Internet virus

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Saturday, January 4, 2014


THE internet is a powerful tool for the spread of news and information. For example, at the height of Typhoon Yolanda, Filipinos abroad were able to gather updates through postings on Facebook or YouTube, or email messages from relatives and friends. But when power lines were cut off, quite a number of people remained uncertain as to the fate of family, relatives and friends.

For my part as a journalist, I am able to know the current issues that affect the Philippines and the world, all at the click of a finger. I am often asked how I am able to write columns about Cebu or the Philippines when I haven’t been in the country these past eight years. As early as 2 a.m.

Philippine time (7 a.m. in New Zealand), I get to read the news before these hit the streets in Cebu.

But while the technological connectivity has made the nations less distant, there are elements that betray the good intentions of the internet.

Remember that news on Sen. Jinggoy Estrada allegedly arrested in the US for non-declaration of a sizable amount of money he carried? That was false, but many had shared the posting to their friends.

There is a lot of garbage being spread, most recent is an article reporting on Pope Francis saying that there is no hell and Adam and Eve is just a fable. Of course, this is a hoax. Yet there are recipients who, instead of killing the sham, spread this by forwarding this to their friends.

There are even publications that make it their mission to make false stories to shock and to entertain, all in the name of freedom of expression.

While laws are in place to prosecute institutions or persons who besmirch the reputation and name of others, the practicality of the process come into question when the authors come from other jurisdictions.

Also, there are those who thrive on controversy, wanting to obtain publicity, positive or negative, to keep their names in the limelight. It makes us recall how Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian became famous. Both had sex tapes that proliferated in the internet.

While others would have retreated in shame, these two reality show “celebrities” made use of their sex caper as a springboard to careers of exposing their lives like these were everybody’s business.

It is therefore important for people who use the internet (and there are many of us) to be careful on when to press “Like” or click “Share,” because if we don’t then we can become carriers of a virus more dangerous and fatal to the recipient’s mind.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 04, 2014.

Opinion

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