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Mobilized and Polarized: Social Media and Disinformation Narratives in the 2022 Philippine Elections

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Social media played a significant role in the 2022 Philippine national elections. Using various empirical sources, including an original pre-electoral survey, we argue that social media was critical in the production, transmission, and reception of election-related information and narratives that resulted in o ine and online polarization and mobilization of Filipino voters in the 2022 elections. This article discusses the role of social media in electoral politics in the Philippines relative to other factors, such as material incentives for political partisans, prior voting behavior patterns, information consumption, and long-standing grievances. We discuss how these factors inform social media's role in mobilizing and polarizing the Philippine electorate. We also unpack the leading disinformation narratives of authoritarian nostalgia, conspiracy theory, strongman leadership, and democratic disillusionment, which fueled support for Marcos Jr. and undermined the other candidates. In conclusion, this article discusses the implications of disinformation in the 2022 elections for the post-electoral political engagement of Filipinos and its contribution to the further political dysfunction of Philippine democracy.

Keywords: 2022 ELECTIONS; DISINFORMATION; MARCOS JR; PHILIPPINES; SOCIAL MEDIA

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of the Philippines 2: Department of Political Science at the University of the Philippines-Diliman

Publication date: September 1, 2022

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UA-1313315-28