Forty-eight hours after the now-infamous “Amalayer Girl” video was posted by one Gregory Paulo Llamoso on Facebook, comes this parody made by two individuals described as US Army personnel. This is proof of how far-reaching the consequences are of social media gone out of control.
We don’t know how severely the events of the past two days have affected the college student at the center of the latest “trending topic,” Paula Jamie Salvosa. But we’re pretty sure media outlets that have often paid tribute to the “power of social media” are now beginning to realize the ramifications of riding on an angry mob for the sake of Internet traffic.
This is not the first time such incident has happened. Allow us to help the online press examine its conscience.
This Amalayer episode has exposed a tendency by our new crop of online reporters to report immediately on the latest trending topics on social media without the journalistic spadework. Trapped in a fast-paced, online ecosystem, “reporters” from the likes of ABS-CBNNews.com and Inquirer.net think the job is done after copy-pasting the juiciest tweets and status messages on the day’s hot item.
In the case of Amalayer Girl, stories were published online without baseline journalistic details. How old is Paula? Where does she study? Is Paula even her real name? Was she with anyone at the LRT Santolan station? Did it really happen at Santolan station last Tuesday?
Count on the likes of ABS-CBNNews.com and Inquirer.net to be the first to break the story, but not to get it right. Mind you, this isn’t even a story of earth-shattering importance. Imagine how they handle bigger stories!
On Wednesday, news spread on Twitter that Paula had been expelled by her school. The two news websites that had been too eager to report that a video of her LRT tongue-lashing had gone viral were unfortunately too lazy this time to exert an effort to verify.
What about Gregory Paulo Llamoso, who peddled the video and even described himself on his Facebook post as an ABS-CBN “Bayan Patroller” citizen journalist? Apparently, the media giants simply grabbed the video and took his word for it, and did not challenge his version of the LRT incident. What was his motivation for posting the video? Why did he not capture the whole incident on his cellphone camera? Was the video edited? Did he try to calm things down? In the first place, what was his business taking a video of Paula? Did he feel a moral obligation to spread the video for all the world to see? What for?
Llamoso might have only the best of intentions and was overwhelmed with sympathy for the lowly lady guard. But in turn, his action fed a young woman (whose bad temper got the better of her) to a pack of thoughtless and self-righteous cyberbullies.
With media so heavily invested on citizen journalism to make the job of newsgathering more convenient, can we expect them to take on this wild beast that is of their own making? Thanks to Interaksyon’s Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, we are now informed that Llamoso could be held liable for overstepping his bounds.
Here’s a photo of Gregory from his Facebook page. We’ve seen a photo of him with popular TV personality Vice Ganda, but it’s no longer available as of Thursday night.
Here is Vice Ganda doing the Amalayer on the noontime program Showtime. Is there a connection here somewhere? Let’s ask ABS-CBNNews.com and Inquirer.net, if they’re not too busy looking for the next viral video.