Commentaries

We Live In A Virtual Dictatorship

We are now living under the Dictatorship of the Mob.

I don’t want to post political blogs in my site, after the dangerously divisive Elections which had just concluded in the Philippines. But I cannot take anymore the slutshaming and cyberbullying that is being done to the critics of the opposite side.

Recently, one famous supporter of the current President posted what is said to be the profile picture of the editor-in-chief of the student publication Matanglawin of the Ateneo de Manila University, after being subjected in their annual lampoon issue. The issue is still burning hot until now.

The teenaged editor-in-chief, according to his profile, worked as an intern in the online news website Rappler, which most supporters of the current President so hated much.

This is one example of where we are living right now: in a dictatorship of the mob.

Journalists, actors and even staunch supporters of the current President who made criticism about him or his rule are subject to cyberbullying. All of their past actions even while still in their mothers’ wombs, no matter how minute, are being revealed just to make them appear evil, even their sex scandals are being revealed to the public, and in many cases, false news are being constructed to make them appear they’re on the dark side. Or are they have to sell their victims’ passwords?

The practice of cybermobbing has been prevalent in the Philippines as soon as Facebook became popular in the country. Photos and videos of wrongdoings had been shared and their perpetrators bashed and shamed. The victims do resort to shutting down their social media accounts, unable to take the rage of the mob through hate and death threat messages sent to them. Whoever thought that this action will be used against critics of certain politicos?

This is just as dangerous as the typical dictatorship where critics of the government are harassed by the police. But this time, it was the mobs’ doing. And many people are being intimidated on criticizing: they will surely be marked as ‘biased’, ‘enemies’, or ‘members of the narco cartel’.

For now, gone are the civilized discussion. The political life in the Philippines is deeply divided more than ever. This is a cyber civil war, this is a cyber dictatorship.

And sometimes I even thought, that strict regulation of social media and the harsh implementation of the Cybercrime Law, which itself had been largely controversial and bashed, must be enforced. The mob rage had gone too far. Debates had already gone too awful: it is not anymore the issues that are being discussed, but the personal lives of the personalities. It has been a double-edged sword: while it may quell cybermobbing, it can also be used to crush anti-government criticism (what’s more on dissent). The Philippines is in the hopeless state.

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