Day: 10/06/2017

Siphoning Political Livestreams: It’s A Post-Truth Thing

[Dedicated to Ralph Domingo]

LAST WEDNESDAY, the Senate probe on purveying fake news was a newsworthy story for the digitally savvy millenials in the toughest political age.

Mocha Uson in the Senate

Mocha Uson was grilled before the Senate last Wednesday for proliferating and purveying fake news.

In the said hearing, the senators, especially Nancy Binay, grilled Presidential Communications Office Assistance Secretary Mocha Uson and RJ Nieto (the webmaster of Thinking Pinoy) for proliferating disinformation and degrading opposition politicians while serving in their respective government positions. Other personalities present were Atty. Abigail Valte (the deputy spokesperson of predecessor Noynoy Aquino) and few representatives from the legitimate media.

The next hearing over the said topic will be announced later.

Being a legislative hearing of interest, livestreams from media outlets will definitely be the part of the drill. Anyone connected from social media will notify you real-time.

For its diehard supporters, it was an opportunity to siphon such sources and claim it as theirs without proper attribution.

Whenever some are so busy with important things throughout the day but they want to know what really happened to the country, they can simply search on to YouTube and voila!

Its search engine, the terms you input might land on diehard pro-administration YouTube channels than those from legitimate media outlets and that is a serious business.

How to spot a YouTube video from a die hard?

While fake news sites are obstructed through third-party web browser extensions, its YouTube channels, sadly, are not and thus, are definitely shareable in most social media platforms. However, it’s not difficult to spot a YouTube video that was created from a diehard supporter. Here are the five common signs.

Screenshot (38)

A screenshot of the famous Senate hearing last Wednesday. Look at Rappler’s (a verified YouTube channel); compare that to Tawanan at Balita PH or other similar channels.

  • The custom thumbnail abuse. This feature is one of the primary ways of deception. They take a screenshot, paste it on a graphics software, add some WordArt and it’s all set for publishing.
  • The loudmouth title. Most searches in caps lock (LIKE THIS ONE) in order to provoke and to grab their attention. The titles were usually defending pro-administration officials and shaming the opposition. Adding “PANOORIN” is not necessary but it is a decisive factor for their view count.
  • The consistent description structure. Most of the video descriptions usually follow the same structural formula as with their related uploads. That also includes the lack of any proper attribution.
  • The channel is not verified. A verified YouTube channel are those with a check mark and the prerequisite: they must have at least 100,000 subscribers. Thus, pro-administration channels might not reach that number and consequently, might not be verified.
  • The video content usually includes the titles. They are usually located at the top and/or bottom (in the letterbox format) or lower graphics (intentionally obscuring those from media outlets) rendered from their desktop-based non-linear editing software.

Aren’t they supposed to be prosecuted for infringement or are they exonerated and called it a legal piracy with state-sponsored blessing? This is where BusinessWorld’s article last November drives us now. Whatever they have done was credulous or simply in Filipino, nauto.

The Turf’s Insight

Siphoning off content from legitimate media organizations (such as ANC, GMA, Rappler, Inquirer, CNN Philippines, etc.) is somehow an indirect way of delegitimizing and discrediting its professional journalists in order to pursue their absolutist agenda without any checks and senses of right or wrong and to undermine his political opposition as “enemies of the state” with all their minds, hearts and souls.

Sadly, their eyes that were dictated by hasty generalizations, treated the press, which is considered the fourth estate, at par with terrorists (like the Maute Group) as the “enemy of the state.”

As mentioned last November, the culture of impunity did not just happen the traditional outside of goons, guns and gold but also in the cyberspace with keyboards, trolls and coins. Well, a study in Mexico finally holds true as our country was ranked worst over-all in such terms in their Global Impunity Index report from Universidad De Las Americas.

Think about it. According to Reporters without Borders (RSF), the Philippines is ranked 127th of 180 in the 2017 Press Freedom Index, which is situated at the “difficult situation.”  Given the social media age and the current circumstances, where will our country – that is significantly contributed to the global post-truth era – land in a few years that we asked and deserved?


P.S. For those readers in the United States who happened to have the same sentiment, you’re not alone.


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Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star. Screenshot grabbed by the author.

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