Gone are the days that social media was just a tool of simple communication with your friends. Today, it’s also become a platform used to advertise businesses, news, and even propaganda. People can finally have their voices heard because they now have a virtual stage to speak on. While this may seem to be a good thing, it also has its fair share of consequences. People may find more friends and opportunities more easily the same way they can also get into fights and more toxic environments.
Social media in the Philippines is a different story all together. We have political keyboard warriors, cyber-activism, and people cursing at each other for having different beliefs and opinions on a daily basis. Therefore, signing up on media platforms lowkey means you’re signing up for these also.
The latest victim who took offence on a meme? Politician Alan Cayetano. While many are fans of memes on Facebook that satirically critique politics, Alan Cayetano was triggered by a specific post by Juan Nationalist. In the meme, Charlene Gonzales during her pageant days was used as a reference. The Binibining Pilipinas contest dated in 1994 featured the candidate being asked by host Bob Goen how many islands there are in the Philippines. To stall time, she answered, “high tide or low tide?” The makers of the meme replaced this to, “Before Duterte or under (after) Duterte?”
Upon seeing this, Cayetano was outraged. He quickly defended himself by saying, “If we lost a single island during Duterte’s time, I will pack my bags, go home and I will not serve the public in any elected or appointed position, but are you willing to do the same?”
Being a public figure, however, has its pros and cons and you gotta have a thick skin in an internet era. Especially Cayetano who is not only a public figure but an elected official prior to his appointment in the Department of Foreign Affairs. Cayetano could take the heat now and then and that is part of, may I remind him, political criticisms. And even in the form of memes critics have the right to take aim, especially in situations where the welfare of thousands of OFW in Kuwait is at stake.
But whether it be a private citizen or otherwise, maybe we should tone down the trolling a bit, after all these politicians have feelings, believe it or not.
Photo by Inquirer.net