Gov’t mulls choosing own fact-checkers after Facebook shuts down pro-administration pages

Published September 29, 2020, 4:24 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is mulling on the possibility of choosing its own set of fact-checkers on social media after complaining about Facebook’s alleged censorship of pro-administration pages.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government will not allow that the country’s only two authorized fact-checkers are media entities that have bias against the administration. 

Facebook forged a partnership with Rappler and Vera Files in 2018 for a fact-checking program to stem the proliferation of false news.

“Ibat’ ibang mga bansa ngayon nagsisimula na ng proseso na gobyerno na ang kumukuha ng mga fact checkers. Sinimulan na po yan sa Europa at pag-aaralan natin kung dapat gawin na natin yan. dahil hindi naman tayo makakapayag na ang fact-checkers ay tanging mga laban laming sa gobyerno (Various countries are starting the process where governments get the fact-checkers. It has already started in Europe. We will also study if we should do it here too. Because we won’t allow that the only fact-checkers are (those) opposed to the government),” he said.

Roque questioned why Facebook selected Rappler and Vera Files as partners to identify false news and curb their spread on social media platform. He also claimed that Facebook tends to shut down pro-government pages but allow those pages critical or opposed to the administration.

“Bakit ang fact-checkers laban sa gobyerno? Sino pa sa bayan na ito ang nagdududa na ang Rappler at Vera Files ay talaga namang kontra sa administration ni Presidente Duterte (Why are the fact-checkers opposed to the government? Who in the nation still has doubts that Rappler and Vera Files are against the administration of President Duterte),” he said.

“Bakit sila lamang ang kinuhang fact-checkers ng Facebook. Hello? Kung hindi ka kumbinsado na tutol sila sa gobyerno baka ikaw ay taga-ibang planeta ‘no,” he said.Why are the only fact-checkers of Facebook. Hello? If you’re not convinced that they are opposed to the government, you may be living on a different planet),” he added.

President Duterte earlier lashed out at Facebook for taking down several advocacy pages in support of his administration.

In his televised address Monday night, Duterte reminded the social media giant that the government allows its operations in the country “hoping that you could help us.”  He told Facebook that they should talk about its purpose in the country. 

“Now, if government cannot espouse or advocate something which is for the good of the people, then what is your purpose here in my country?” he asked.