Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa has used her newfound notoriety to criticize Facebook as a threat to democracy, saying the social media giant does not protect against the spread of hatred and disinformation and is ” biased against the facts ”. The veteran journalist and director of the Philippine news site Rappler said after winning the award that Facebook’s algorithms “prioritize spreading lies mixed with anger and hate with the facts.”
His comments add to the heap of recent pressure on Facebook, used by more than 3 billion people, which a former employee-turned-whistleblower has accused of putting profit ahead of the need to tackle hate speech and disinformation. Facebook denies any wrongdoing.
Wanted to comment on Ressa’s remarks, a Facebook spokesperson said the tech giant continued to invest heavily to remove and reduce the visibility of harmful content. “We believe in press freedom and support news organizations and journalists around the world as they continue their important work. “
Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for what the committee called braving the wrath of Filipino and Russian leaders to denounce corruption and bad government, in an endorsement by the freedom of expression under fire from critics around the world.
Facebook has become the world’s largest news distributor and “yet it is biased against the facts, it is biased against journalism,” Ressa said. “If you don’t have facts, you can’t have truths, you can’t trust. If you don’t have any of these, you don’t have democracy, ”she said. “Beyond that, if you don’t have facts, you don’t have a shared reality, so you can’t solve the existential problems of the climate, of the coronavirus.”
Ressa has been the target of intense social media hate campaigns from supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, who she says were aimed at destroying her and Rappler’s credibility. “These online social media attacks have a purpose, they are targeted, they are used as a weapon,” the former CNN reporter said. Rappler’s reporting has included a close examination of Duterte’s murderous war on drugs and a series of investigative reports into what he says is his government’s strategy to “militarize” the internet, using bloggers on his website. paylist to anger online supporters who threaten Duterte’s critics. Duterte has not commented on Ressa’s price.
Filipinos lead the world in terms of time spent on social media, according to 2021 studies by social media management companies. Platforms like Facebook have become political battlegrounds and have helped bolster Duterte’s base of support, having been instrumental in his electoral victory in 2016 and the rout of his allies in the midterm polls. last year. The Philippines will hold elections in May to choose a successor to Duterte. who, under the constitution, is not allowed to run for another term. This campaign “will be a battle for the facts,” Ressa said. “We will continue to make sure our audience sees the facts… We are not going to be harassed or intimidated into silence.”