I was very shocked when I saw a friend post about the death of Efren Reyes. After the initial shock, I realize that the link was one of those fly-by-night news sites that are only after the clicks and not the news value.
The first time I encountered these Pinoy sports-related click baits was in 2016, when, if I remember it correctly, three different Pinoy athletes were reported to have won the country’s first Olympic gold medal. Boy did those things go viral and that was before fact-checking was a thing online.
These sites love to take advantage of the Filipinos presence online. Well, a lot of influencers also do, but at least all these “Filipino” click-baits don’t publish fake news. Though sometimes, it’s annoying how far they’d go to put a Filipino spin in their posts.
And if you happen to check online, I think Efren Reyes is the most exploited Pinoy celebrity. Just check the scores of videos, normally only three minutes long since Facebook only monetizes videos that are at least three-minutes long. There’s a mix of his greatest shots of all time, greatest shots in his 60s, greatest shots in his youth.
Heck, there are even videos of people reacting to the same old videos and lately, the same old videos are shown, but this time, with a Tagalog commentator.
All of these videos, I’m sure earn the creators a lot of money but I’m also sure, not a cent goes to Efren.
I love some of the videos, especially those taken from Efren Reyes’ farewell tour since they show a lot of “out-of-this-world” shots that show how talented a player Efren is. But some of them are just a shade better than the fake news.
Of course, one can hope that social media companies will do something about sites that push fake news but if Twitter and Facebook only acted on Donald Trump when the US Capitol was raided, the two media giants acting on anything Philippine-related would take a while.
So please be careful the next time you hear of a Pinoy sports icon dying. Even posting the link with the comment, “Is this true?,” will be a favor for those shady sites.
And, of course, being careful with what you share online and being discerning with what you read online would be a good practice for 2022.