New videos on data privacy, AI to help boost Filipinos’ digital literacy

The University of the Philippines (UP) Journalism Department launched the second batch of its Media and Information Literacy (MIL) project on Thursday, April 25, featuring five new episodes.

As part of the project’s fifth module on digital literacy, the new set of videos will discuss data privacy, copyright and artificial intelligence (AI), online etiquette, internet scams and algorithms.

UP Journalism Department chairperson and broadcast journalist Kara David said the selected topics were a response to viewers’ requests as they aim to teach more Filipinos how to properly use the internet and avoid scams.

“Na-realize namin na ang dami-dami pa nating kailangang matutuhan tungkol sa pag-navigate ng internet. And this is the reason why we produced five additional video tutorials,” David said.

In 2023, the Anti-Cybercrime Group of the Philippine National Police recorded 19,884 cybercrime cases, with online scams comprising 55.67 percent of the total number.

The Philippines also had the highest shopping scam rate according to the 2023 Asia Scam Report.

Even veteran journalists Ruth Cabal and Karen Davila were not spared from being victims of online scams and cyberbullying incidents.

Cabal, who hosted one of the new episodes alongside Davila, recently became the subject of a “deepfake” – a manipulated, AI-generated video that copies a person’s voice and appearance. 

In the video, she appeared as an endorser of a financial program encouraging people to invest money. It reportedly altered her voice from one of her recorded broadcasts. 

Cabal admitted that the video seemed so real that she initially thought it was her actual voice. 

“So gano’n na kalaki ‘yung problema natin ngayon. In terms of, kahit na high-tech ‘yong technology, high-tech na din ‘yong pang-sa-scam eh,” she shared. 

Kara David moderates a panel discussion with journalists Ruth Cabal and Karen Davila during the launch of the second batch of the MIL project. Photo by Gwy Nolasco 

Davila, meanwhile, shared how she received hurtful criticisms after she moderated the 2016 presidential debate. The veteran broadcaster initially thought these were a flood of genuine negative comments, but she later realized that these came from troll farms.

“We are losing the diversity of conversation, of dialogue, of genuine debate because people are too scared,” Davila argued. 

She added that this problem is further aggravated by the system of “choice viewing” on social media or how people’s freedom to choose the content they only want to watch creates echo chambers that show only one side of the story.

But while social media is one of the challenges of disinformation, David said it can also promote responsible journalism, as long as it is founded on the basic principles of truth-telling.  

Aside from Cabal and Davila, other hosts for the new series include David, former ABS-CBN News correspondent Chiara Zambrano and One PH anchor Jay Taruc.

Similar to the first batch of videos, students from David’s J104 (Pag-uulat sa Filipino) class wrote the initial scripts for the new episodes.

Since its launch in October 2023, the MIL project now has over 35,000 subscribers and followers on YouTube and Facebook, while its supplemental teaching modules have reportedly reached 557 teachers in 478 schools across the country.

Related: Amid issues on disinformation, UP Journ department launches project on media literacy

New and past episodes of the MIL project are now available on its official YouTube and Facebook pages.