Last August, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX with a net worth of around 21 billion dollars, made one of the biggest blunders on the internet. Tweeting about how he planned to “take Tesla private at $420”, Musk considered buying shares of stock from his investors to have a fuller control over Tesla. This tweet prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States to investigate and give Musk a 20 million dollar fine last September 29 for what they called “false and misleading claims” that would harm investors and for not coursing this information through the proper avenues.
In a similar vein, Ramon Tulfo’s viral Facebook video post on his rampage in the makeshift PGH Emergency Room has caused irreparable damage on the fundamental rights of the patients and health workers present at that time. His irresponsible actions have also elicited an official statement by the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Administration together with pending legal charges against him.
Like it or not, social media can make us vulnerable. With a conduit that allows us to express our feelings and emotions liberally, our every word and action can be recorded and used against us. In UPCM and PGH, with viral doctor-shaming happening every now and then, the doctor and the medical student can also be affected. One of the ways this was meant to be dealt with was the Social Media Guidelines, the discussion of which seems to have died down as of now. As a set of guidelines for the appropriate use of social media regarding UPCM and PGH, it allowed freedom of expression yet also encouraged responsible usage of social media.
These guidelines were made as a response to an ‘incident’ wherein an intern posted on Facebook a picture of the state of the PGH Emergency Room. Because the post clearly articulated the perennially unresolved concerns and frustrations of many clerks, interns, and even doctors, it became viral on Facebook. In the picture are the unblurred faces of several patients and bystanders. When the administration found out about this and how it violated the Data Privacy Act of 2012, it became a serious concern. As a result, they espoused the Social Media Guidelines with student representation – the Medicine Student Council (MSC), hoping to turn it into the “Social Media Policy” as soon as possible.
Needless to say, the implementation of such a set of guidelines from the UPCM administration poses several questions:
Where do we draw the line between encouraging proper use of information and straight-up censorship of critical thought? Will the establishment of these guidelines serve as a proper deterrent to unethical social media usage? Or will these end up being more of a repressive policy that denies students their right to the freedom of expression?
We believe the only way these questions can be be answered properly is through proper discourse between the students and the administration – as equals and nothing less.
In a world where social media can be a double-edged sword, ultimately, the students are on the receiving end of the administration’s decisions. We call upon the administration to implement social media guidelines that are fair for all the stakeholders.
The soft copy of the final draft of the Social Media Policy can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/UPPGHSocialMediaGuidelines