Categories
Asides

Concerned Online Citizens vs Executive Secretary et al.

Last July 29, 2020, Concerned Online Citizens – social media personalities, bloggers, artists, professionals even students who use the internet and social media to speak on issues of public concern in filed a petition to strike down as unconstitutional the Anti-Terror Law.

  • Let’s fight for our rights both online and offline
  • The Bill of Rights should apply everywhere, including the internet
  • Free expression should be protected across frontiers and the media we use
  • There should be no threats and no terrorist-tagging of citizens expressing themselves online and offline
  • 73 million online Filipinos should be protected
  • The people should not be afraid of government. The government should be afraid of its people.
  • Cybercrime Law noon, terror law ngayon
  • Kung walang ginagawang mali, bakit takot ang gobyerno sa placards at Facebook posts

I am humbled and privileged to join some of the biggest names on social media today:
@macoydubs1

@SexbombGurl

@robcham

@victoryliner

@thysz

@markgeronimo_

@ka_bino

@PinoyAkoBlog

@darnitJC

@mongster

@leanporquia

@Punongbayan_

@albertraqueno

@blogie

@TheRainBro

@giasison

& Aling Marie

Below is a fully copy of our petition.

We wish we could have added more, however time & the restrictions of the on-going community quarantine have prevented us from doing so.

Follow & interact with all of each of us, we are eager to hear from you as well especially if you have experienced harassment or being attacked online for speaking up. Together, we will defend and fight for our rights be online or offline.

Categories
Daily dose Science

Debunking the ‘Well played China’ conspiracy theory

Along with the SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus that has spread throughout the world causing a pandemic, conspiracy theories abound. One of the most recent ones being spread through social media can be summarized as follows:

China created the coronavirus to cause global economic collapse – people are told to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading, businesses temporarily closed & work stoppage has been implemented.
This has sent stock prices dropping then China comes in to buy those low-priced stocks until we end up with a ‘world owned by China’.

Mind-blowing isn’t it? However this conspiracy theory is wrong on several points.

First, SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 is not a man-made or engineered virus. This has already been proven by scientific studies in the journal Nature Medicine and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Second, while it’s true that the US stock market has seen some decline as COVID-19 has spread in the US, the market has made a rebound after the federal government announced an economic stimulus package.

Third, Chinese investors did buy shares but the shares they bought are those of Chinese companies.

In addition, the Chinese government rolled out an economic stimulus package and spent more than 1.2 trillion yuan ($170 billion) buying shares to shore up prices.

Lastly, Peter Nolan, a professor of Chinese Development at Cambridge University, debunks the notion that China is ‘buying the world’ in his latest book entitled “Is China Buying the World?

‘China has not bought the world and shows little sign of doing so in the near future,’ Nolan writes. ‘Their presence in high-income countries is negligible. This is a remarkable situation for a country that is the world’s largest exporter and its second largest economy and manufacturer. In other words, ‘we’ are inside ‘them’ but ‘they’ are not inside ‘us’.

Peter Nolan, “Is China Buying the World?”

Final words

Stop spreading conspiracy theories. Verify, look for sources or references that are credible. Since most of us are staying at home these days, use the time to search on Google and do some basic research.

If a message is forwarded to you and it has no references or citations, think twice before forwarding it to others or sharing it on social media. Verify. Google. Research. Or ask first from persons you trust to be experts or have knowledge about these things. Don’t be a sheep. Think! If there’s something more dangerous than the coronavirus is it ignorance and being too gullible.

And remember, stay at home. Stay healthy and be safe.

Categories
Asides

How to contact GCash Customer Service

For most of last week, there has been an issue with GCredit. It wasn’t showing up as an option when I tried to use it in a few purchases. Turns out that GCash has been doing some system maintenance to fix this. Last Wednesday, I decided to report it to GCash customer service, but knowing that their hotline 2882 is often useless, I tried one of their social media accounts. Globe has one @talk2Globe and they’ve answered customer service reports so I figured GCash would have one as well as they have @gcashofficial.

However it turns out that it was only for PR and marketing via social media, so I assumed they had a separate Twitter account for customer support. Searched for “gcash customer support” on Twitter and it led me to an account that posed as one. Turns out it was a fake account meant to steal GCash users’ credentials: mobile number, full name, date of birth and most importantly the MPIN. Cutting to the chase, I was alarmed when that fake account asked for my MPIN:

Fake Gcash customer support account
Fake Gcash customer support account almost got away with my MPIN

I stopped the conversation there even after they messaged back insisting that I reply with my MPIN. This is something that real customer service would never, ever do. Ever. So never give it to them and if they ever do, 99% chance that you are being scammed.

So I did what I should have done in the first place, use the Help Center right inside the GCash app. Tap on the upper-left icon to open the side menu, then Help > Help Center. You can browse the self-help topics or wait for the Live Chat icon to appear on the bottom-right corner of the screen. Tap on that, then tap Live chat and you would be connected to the real customer service team of GCash. No need to call their hotline 2882, you still can but Live chat would be enough to get help. A big improvement is that you would also get a transcript of your chat session sent to the email address associated with your GCash account.

So to recap, GCash customer service can only be contacted in the following ways: email (support@gcash.com), self-help options at help.gcash.com, 2882 hotline and the most convenient Live chat from right inside the GCash app. All the other Twitter accounts out there are fake and would just scam you.

Categories
Daily dose

Snapchat Cameo: Star in your own video clips

Taking Bitmoji to the next level, Snapchat is working on an upcoming feature that lets users put their selfies into short clips that convey quick emotion, reaction, or silly situation in Snapchat messages.

It uses Deepfake tech to add your face into short video clips. It’s under limited testing in France as seen in a few tweets by French Snapchat users who have stumbled into it:

Snapchat has not yet confirmed when the feature will be available globally and you can be sure this will start a new trend among social messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber etc.

The concept has so many potentials, the applications actually scare me a bit. What do you think of Snapchat Cameo?

By the way, here’s a good explanation of what Deepfake is. You’d understand why the technology is quite scary.