Palace opposes Facebook partnership with ‘partisan’ Rappler, Vera Files


MALACANANG on Monday expressed opposition to Facebook’s move to tap online news outlets Rappler and Vera Files for its third-party fact checking program aimed at reducing fake news on the social media platform.

In a press conference, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said he sympathized with those who objected to Facebook’s partnership with Rappler and Vera Files, which according to him, were “partisan.”

“I would say that the efforts of Facebook to counter fake news were the solution and not legislation. However, there are those who are complaining that the chosen ‘police of the truth,’ so to speak are sometimes partisan themselves and of course this is the problem with truth that can be subjective depending on your political perspective,” Roque told reporters.

“And that is why I commiserate with those who object to the selection of Rappler and Vera Files because they know, we know where they stand in the political spectrum,” he added.

Rappler, which has featured reports that were critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, incurred his ire and has been banned from covering him after the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled to revoke its registration over foreign ownership issues that violated the 1987 Constitution.

Meanwhile, Vera Files has been fact checking Duterte’s claims in his speeches, evaluating the truthfulness of his statements.

Heads of Rappler and Vera Files have been called to testify in a Senate investigation on the proliferation of fake news online and have pointed to the Duterte camp as a source of false information.

Following the launch of Facebook’s third-party fact checking initiative, supporters of Duterte threatened to leave Facebook and even urged fellow supporters to transfer to Russian social media platform VK.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. executive Jimmy Bondoc threatened to leave Facebook if the fact checking initiative with Vera Files and Rappler would push through – a post he has since deleted.

Bondoc said he would stay on the social media platform because of the petition asking Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg not to pursue Vera Files and Rappler.


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