Millennials vs Mocha: Youth group files fake news complaint against Communications assistant secretary

Screenshot from Mocha Uson Blog Facebook page video.
Screenshot from Mocha Uson Blog Facebook page video.

How do you fight alleged online fake news peddlers? Try to beat ’em at their own game.

Yesterday, the members of Akbayan Youth, a democratic socialist organization, filed a complaint against blogger and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson before the Office of the Ombudsman and called for her dismissal for sharing fake news.

Akbayan Youth’s complaint said that Uson, who is a public official, should be fired because of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. The complaint also included instances when Uson shared disinformation on her Facebook page.

Uson has been criticized for the very same thing ever since she started campaigning for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 elections. Her Facebook page, now with more than 5 million followers, is where she usually shares erroneous news.

In August last year, #FireMocha was trending on Philippine Twitter after she insinuated in a Facebook post that opposition senators and Vice President Leni Robredo did not visit the wake of a police officer who was killed by a drug peddler. But people online pointed out the incident actually happened the year before.

Akbayan Youth’s latest complaint is just the latest one filed against her; in September, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a similar complaint. But what set yesterday’s protest apart is the very “millennial” way protesters decided to make their voices heard.

“How do you like your Mocha?” said one of the protesters. “Fired,” replied the others.

“One Ombudsman complaint for Mocha Uson, coming up,” another one followed up.

Some of them were holding coffee cups with Uson’s face.

It’s the kind of wordplay you’d see on Twitter or as a meme — straight to the point and sarcastic. Some also went beyond the actual protest and used social media by launching the hashtag #FireMocha and calling others to “Tweet their favorite disinformation” at 8pm. Check out the posters below, which were also in line with the coffee theme.

Of course, Uson did not back down and showed that she can be sarcastic too. In a Facebook video she posted last night, Uson said: “I want to thank Akbayan Youth because they gave me an idea for the name of my future coffee shop. That is Fire Mocha Cafe. Watch out for it. Thank you; let’s have coffee,” Uson calmly said in Filipino before taking a sip of coffee.

Uson is undoubtedly influential online but if there’s one group that knows that ins and outs of the internet, it’s the youth. Guess this is how protests are going to look in the age of social media.

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