The terms may be facile to crack for those who labor and learn from the online world, and are at any hour of day or night engaged in social media networks.

Yet even as the Commission on Elections started to strictly enforce campaign finance rules in cyberspace in the May 2013 elections, many candidates circumvented the spending limits by shifting their online ads from static sites. They put their money and ads in the wild and wooly world of social media.

Even in cyberspace, it’s still a game of cat and mouse; and when the cat is away, the mouse clicks like crazy.

Part 1 of our latest report, “Pols shift focus from static sites in 2010 to social media in 2013” looks at how candidates in the last elections shifted the battle for votes from formal and overt online political advertisements in static websites, to the more heavily engaged, freewheeling, and freer, but not necessarily cheaper, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Part 2, “Social Media and the Elections: Still preaching to the choir?” looks at the potentials and pitfalls of the web as a platform for political discourse and voter education, amid the offline reality that only 30 percent of all Filipinos have access to the Internet, and even fewer are active on social media networks.

This two-part report is a production of PCIJ’s Multimedia Team that is composed of Program Director Ed Lingao, Platform Architect Markku Seguerra, and Deputy Producer Cong Corrales.

It is the first in a series of PCIJ reports on campaign finance issues in the last elections that will strive to assess how money flowed from donors to candidates to contractors; whether truthful reports will be filed and the correct taxes paid; and how else we could conduct more transparent, accountable, and inclusive elections. Stay tuned for more!

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