Angry Manila Times columnist questions Facebook’s decision to make Rappler and Vera Files guardians of fake news

As expected, Facebook’s handing the key to Rappler and Vera Files as gatekeeper of Facebook in the Philippines to guard against fake news has elicited adverse reactions from Filipino users.

Manila Times columnist and public relations expert Malou Tiquia couldn’t help but write objection to Facebook making Rappler and Vera Files fact checkers.

Tiquia cites her reasons for opposing Facebook’s decision to give Rappler and Vera Files such immense power as shown below.

“One accused Facebook of “weaponising” the Internet. They have been delisted as a media organisation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines (a government regulator) and their case is on appeal and Facebook approves them as a fact checker? How can that be? Was there a misrepresentation made? The other always sided with the biggest and loudest mouth elected as Senator in the country. Where is the balance there?”

Tiquia says that if “Facebook wants to get partners, get people from the academe, a real third party.”

On people planning to leave Facebook, Tiquia remarked that they have nothing to fear if they were not purveyors of fake news. Rather, she wants netizens to write in the vernacular to communicate correctly using facts.

“Now to those leaving Facebook, if you are not guilty of fake news, there is no reason to leave. Said in a different light, were you purveyors of fake news? If not, why are you giving up the marquee? Yours is prime real estate in social media. Write in Tagalog or Bisaya. So many ways to communicate correctly using facts.”

Meanwhile, Tiquia tells Facebook that Filipinos do not need Rappler and Vera Files (Facebook’s fact checkers) to tell us what to believe in because as democratic country, Filipinos enjoy freedom of speech.

“Facebook, Filipinos are not stupid. We do not need your two fact checkers to tell us what to believe in. ‘Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or sanction.’

“Is alternative truth fake news, Facebook?” asks Tiquia.

An obviously disappointed Tiquia offers Facebook a constructive criticism.

“I suggest you clean your backyard first, Facebook before crossing over to the Philippines. There is so much dung on your social space in the US.”

Before ending her post, appeals to Facebook to stop using the Philippines as a test case in response to their troubles with US Congress. Tiquia tells Facebook to instead focus their energies in cleaning the US first before turning their attention to the Philippines.

“Yes, Facebook is free but you have all our data, right? You sold it, you earned from it. You have your ads and you earn from it and with your CEO called in the US Congress, your knee jerk was to start censoring free speech in your platform, picking the Ph as your sample via the two fact checkers? Really, now! Clean the US first! You got your president through your algorithm, right?”

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