The Department of Education (DepEd) received backlash from netizens Wednesday night after it prematurely announced via Twitter that classes had been suspended in all levels in Metro Manila for October 20, Thursday.
The tweet, which was posted at 7:30 PM, was deleted after about 30 minutes. By that time however, it has already been retweeted by thousands of users – including major news outlets as well as The Filipino Scribe.
Two warning signs should have given us pause. First, DepEd cannot suspend classes in all levels since its jurisdiction only covers preschool to senior high school. Second, it is usually left to the local government units to make such an announcement.
As TFS pointed out in a similar incident two months ago, thanks to social media, news can be disseminated to thousands within a few minutes, which means it is essential to immediately rectify any wrong information published and to be able to disseminate that correction as widely as possible.
— People's Television (@PTVph) October 19, 2016
— DZBB Super Radyo (@dzbb) October 19, 2016
— Lynda Jumilla-Abalos (@lyndajumilla) October 19, 2016
In a statement sent to the press, DepEd apologized for causing confusion to the public. “In an effort to catch all announcement from different sources (government agencies, LGUs, schools, etc), a tweet from a fake account of a trusted agency was quoted,” the department said. It added: “This apology comes with the appeal to the public to refrain from unverified or malicious #walangpasok announcements.”
Curiously, within a few hours after DepEd made its premature #WalangPasok announcement for the National Capital Region, all mayors of Metro Manila announced class suspensions in their respective constituency one by one.