Social Media Pollution

The physical environment is taking its rest and undergoing major cleansing due to the reduced number of vehicles plying the streets and minimal operation of industrial and commercial businesses. We hope and pray that the social media environment also gets to have its own share of rest from the toxicity it has been saddled with during the last few weeks of the Enhanced Community Quarantine implementation.

Due to the existing Enhanced Community Quarantine Policy being implemented by the National Government in many parts of the country, citizens are forced to stay at home except for workers providing essential services. Due to the lack of pre-occupation, many citizens are forced to spend majority of their working hours on social media to check local and global updates on the COVID19 crisis, update and interacts with friends and family on their whereabouts, and even post funny videos via the popular application “Tiktok.” Unfortunately, there are also some users have also vented their negative and toxic views and perspectives on the government's handling of the COVID19 virus through various social media platforms.

Social media is often considered as a marketplace of thoughts and ideas. However, never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine that people would have as much time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they have today due to the lockdowns implemented locally and worldwide. People's news feeds have never been so flooded with status posts from ordinary citizens, celebrities, social influencers and politicians.

While there are a good number of inspirational stories that have been shared by diligent and responsible social media users, some have taken advantage of the situation by making money out of sharing fake news, instigating calls for the President's ouster in the midst of a serious crisis, and sharing irresponsible and misled posts about both citizens and government's failures in dealing with the crisis.

The unpleasurable experience of witnessing hate speech, use of vulgar words and negative propaganda in most of our social media feeds has taken its toll on people looking for some semblance of hope in these trying times. Worse, some people are led to think that the majority's groupthink is correct even if the arguments and points are illogical to a rational person's mind. It has become so toxic, dismaying and frustrating for regular social media users to be reading up on their various social media platforms. The situation has forced them to temporarily distance and disengage from social media use.

Social media has never been this polluted than it was before. During election season, the exercise of reading news articles and posts is very stressful. I never imagined today would be much worse than election season.

The physical environment is taking its rest and undergoing major cleansing due to the reduced number of vehicles plying the streets and minimal operation of industrial and commercial businesses. We hope and pray that the social media environment also gets to have its own share of rest from the toxicity it has been saddled with during the last few weeks of the Enhanced Community Quarantine implementation.

I have decided to stay away from social media use for the meantime. I hope you have made that sacrifice as well with the recently concluded Holy Week which is considered a time for personal reflection.

Stay safe everyone from COVID-19 and from the polluted social media environment!

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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