Troll apprehension should not start with trolls themselves, but with those who hired them, a media expert suggested. 

Jonathan Ong, associate professor of global digital media at the University of Massachusetts Amherst said that troll busting should begin at the top of the hierarchy, which are the employers – political figures who hire trolls for political gain.

“Troll busting and hunting should not be focused on lower-level workers, but we need to understand the industry at the top,”  Ong said during the forum, “Battle of the Trolls.” 

According to Ong, “troll armies” are formed by a “chief architect of disinformation,” which usually work in advertising agencies or public relations firms.

Meanwhile, the upcoming 2022 elections and the country’s high unemployment and poverty rate, could potentially drive the population of active trolls to rise in the future, a business journalist implied.

Pioneer member of award-winning ABS-CBN Analytics Team, Warren De Guzman, shared in the same forum that people choose to become trolls “for the money.”

“In this current environment in the Philippines, we would probably see a lot more trolls for hire because unemployment is high at over 7 percent,” he said.

When asked about a solution on how to fight the spread of misinformation by trolls, De Guzman emphasized the journalists’ responsibility.

“The role of a journalist is no longer to report – social media made everybody reporters. It’s really the role of journalists to explain and provide context,” he expressed.

“Sadly, the level of misinformation and disinformation is an indicator of our education,” he added.

“Education is the only real solution against misinformation and disinformation,” he concluded. Ariane Mae Bautista