On the heels of election day, tensions remain high among supporters of different candidates, especially on social media. But one notable clip from radio show Magic 89.9 has gone viral, as a male voice called the DJs to admit that he was allegedly part of a troll farm operating for the benefit of leading presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The viral Magic 89.9 call
HERE IT IS.
A BBM troll whistleblower calls on the radio show, @Magic899, and confessed the truth about what they do, where one of their headquarters is located, how much they’re paid and many more.
(part 1) pic.twitter.com/Hrkv65o0tb
— ⛓️ (@Sl0PAU) May 10, 2022
On Magic 89.9’s Good Times session the morning after election day, an anonymous caller told the DJs that they felt “down” and disappointed about the initial results of the elections.
“Sobrang nakaka-down, especially kapag isa ka sa naging part kung bakit nanalo yung kandidato,” he said.
‘A think tank’
“We’re part of a think tank that consolidated a specific campaign for BBM,” the caller continued. “And it was stupid for us to do so kasi, let’s all be real, everything is being run by money.”
He then proceeded to describe how this “think tank” allegedly worked. According to the caller, trolls dug up and bought years-old social media accounts and pages to turn them into troll accounts. He even cited Makati as an alleged office location of the troll farm he’s part of.
He also dropped names of established universities (particularly UP and Ateneo) from which he claimed he and his colleagues in the troll farm have graduated.
Voting for one candidate …
The anonymous caller said that he voted for Vice President Leni Robredo, who is trailing behind Marcos Jr. with a wide gap. He claimed that he and his colleagues voted “based on conscience.”
… but working for another
But it seemed like their “conscience” was not enough to trump their desire for money.
“Most of my colleagues there all voted for Leni. Pero at the end of the day, they’re all telling me na kung saan yung money, doon tayo. Pero we’ll vote at the end of the day based on our conscience,” the caller reiterated.
DJ Mo exclaimed: “That’s crazy to hear,” questioning how the caller is able to reconcile that, while DJs Suzy and Dora Dorado looked obviously distressed.
All for 2.5 million pesos
HERE IT IS.
A BBM troll whistleblower calls on the radio show, Magic 88.9, and confessed the truth about what they do, where one of their headquarters is located, how much they’re paid and many more.
(part 4) pic.twitter.com/vfq3Ul83oN
— ⛓️ (@Sl0PAU) May 10, 2022
When bluntly asked how much he earned as part of the troll farm, the caller said: “It’s a contract wherein I’ll be getting 2.5 million pesos for one year.”
After being asked where he spent the money he earned, he said he put it “more on crypto” as an investment.
“I am partly apologetic kasi partly it’s my fault that Leni lost because of the information drive, the propaganda,” the self-confessed troll continued. “And hindi ko siya maibabalik because I was thinking talaga Leni is the best candidate out there, pero a job is a job.”
And it seems he is not the only one who thinks this way.
BBC’s exclusive interview with a self-confessed troll
— Micaela Papa (@micaelapapa) May 7, 2022
BBC described the Philippines as “the ‘patient zero’ of fake news”, and also sat down with one of the country’s professional trolls.
“I consider myself a troll — or, politically speaking, I’m a social media marketing consultant,” Jon (an alias) told BBC. According to him, he works long hours to manage hundreds of fake profiles on social media, and his services cater to governors, congressmen, and mayors. Jon has about 30 employees — trolls — working under him to boost their client’s image, even if that entails throwing hateful words, making up lies, and regurgitating fake news.
A Reddit exposé on how troll farms work
In a Reddit post published earlier today (and subsequently immediately deleted after someone threatened to find the user), another troll farmworker laid out how the troll system works and how they have organized levels and teams assigned with their own tasks to make the whole machinery work.
“It was all for money. I was thinking this is just another raket. Bongbong Marcos is just another client,” the post began. “When the first wave of results came, I felt a sting to my heart, the feeling of guilt started to sink in. And when his lead kept growing, it hit me. I f—ed up. I am an accomplice. I haven’t stopped crying since, and I can’t tell anyone because of the shame and fear.”
OP deleted it. Here’s the original text for reference. Comments remain in the thread above. pic.twitter.com/z3CKc7TD77
— Dominic Ligot (@docligot) May 11, 2022
Filipinos are angry and afraid
With several accounts of troll farm workers going viral, Filipinos are understandably furious, resentful, and even afraid. But a few are hoping to fight these troll farms with “truth farms” and drive out the misinformation and disinformation rampant across the country.
That clip about the troll farm operator is so sickening when you learn that the P2.5 million he made went into crypto.
Crypto requires so much time and understanding, meaning he had enough brainpower to know na mali siya.
P2.5 million ang presyo para sa kinabukasan ng bayan.
— Matthew (@yaaabbbsss) May 10, 2022
if these bbm troll farm confessions are true then they should come forward to try and make this right. their vote for leni doesnt absolve them of mass misinformation 🙂
— Dan (@BuffHufflepuff) May 11, 2022
Kung may think tank (see: troll farm) na nakapag whitewash sa marcos brand, parang need din progressives ng actual think tank that can utilize data to help fight disinfo. Sana may machinery tho
— Gremlino Brocka (@_CowboyBibo_) May 11, 2022
Any thoughts on these testimonies from self-confessed trolls?