The headline reads: “Duterte camp spent $200,000 for troll army, Oxford study finds.”
For the anti-Duterte camp, the “study” provides a ‘scientific’ ammunition for their continuing smear campaign against the popular Philippine president and his reform programs. Oxford University! Prestigious indeed!
But the Oxford study is nothing but a fallacy, especially as it pertains to the sections on the Philippines.
Just look at the references at the end of the study. The two citations that were the basis for the study’s conclusions regarding the Duterte troll army were — surprise, surprise — Rappler! Yes, the same Rappler that manufactured the infamous 7,000 “extra-judicial killings” (EJKs) under Duterte’s war on drugs. Manufactured without any solid proof, I might add.
It disappoints me that the Oxford study authors based their conclusions on ‘opinion’ pieces/reports published by a notably biased news source.
$200,000 or P10 million may seem like an extravagant amount to spend for a social media “army troll.” But as Duterte himself, admitted, it was an amount used during the presidential campaign — no different from the PR, media or propaganda campaigns and funds put in place by all political parties in support of their candidates in an election.
It is quite convenient for the anti-Duterte folks to make a big deal about the funds spent for a social media campaign. But taken in the context of what political parties spent in the elections prior to 2016, we can see that Duterte’s party, PDP-Laban spent the least among the major political parties:
Lastly, the Oxford study gives the wrong impression that Duterte continues to have a PAID troll army to help boost his popularity, defend his actions, and ward off the opposition’s criticism against his administration.
Most of Duterte’s so-called social media warriors are volunteers, concerned individuals who believe in the president and the changes that he has initiated and continues to pursue for the country.
Duterte does not really need to employ a paid social media troll army. His popularity and the support for his programs and policies are already evident among those that matter most: an overwhelming, super majority of the Filipino people.