Palace calls ‘ironic’ FB pick of Rappler as fact-checker

MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday said it finds “ironic” social networking site Facebook’s choice of online news site Rappler for its fact-checking program.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that while the government supports Facebook’s program of combatting fake news and misinformation, its choice of Rappler to verify is ironic as the latter has a record of spreading fake news.

“Its chosen partner (Rappler) also has a reputation of being predisposed against majority, if not all, of the policies of this Administration, as can be easily gleaned through the form of its published articles,” he said.

Panelo, however, said the Palace respects Facebook’s decision being a private-run company.

He said they leave it up to the people’s discernment to determine the accuracy of news presented to them.

“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. As such, we leave the matter to the netizens in determining which online media outlet they wish to patronize or believe in,” he said.

Panelo said government hopes the fact-checking program will not censor the good programs being done by the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte with Rappler as the fact-checker.

“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 said.

The Manila regional trial court Branch 46 on Wednesday issued a warrant of arrest against Rappler Inc. publisher Maria Angelita Ressa for cyber libel.

Ressa and Rappler writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. are being charged under the provision on content-related offenses which includes libel committed through a computer system or similar means.

Under the agreement, third-party fact checking organizations like Rappler can now flag and rate content directly uploaded to Facebook.

Aside from Rappler, Facebook also tapped Vera Files to do the fact-checking. PNA –