Palace hopes Facebook finds a better fact-checker

Published February 13, 2019, 8:08 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang is hoping that Facebook will be able to find a better partner in its initiative to fight fake news and disinformation in social media, saying that Rappler, a news agency it banned from its premises, is biased against the present administration.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after Politiko, another online news organization, expressed why it will not allow being fact-checked by Facebook’s tthird-partypartners Rappler and Vera Files.

In recent months, Politiko’s articles were fact-checked by the Rappler and Vera Files, saying their stories were misleading. Politiko, however, explained that they have to “come up with interesting titles” so their posts would “stand out in the battle for clicks and eyeballs.”

“To agree to be fact-checked by Rappler and Vera Files mean that Politiko needs to abide by the journalistic standards set by these two media entities,” Politiko said.

In his statement, Panelo said the Palace respects the decisions of Facebook and agrees with its resolve in combating disinformation, misinformation, and all kinds of false or fake news.

“We find it ironic, however, that the one chosen by Facebook to verify posts by media outfits or bloggers, whether a story or content is hoax, false or misleading, has a record of spreading fake news,” Panelo said, referring to Rappler, an agency it banned from covering President Duterte’s events and from entering Malacañang compound.

“This, not to mention that its chosen partner also has a reputation of being predisposed against the majority, if not all, of the policies of this Administration, as can be easily gleaned through the form of its published articles,” he added.

Panelo, however, trusts that despite this, netizens are smart enough to know which content they find in social media are legitimate or not.

“As the ultimate audience, our people have become more knowledgeable and more discerning in reading and analyzing the news. They too have become more critical against those licensed media companies which resort to negative propaganda and biased and distorted stories,” he said.

“As such, we leave the matter to the netizens in determining which online media outlet they wish to patronize or believe in. We just hope that the program being pursued by Facebook will not evolve into a tool which censors the good news arising out of the programs of this Administration,” he added.

According to Politiko, the fact-checking was the reason behind Facebook’s warning to them about “pages and websites that repeatedly publish or share misleading content will see their overall distribution reduced, their ability to monetize and advertise removed, and their ability to register as a news page removed.”

“From the start, Politiko’s goal is to entertain, inform and provoke public discussion on political issues in the same way that people talk about entertainment or sports news,” Politiko said.

“The red flags placed on Politiko’s content have severely affected our Facebook traffic.. That is the power of the fact checker,” it added.