Duterte, Facebook challenge media dominance in the Philippines

Duterte, Facebook challenge media dominance in the Philippines

- in Opinion

The dominant role of mainstream media as the primary gatekeepers of news and information in the Philippines took another big hit as social media giant Facebook has offered to live stream the inauguration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to its more than 40 million users in the country.

The offer was revealed by incoming Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). “I’m meeting with the guys from Facebook. They’re flying over and they’re offering, they’re proposing to stream the entire event, the entire inaugural,” he said during an interview.

The entry of Facebook into the inaugural picture brings to full circle Duterte’s unlikely path to the Philippine Presidency. A journey that would have been cut short if not for his millions supporters on social media.

From the moment the name of the erstwhile Davao City mayor was mentioned as a possible candidate for President, Filipinos from all walks of life took to social media to voice their ardent — some would even say rabid — support.

Lack of funds nothwithstanding, Duterte’s largely organic volunteer army of social media warriors succesfully took on not just the most organized and well-funded political machinery in the country but also the whole media establishment. And it came out victorious.

Given the largely social media-driven nature of the Duterte campaign, many of his supporters welcome the move of Facebook, and there is hope of a more inclusive system of sharing information with the general public.

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