DILG asks public to be wary of fake news; abduction by men in white van is a hoax

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) advised the public to be wary of fake news about a series of online viral videos of alleged abduction of persons for organ harvesting by men in a white van.

“The Philippine National Police (PNP) has confirmed as ‘fake news’ the latest viral video of the alleged abduction of a 10-year-old boy in Bulacan. There are unscrupulous people on social media who are doing staged videos of alleged abductions to sow fear among the people and to earn money,” said DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.

The DILG asked the public not be unduly alarmed but be vigilant and not to like and share unfounded and baseless videos that are meant to sow fear in the community. “If you have no personal knowledge of an alleged abduction or you are not sure of the source, we ask the public not to share or like it.” he said.

He said the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) is thoroughly investigating the recent series of viral videos of separate purported abduction of minors in Bulacan and Cavite and that of another person to identify the authors of these “fake news”.

“Secretary Año has directed the PNP to determine who are the perpetrators of these fake videos and file the necessary charges against them,” said Malaya.

Based on the result of Cyber Patrolling and Open Source Investigation of PNP-ACG, it was found out that no recent abduction transpired using a white van nor were there reported series of abductions lodged in police stations and news networks. The alleged abductions of unidentified persons using a white van has been circulating in social media platforms as early as 2016 but were found to be a hoax.

In its assessment of online social media platforms, the PNP has observed that viral news are being capitalized by Facebook Pages to gain more likes, shares, comments and interactions from their followers for profit.

“We wish to remind the public that the perpetrators of fake news earn money from your likes, shares and comments. We understand that you think you are only warning your loved ones but you are also unintentionally spreading fear. Let us not embolden these people any longer,” he said.

He instead advised the public to follow the following suggested countermeasures by the PNP:

1. Continue to be vigilant in their surroundings especially during night time and in secluded places;
2. Immediate report similar incidents to the nearest police station for appropriate police response;
3. Do not disseminate unconfirmed reports to chat groups or social media accounts which may cause fear and panic; and
4. Help suppress fake news by immediately reporting the post and the poster especially those that may cause public unrest. Report incidents of cybercrime to the PNP-ACG thru hotlines 09985988116; Tel: +63 (02) 414-1560 and Fax: +63 (02) 414-2199

Original Article at: https://dilg.gov.ph/news/DILG-asks-public-to-be-wary-of-fake-news-abduction-by-men-in-white-van-is-a-hoax/NC-2019-1310

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