From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 6): AFP warns netizens to cease support on Maute’s terror campaign in social media
“I called on netizens to avoid sharing in social media any posts that has to do with violence, terrorism or any malicious photos they notice while browsing their newsfeeds as these are all misinformation that only aggravate the problem that our country is facing right now,” underscored Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson of 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army, as he urges public to be wiser in using social media.
He considered it misinformation to mislead the army in the conduct of its operations. “However, we stay watchful and analytical of their postings because we want to protect the people and control the spread. Social media is very effective and the materials they produced propagate negative imprints or even cause a stigma of making feel people afraid,” he added.
Lt. Col. Herrera added that Maute terrorist groups are fond in using social media. “This is their way of expressing their twisted views and beliefs. They use it as a medium to radicalize young individuals and is being utilized to recruit and get support from individuals in the country and in other nations," he said.
When asked to give a figure as to the number of Maute individuals revolting in in Marawi City, Lt. Col. Herrera revealed an approximate of 300 to 400 insurgent Mautes.
“Reports are never true. They are not increasing in count, but they are burgeoning because we allow them through social media,” he remarked.
This is the reason why the Philippine Army established a social media team responsible to espouse in distributing information about the real situation in Marawi City.
Lt. Col. Herrera is also encouraging collaborative support from partner stakeholders and netizens to heighten the stories of heroism of soldiers rather than promote the messaging about terrorism and violence.
“We need others to help us. Developing a critical mass who would advocate in pinning down the Maute groups’ terrorism campaign in the cyber world is the true power of social media,” underlined Lt. Col. Herrera.
He also pushed for the use of hashtags #UnitedMarawi #UnitedAgainstMaute so that people may have deep realization about terrorism and its adverse impacts in communities.