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Business, political groups call for action vs disinformation, hate speech

BUSINESS GROUPS on Monday called for action from the private sector and other players involved in the 2022 presidential race to help address online disinformation and hate speech, as Philippine politics become more polarized.

In a statement, the groups said the business community has “watched with concern” how social media and other platforms have been used by different parties to spread disinformation and hate speech in recent years, “resulting in erroneous beliefs, confusion, and division.”

“We watch with alarm how this abuse has spiked during this election season,” they said in a statement, noting that the abuses comprise lies, personal attacks, trolling, misogyny, communist-tagging, among other acts that put people at risk of physical harm.

“We fear the damage may be long-lasting.”

The groups urged businesses to evaluate the platforms they use for advertising “in terms of whether and how much disinformation and hate speech they allow.”

They also appealed to various media platforms to fully disclose how they are addressing disinformation and hate speech.

“We support ongoing efforts to create tools that businesses and advertisers can use to assist them in this evaluation in the near future, but commit to taking first steps now.”

The groups also urged politicians to not to engage in such abuses and exhort their supporters to remain civil.

“We call on operators of social media and other platforms to consider what they are allowing to happen, and declare to their users and the public the steps they are taking to stop or curtail this,” they said.

They also asked the public to evaluate politicians as well as media and communications platforms “and use their votes and clicks to promote truth and civility in the coming elections.”

The signatories of the statement include the Management Association of the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, Philippine Business for Education, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Retailers Association, Chamber of Thrift Banks, Energy Lawyers Association of the Phils., Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Filipina CEO Circle, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Investment Houses Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative, Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Cebu Business Council, Integrity Initiative Inc., Makati Business Club, Mindanao Business Council, and Subdivision and Housing Developers Association. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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