Ethical consideration for vloggers

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez - Agence France-Presse

I chanced upon a conversation with Boy Tapang whose real name is Ronie Suan in real life. He is a Cebu-based content creator whose vlogs center on eating, more known as “mukbang”. Suan also engages in other activities that would shock his audience. I figured that was his way of gaining followers, with his videos randomly appearing on almost everyone's algorithm. We talked about his recent issue where he used ?1,000 bills to make a kite. In a now-deleted video, he and his friends built the one-of-a-kind kite and flew it in their vicinity.

The internet was quick to notice how he was violating the laws on upholding our own currency. In fact, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas paid him a visit to investigate the incident and hear his side. In the end, he was given a chance to rectify his mistake by issuing a public apology. He was also told to make sure all similar videos were taken down by those who reposted it. Suan argued that the banknotes were not mutilated and that they only created the video for content. In fact, he mentioned the desire to create "extreme content" multiple times in our conversation.

I somehow understood where he was coming from. He is a person relying on viewer's engagement to boost his own monetization. He creates these "extreme" videos for a living, to think of gimmicks that were not done in the past. Suan is simply a slave to the political economy of social media by banking on the audience' wonder and excitement. This is so whenever he tries something new.   If the vlog had the intent to entertain, there should have been a disclaimer. Simply put, vloggers should instill ethical considerations in their content.

The government or any independent agency should consider regulating content on the internet as it is a medium today. Just like broadcast and print, there should be a watchdog on these kinds of platforms to make sure they do not induce harm, rebellion, or sedition. This is not a clamp on the freedom of expression but a safeguard to a friendlier cyberspace. While platforms are trying their best to implement these measures, the volume of videos is overwhelming. They need more sets of eyes to monitor.

Content creators may not be on the same level as journalists but they can be taught the basics of ethics. It is also a good move if platforms subject them to training prior to them being granted monetization status. We encounter problems like these regularly, yet are weak to call them out. The internet will become a saturated and dangerous space if we don't act now.

In order for us to continue enjoying finding relief in content that makes us laugh and wonder, standards must be set. Otherwise, they will continue to give the wrong impression to some or even be instruments to deceive. It is high time for our legislation to look into these matters so they can create laws that protect both the audience and the creators.

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