By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has branded as fake news the Facebook location tag that described the Philippines as a supposed province of China.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asked Facebook’s local fact-checkers Rappler and Vera Files to take action to prevent the spread of the false information.
“Siyempre po wala namang katunayan iyan, eh bakit naman ako magre-react pa diyan,” Roque said in a press briefing Monday.
(Of course there is not truth to that, so why should I react to that.)
Roque nonetheless questioned why such false information slipped past the monitoring of the “alleged truth verifiers” of Facebook.
“Tinatawagan ko ng pansin po ang Vera Files at Rappler, sila po iyong mga fact verifiers ng Facebook, bakit naman po nakalusot ito. Sana po iyong mga fake news ay talagang i-flag nila dahil ito po, clearly fake news,” he added.
(I am calling the attention of Vera Files and Rappler. They are the fact verifiers of Facebook, so why did this slip past them? I hope these fake news are flagged because this is clearly fake news.)
Reacting to Roque’s statement, Vera Files issued a statement clarifying it does not fact-check location tags.
“As fact checker, VERA Files verifies false and misleading information made by public personalities and posts in social media and debunks them with factual evidence. We do not fact check location tags,” Ellen Tordesillas of VERA Files said in a statement posted on its website.
“The Facebook tag of the Philippines as a province of China is a reflection of a sovereignty issue with China which should be addressed by the Philippine leadership,” she added.
The controversial location tag of the country as an alleged province of China has drawn the ire of Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
The senator has denounced the geotag, saying the country is not and will never be a province of China. She urged the public to report the matter to Facebook so it can be removed from the location options.