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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rappler “fact checking” partnership with Facebook is turning into a FIASCO

No matter what they do, the Opposition led by the Liberal Party cannot wash the yellow stain off their Yellowtard brand. Despite many rallies organised and many “reminders” to “wear white” in those rallies, the Opposition will, in the eyes of the majority of Filipinos, remain as Yellow as day-old piss. Branding, after all, is an important aspect in the persuasion industries. Re-branding is a costly marketing endeavour that requires focus and consistency — both of which the Philippine Opposition have consistently demonstrated an utter lack of. And yet the Opposition continue to soldier on (using a loose definition of the term “soldier”) like those AK47-wielding child-soldiers spraying ineffectual automatic fire willy-nilly at crack Army Rangers in the movie Black Hawk Down.
This is too bad for Maria Ressa’s Rappler and Ellen Tordesillas’s Vera Files. Both are identified with the Opposition and, as such, are both tainted with this unfortunate colour of the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan. Worse, their latest coup, bagging a “partnership” with social media behemoth Facebook to “fact check” information Filipinos consume on its platform, has become an utter fiasco. Just several days old, the ill-thought-out initiative already draws scorn from a mounting number of Filipinos and sticks another fat pin, this time on the Philippines spot, in the world map printed on the ass of its CEO Mark Zuckerberg already bristling with many such markers.
The lack of sense in setting up Yellowtards as arbiters of “truth” on a social media platform is akin to hiring a Filipino to referee one of Manny Pacquiao’s boxing matches. Ressa and Tordesillas, quite simply, cannot be trusted to make judgement calls on what gets visibility — and what gets buried — on users’ newsfeeds. Already, Facebook is under pressure to explain how their mysterious “algorithm” decides what users see and don’t see on their newsfeeds. This latest “fact checking” initiative in the Philippines puts two faces to that “algorithm”.
Already a major gaffe on the part of Rappler has all but confirmed the folly in adding more redundant intervention into social media timeline engineering. A recent “fact check” directed at an old report published by Filipino satire site Adobo Chronicles became the latest source of Netizens’ laughs. Adobo Chronicles describes itself as “your best source of up-to-date unbelievable news”. This seems to have escaped the sensibilities of Rapplerette Paige Occeñola who pompously declares
Claim: Rappler CEO Maria Ressa has been elected as the president of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP). [NB: hyperlinks to the subject Adobo Chronicles article]
Rating: FALSE.
Facts: Rappler is not a foreign media outlet and is not a member of FOCAP. Maria Ressa has not been elected as president of the organization.
Occeñola may as well be bragging about lecturing a circus troupe about the impossibility of fitting thirty clowns in a Volkswagen Beetle.
In a statement released by about this “fact check” fail, Adobo Chronicles observes…
Rappler’s fact-check is very self-serving. It used it to defend itself against accusations that it is partly foreign-owned. We call it damage control.
But more ironic is the fact that Rappler chose to fact-check a satirical piece. It seems that Maria Ressa and her colleagues at Rappler need to go back to school so they can learn about satire.
More importanly…
If Rappler can’t even distinguish real news from satire, then what credential does it have to justify its ‘appointment’ as a fact-checker?
As one of the followers of Adobo Chronicles said: “How can Rappler defend its own gullibility?”

(Courtesy @NetizenComix)

As I suggested in a previous article, perhaps Rappler should focus more on its internal capability to produce good quality journalism before it presumes to “fact check” the world. In so doing, it can learn to compete more and whine less. Only whenRappler learns the ealier and ditches the latter, can Filipinos truly and respectfully welcome it to the jungle that is the Darwinian landscape of today’s social media.
Again, and it cannot be emphasised enough, the Philippine Opposition needs to find a way to ditch the Yellowtards and scrub all trace of the yellow stain off its political brand. This exercise in releasing “fact checking” hounds into the social media “debate” of the Philippines is just another instance of Yellowtard thinking faculties undermining the Opposition cause. Filipinos deserve an intelligent Opposition which, needless to say, is a key foundation of an intelligent democracy.

About benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.


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