 5 by a certain "Jhelo Bernabe" shows a blurred and spliced video of the female contestant crying after supposedly being coerced by the program's staff to pretend that she was offended by the male contestant's actions. Bernabe claims to be the former partner of the female contestant’s sibling.

The video has earned a whopping 7.8 million views and is interspersed with commentary from a male vlogger. It also has a text overlay that reads: "GRABE GINAWA NILA KAY CHRISTINE (THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG TO CHRISTINE)."

On the same day, Philstar.com identified two more TikTok videos uploaded by "Judayloveu" and "gengar0701" that gained millions of views. These videos expressed their "dismay" for the celebrity or accused Vice Ganda of similarly kissing a contestant without consent in the past. 

“Judayloveu” appears to mostly post about beauty pageants and entertainment content, while “gengar0701” posts about miscellaneous items being sold online. 

Screengrab taken on June 10, 2024.
Screengrab taken on June 10, 2024.

Both TikTok accounts do not display the real names of the people behind these accounts, but a social media search for “Judayloveu” turns up a certain “Jude Sagun” on Facebook who previously wrote for The Manila Journal. On June 6, “Judayloveu” posted a video denying that he was paid P8,000 to criticize Vice Ganda.

Meanwhile, several X accounts that contributed to the wave of criticism against Vice Ganda also do not show their real names. Philstar.com identified at least four that actively sought to discredit Vice Ganda and It’s Showtime while denying allegations of a “demolition job” against the celebrity.

These are the following:

  • @monorchaie, who Twitter user “@ardxnilo” noticed last posted in 2022 before they started to criticize Vice Ganda. The account has locked their profile. 
  • @KoreaEarings, whose account was created in June 2017. Their X bio reads: “Selling myself for a good price. DM for inquiries.” Most of their posts are one-sentence replies to other people’s posts on various topics, usually criticizing or insulting former President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • @aldrielreal, whose account was created in January 2024. All 1,273 of their posts since January are replies to other people’s posts on various topics.  
  • @happyfella11, whose account was created in October 2010. Before criticizing Vice Ganda in June, they last posted on February 7. Previously, they only routinely posted what appears to be viewership statistics of Eat Bulaga and It’s Showtime. 
Screengrab taken on June 10, 2024.

Some of these accounts also appear to be inauthentically engaging with other types of online content, with posts spaced within minutes or seconds of each other. 

For instance, users “aldrielreal” and “KoreaEarings” mostly post one-line or one-sentence replies to other people’s content within minutes of each other — a potential sign of inauthenticity due to the lack of original content. 

Both accounts typically will post five to eight posts within a minute or two of each other, before posting again after 20 minutes to a couple of hours, after which it will go back to posting within minutes. 

Genuine social media users typically have more varied posting times due to their different activities, schedules and interactions. In contrast, a repetitive posting pattern suggests automated behavior rather than spontaneous human activity. 

Strategy 2: Copypaste and astroturfing

Many comments and X posts appear to follow the same set of "scripts" or messages written word-for-word. Some accounts even use identical or nearly identical comments or posts.

Attempts to sway public opinion or shift public discourse about an issue typically involve the use and reuse of pre-approved comment banks, or “copypasta.” This refers to the short snippets of text that can be quickly reused to reply to posts. 

The goal is to flood threads or social media groups with these uniform messages, creating the illusion of widespread consensus or support for a specific viewpoint.  

There were at least two copypaste scripts or comment banks that fuelled the so-called hate train against Vice Ganda: first, that Vice Ganda and their "company" find fulfillment in "shaming innocent people;" second, that a case should be filed against Vice Ganda for "moral damages, emotional distress and social humiliation."


This alert/analysis/series was produced with support from an Internews initiative aiming to build the capacity of news organizations to understand and monitor disinformation and influence operations in the Philippines. 

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