Messaging platform Viber said Friday it was increasing its in-app moderation resources for the Philippines to help fight misinformation and fake news as more Filipinos source their news online.
Aside from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, misleading and false information also thrive in messaging apps such as Viber, Messenger, and WhatsApp, contributing -- whether willingly or unknowingly -- to disinformation.
In the case of Viber, community administrators are held liable for the information shared within their online group according to David Tse, Viber's senior director for the Asia Pacific region.
"We are starting to increase a lot moderations, resources in-country to ensure that we pick up information that is inappropriate," he told reporters during a Zoom call.
Viber, whose customer base in the Philippines accounts for a quarter of the population, saw its monthly users of group messages and calls more than double in 2021.
Wider moderation in Viber communities will ensure that any false information shared in the Viber app can be removed timely, Tse added. In the case of those who are just starting to form Viber communities, Tse said companies and organizations will undergo background checks to ensure their legitimate identity.
"We want to make sure that there's a double effect to ensure that everyone's receiving legitimate information during these times," Tse said.
And as the elections come near, Viber assured users that it would remain "neutral" and would only partner with legitimate groups for information sharing, citing its news-sharing agreement with the World Health Organization and the Department of Health for the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We will only work with a legitimate source and not for anyone," Tse said.