Plunging deep into the disinformation vortex

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez - The Freeman

The word vortex as a literary device is to mean being in a dangerous or bad situation. When that person enters a vortex, it is difficult to escape. Using it in the context of the elections, we can say many individuals fell into a vortex. The vortex of disinformation.

Disinformation is the deliberate dissemination of false or inaccurate information to discredit a person. On the other hand, fake news is meant to falsify and fabricate supposedly news-based information. Its intent is almost similar, to harm and deceive people. The main platforms are social media where millions of users log in daily. The fall into this vortex is not a small leap. It is a gigantic plunge where it is difficult to be pulled out from. A single post can lead to multiple scrolls, clicks, and redirects. Because it captures attention, the move to get away from it is almost impossible.

In the midst of this unethical behavior on the internet during the election season are the journalists who carry the burden of desensitizing internet users by fact checking. Simply put, they are also duty bound to correct whatever false information is circulating. However, their efforts were not enough. The lies on the internet garnered horrendous reactions. Their numbers shoot up to millions in just minutes. From automated bot replies in the comment sections to genuine words from innocent users. In short, they succeeded in deceiving their audience. No amount of debunking through a decent conversation with the original uploader will convince them otherwise. It is likened to a disease; a cancerous tumor that can’t be removed.

If the Code of Hammurabi adopts the law of retribution where a form of retaliatory justice is applied, then the fact-checkers must have been that aggressive to get even. There is seemingly no aura on properly-written articles about the truth, let alone fact checks, to ordinary netizens. They are so engrossed with poorly-produced content made by fake pages and troll accounts. The network of disinformation worked well. It was not just based on what they made but also how they manipulated algorithms. The fight must have been also fought the way they did; with fire. This meant sponsoring posts, paying for boosts, and copying the same flavor their consumed content had.

The rest of the population who haven’t been pulled into the disinformation vortex must keep watch. The fact-checking initiatives should not be halted even if the electorate cast their votes. It should continue because the vortex keeps getting deeper. If unattended, we will not just be pulled into more lies. Those who succeeded will try hard to regain their lost reputation. The ones siding with the truth must also work twice as much as the liars.

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