News Release

PCO ties up with social media giants META, Google, TikTok to combat misinformation, disinformation

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) has joined forces with giant social media companies in the Philippines to collectively combat misinformation and disinformation.

PCO Undersecretary for Digital Media Services (DMS) Emerald Ridao emphasized in her speech the need to put an end to misinformation and disinformation efforts within the “digital sphere” against government programs and certain individuals.

“We are starting with our digital defense today because it is very clear to us that misinformation and disinformation campaigns against the government programs, and against the persons within the administration are increasingly prevalent,” Ridao said during the UniComm 2024 gathering held at the Bayleaf in Intramuros, Manila.

“And so, we’re hoping that together we can ban together and really put an end to this problem within our digital sphere,” she added.

The “Tech Talks” during the UniComm 2024 served as a rallying point for stakeholders from both the government and private sectors to unite in the fight against digital misinformation.

Discussions during the UniComm delved into strategies to fortify digital defenses amid the rising tide of misinformation campaigns targeting officials and government programs.

Present during the event were officials from META, Google, and TikTok who shared their invaluable insights and expertise on various aspects particularly on combatting misinformation and disinformation.

META Public Manager Genixon David reminded the public to always keep their social media accounts secured as he stressed the security of one’s social media account “is dependent on the security” of their account.

“As much as possible, let’s make our password strong and unique,” David said.

David said the public should avoid using their name, birthday, address or other identified as their passwords, and avoid re-using password in multiple accounts to avoid being compromised.

“The security check up will help you log out of unused apps and browsers, manager alerts, and strengthen your password. While the privacy check-up will help you review who gets in your posts and information from your profile, like your phone number and email address,” he said.

Google Head of Government Affairs Yves Gonzales said YouTube does not allow any content that poses a serious risk of harm by spreading medical information that contradicts local health authorities, or guidelines set by the World Health Organization.

Gonzales added that YouTube’s mission is to give the public a voice on social media and give them the go-to platform where they will learn, get entertained and to create an audience through their channel.

“YouTube has basically democratized having an audience, as an open platform, users like you, [like] individual users and governments come to YouTube on a voluntary basis and you have the full control over when, if and what kind of content you choose to upload,” he said.

For his part, TikTok head of public policy in the Philippines and Malaysia Toff Rada highlighted the significance of building “critical thinking” especially when users cannot distinguish between right and wrong content.

“Even if you remove the bad pieces of content, even if you put up the right pieces of content, if your user cannot distinguish between right and wrong, then it is of no use. So, I think we have to build that critical thinking,” Rada said.

Aside from discussing efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation, the conference also shed light on the tangible challenges faced by government agencies, including account hacking and the propagation of “fake news.”

Proposals were also discussed to alleviate the risks, which include abstaining from the widespread reporting of compromised accounts and advocating for the cultivation of critical thinking skills.

The PCO, META, Google and TikTok stood firm to confront online challenges and ensure to safeguard the integrity of public discourse. PND