‘We’re not trolls’: Twitter users counter Lacson’s post-Manila Pen tweet

April 17, 2022 - 8:21 PM
Ping Lacson tweet
Sen. Ping Lacson (right) sits next to presidential rivals Norberto Gonzales (center) and Isko Moreno Domagoso (left) at a joint press conference at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati on Sunday, April 17, 2022. He tweeted, calling critical Twitter users "trolls" after the event. (Reuters/Interaksyon overlay)

Sen. Ping Lacson called Twitter users “trolls” following the much-talked-about press conference he participated in alongside presidential rivals Isko Moreno Domagoso and Norberto Gonzales around noon Sunday, April 17, 2022.

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At the press conference, the three candidates claimed the campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo has been asking them to quit the race due to their poor showing in preferential surveys.

Lacson also criticized Robredo at the event, saying she is untrustworthy for having proposed unification last year prior to the campaign season but she decided to run for president herself. But Robredo previously said she failed to reach an agreement with Lacson, who had wanted the survey laggard among opposition candidates to voluntarily withdraw midway through the race.

Now, Robredo as opposition leader is second in surveys, trailing behind clear frontrunner former senator Bongbong Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand. Domagoso, Lacson and Gonzales, meanwhile, ranked a far third, fifth and last of 10 presidential candidates, respectively.

As of press time, there were more than 3,000 mostly negative responses and quote tweets to Lacson’s tweet.

Many of the responses decried Lacson’s use of the term “trolls” to refer to critical voices on the microblogging platform. They argued they are not simply social media users hiding in anonymity, but real people.

Others, mostly supporters of Robredo, pointed out Lacson’s propensity for blocking Twitter users he disagrees with.

One was even said to have “predicted” the senator’s behavior on Twitter during the press conference before he actually posted.

What is a troll?

The term “trolling” is internet slang originally referring to a “fishing technique where multiple lines of bait are trailed behind a boat to attract and catch fish,” according to an explainer video from educational website GCF Global.

It added:

“With online trolling, there’s still bait involved but instead of catching fish, the goal is to catch you. A troll is someone who makes antagonistic remarks online with the goal of provoking and upsetting others. Sometimes it can be lighthearted, and other times it can be downright mean.

No matter where it falls on the spectrum, you can think of a troll as the person who is dangling the bait, and we are the fish that too often bite.”

Trolls are not necessarily fake accounts benefiting one politician, party or cause by posting criticisms or disinformation against another.

Troll behavior, however, is more often through using an anonymous account with a name and a profile picture that “don’t reflect real-world identity” of the person behind it to avoid “real-world consequences.”

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