The global trend of democratization insofar as accessibility to modern technology goes has rapidly grown, which has made the communication of information more and more decentralized from giant outfits. Gone are the days when information and knowledge could only come from legacy media and the academe. New Media, especially social media, has transformed every receiver of information into content providers themselves. As of 2018, the number of Filipinos who use social media reached 76 million. In the same year, the average number of hours Filipinos have spent on social media was 4 hours and 8 minutes, ranking as number one in global statistics for seven years since 2012 making the Philippines the social media capital of the world.
Knowing the great impact of social media in the country, different groups are capitalizing on such to promote their ulterior motives. Marketing firms catered to politicians rely on cyber-troll armies that create multiple fake social media accounts to boost their image and attack opponents. In 2018, the private data of some 1.2 million Filipino Facebook users were harvested by Cambridge Analytica. This data was used for Filipino clients of its parent company SCL group, which prides itself in psychometrics to influence the behavior of groups of people through targeted messaging. Reports showed SCL operating through local proxies with clients such as President Duterte and Bongbong Marcos, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who ran with Duterte as Vice President but lost in 2016.
Since the start of the automated election system in the Philippines, watchdog groups or anyone interested in guarding and ensuring a democratic election has clamored for transparent and accurate automated election system (AES). New media—especially social media—has been used as a multi-purpose tool in pursuing reforms in the electoral experience of the Philippines.
Formed in 2010, VoteReportPH started as a grassroots-based electoral campaign by the Computer Professionals’ Union during the first national automated election in the country. It aimed to inform, organize, and mobilize the Filipino people to push for meaningful reforms in the elections with the aid of new media technology. It sought to orient the masses on the nature of Philippine elections in the context of electronic voting, as well as monitor and document occurrences of electoral fraud and other problems related to the AES.
With the upcoming 2022 national elections, VoteReportPH will once again be at the forefront of one of the pillars of our exercise of democracy—the electoral process. With the capability and expertise of the ICT sector in the field of new media technology, especially social media, and the AES, its potential to bring significant contributions to a better Philippine elections is crucial. Buoyed by the lessons learned from the previous 2 incarnations of the campaign with the elections relying on AES, the scale can no longer be sufficiently covered by CPU alone. There is also a need for VoteReport PH to provide a more comprehensive, multi-perspective, and representative view of the elections from the ICT sector, which would require more hands on deck to accomplish. Additional people on board would also help ensure that the campaign can monitor and cover as much ground as possible. Hence, VoteReportPH will become an alliance of ICT organizations and individuals in order to engage more from the ICT community to participate in the electoral process. Partnerships with different organizations and individuals outside the ICT sector will still be done in order to inform, organize and mobilize the grassroots.
Interested individuals and organizations can email us at [email protected].
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