MANILA, Philippines – Social media feeds are flooded with disinformation – half-truths fabricating alternative realities. Rappler has been the subject of recent waves of distorted stories.
No matter how often we are attacked, we will not stop reporting the truth, debunking falsehoods, and exposing disinformation. In the same way we fact-check stories daily, we will correct fake news about our organization.
LIE #1: “Rappler is anti-Duterte.” “Why only report pro-Duterte activities and harassment on social media?”
We are neither pro- nor anti-Duterte; we are pro-truth and pro-people.
Rappler reports on President Rodrigo Duterte the way our veteran journalists have reported on leaders for the past 30 years. We hold our government accountable to the people.
Ironically, we were criticized for being "pro-Duterte" during the presidential campaign. We accept these as signs of our highly polarized times.
Our October series on the social media propaganda machine focused on pro-Duterte activity because these were the accounts which often used online violence to stifle dissent created what we define as a machine:
In short, it was far more successful than any attempts to counteract it – of which we saw very little, except for half-hearted efforts and real-world arguments between political camps.
LIE #2: “Bloggers have higher engagement rates so they're beating news.”
It's not all about engagement. Political advocacy pages of bloggers defend and propagate the position of a person or an institution. They are not the same as news.
News seeks to inform the public on a wide range of issues to allow them to make decisions on their own. This means news groups will post as many relevant stories as needed, whether or not they go viral.
Engagement is measured by likes, reactions, and shares. Facebook measures engagement rate this way: ER = [(# of interactions in a given day) / total # of followers that day] x 100.
However, engagement rate is just one of the metrics news groups use to measure performance. What matters more to us is the impact of our work on policy and the lives of people here and abroad.
LIE #3: “Rappler is misrepresenting itself in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document.”