Meme$ out 4 DU30: Fighting Disinformation One Meme At A Time

An admin of the group talks about its goals following its rise to prominence.

Freedom of speech gave us the ability to express ourselves. But these days, some abuse it by spreading disinformation. This is where the Facebook group Meme$ out 4 DU30, now Meme$ out 4 diktajunior, comes in. A non-partisan platform where people can express their exasperation. (Or their hunger for good governance.)

They battle disinformation by posting educational memes. In a FreebieMNL exclusive, one of their admins tells us about their rise to prominence. They also shared their goals for the next six years.

The birth of MO4D

Admin Boyong admits that it’s a straight-up anti-Duterte/Marcos community. It was born two weeks into the first lockdown of 2020. Boyong and his friends didn’t like the government’s COVID-19 response. They created the group to express their frustration. They named it after “Dicks Out for Harambe,” the viral protest about the gorilla who died in Cincinnati.

Gumawa namin siya to compile memes and posts. Before they were against Duterte, now they’re against Marcos. Sinasabi nila sobrang biased ang MO4D, which is true. We’re anti-Duterte. Non-partisan, not neutral. Some Duterte supporters think the page is pro-Duterte, which is funny,” he says.

At first, only their inner circle visited the group. Boyong says he thought it would flop. But one of their posts about President Rodrigo Duterte’s weekly address went viral. After that, netizens flocked to the group.

Ang tagal magsimula nung speech, so hinahanap na ng mga tao si Duterte. Nag-post kaibigan ko ng, ‘Kung nasaan ka man, pakigalaw ang baso.’ Doon nagsimula ang lahat. First post namin yun na nagkaroon ng madaming reactions and shares,” Boyong recalls.

The group’s popularity soared. But things changed when the Anti-Terror Bill became law. Fearing for their safety, netizens started leaving the group in droves. But Boyong’s group encouraged people not to give in to fear. They reminded people that it was more important than ever to keep fighting.

Their original goal was to criticize President Rodrigo Duterte. But they shifted their focus to include all public servants who commit wrongdoings. Boyong says what they do is more effective than posting think pieces on social media.

“We realized na kahit propaganda material ang memes, effective pa rin sila. Kasi kapag nakakita ka ng meme, mapapaisip ka.”

On being ‘Zucked’ and red-tagged

According to Boyong, he and the other admins have faced their fair share of challenges. They’ve been “zucced” aka banned from Facebook, received hate mail, and red-tagged. But they kept going.

“Pag open mo ng Messenger may five message requests. Pagtingin mo, puro ‘Mamatay na kayong mga bayaran,’ ganun. Pero hindi kami bayad,” Boyong says.

The group runs on cigarettes, liquor, and love for the country. They don’t have top-of-the-line gadgets or software. But that’s not the hardest part of what they do. Moderating posts is what they have the most trouble with. Especially since the group has become so big. Although it’s critical of the government, they don’t accept “borderline fake news memes” as those contribute to the spread of disinformation. They also decline anything that may come across as anti-poor.

“Iniiwasan namin yung mga elitist posts. Minsan kasi may magsasabi na, ‘Magutom kayong mga BBM supporters.’ Ang pangit, ‘di ba?” he explains.

Boyong says they don’t favor any politician in particular. But everyone on his team dislikes the Dutertes and the Marcoses.

Ready to fight disinformation

As of this writing, Meme$ out 4 diktajunior has more than 300,000 members. But Boyong tells Freebie MNL that “there’s still a need for self-criticism.” He acknowledges that their opponents have a well-oiled machine behind them. But he’s optimistic that it’s possible to fight disinformation “one meme at a time.”

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Even though the group has a strong online presence, they don’t stop at shitposting. Boyong tells MO4D “meme-bers” to continue exposing the Marcos-Duterte duo. Regardless of who assumes the presidency, Boyong doesn’t want Martial Law to return. But in the event that it does, he and his team are ready to fight.“If ever kumipot pa ang democratic spaces online, tumungo na tayo sa lansangan,” he says.

Featured Image Macky Arquilla

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