Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trending Now: Hate Pages

Around two weeks ago, a support page was made for a worker in Ateneo de Manila University, who was accused of stealing a student's Blackberry. Some say that the student merely wanted to go through the legal process (which meant having the said worker investigated by the administration), but thousands of others came to back the said worker, throwing their support, while at the same time bashing the student for the making the accusation and wanting an investigation.

Last week, netizens created hate pages where they unabashedly hurled abusive and derogatory remarks against Christopher Lao. We all know the story.

This week, a number of shared posts in my Facebook newsfeed is about an allegedly corrupt customs officer. A photo of the said officer was uploaded in the creator-complainant's account, together with a long narrative of the alleged conversations between her, another person and the said officer. In the comments of the original post and the re-posted ones, a good number of those who left comments bashed and insulted the said guy, while a few others say that "yan dapat ang ginagawan ng hate-page."

Is this the new trend? Dislike someone? Make a hate page! Want to support one accused of a wrong? Create a support page! Abhor that corrupt official who extorted money from you? Start a hate page! From there, ask friends to re-post and gather followers to support the cause you are advocating. If you are a lucky bastard, you might see the object of your love / hatred, whichever is the case, trending in social networking sites and possibly even be picked up by the news.

However, at the other end of the spectrum is the subject of the said pages, feeling helpless and unable to defend oneself from all the bashers and haters. The person cannot stop the posts from going viral, take back the insults thrown at him (which haters say are merely an exercise of their right to free speech) and probably, at least realistically and practically speaking, cannot file and defend a prosperous lawsuit against the bashing netizens, given that there is no law yet addressing the same and that the DOJ, in an 2009 case, ruled that there is no such thing as internet libel.

What recourse can one possibly take? After all, in the coming weeks, who knows... the next victim could already be you.

PS: This author refuses to post the links to the aforementioned pages. You can easily search the same in Facebook.

Entry # 8 by Diana Margaret C. Lauron

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