Rappler values transparency and accountability
Since Rappler launched in 2012, we set out to use new technology to deliver the news with speed, accuracy and utmost integrity. Journalism is a public trust. We value transparency as an organization and are ready to act on any miscommunication or mistake. To remove any doubt of our intent, we disclose the full context of our recent errors.
1. On Oct 11, 2013, Rappler Life and Style Editor Kai Magsanoc received permission from members of the #MW2013, a closed Facebook Group for Miss World, to use photos of Megan Young’s homecoming parade posted there.
Magsanoc, using her Twitter account, tweeted watermarked versions of the photos and credited #MW2013 each time.
Later that day, Magsanoc found out that the photos belonged to Bernard Testa of Interaksyon, the news website of TV5. She immediately took them down.
Magsanoc immediately apologized to Testa on Twitter and email.
Rappler responded with an apology on its official Facebook and Twitter accounts and in an email to Interaksyon's social media editor, Robert Basilio Jr.
@interaksyon Apologies - photos came from private FB page of pageant enthusiasts who gave us permission to use.— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) October 12, 2013
2. On Sept 14, 2013, Inquirer reporter Marlon Ramos called the attention of a journalist on Twitter about Rappler’s use of a series of photos of Janet Napoles. The photo collage had a Rappler watermark. Rappler and the Inquirer settled the matter privately, as most news organizations do. Rappler inadvertently used the photo because it was distributed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to members of the press. Upon clarification by the Inquirer, Rappler apologized to Inquirer editors and took those photos down.
In at least 3 previous instances, 3 news organizations inadvertently copied Rappler photographs and video clips. We wrote to the organizations' editors, who immediately took them down and apologized for their errors.
3.On Dec 24, 2012, a photo of a building on fire in Divisoria was downloaded by Rappler from a Twitter user and used with no watermark in our Christmas Eve Divisoria fire under control story. The full name of the Twitter user was credited on the photo caption.
Eight months later, at 12:05 am of Sept 30, 2013, Erwin Aguilon called our attention via Twitter to say that the photo posted on our site was his and that it was used without his permission. This is also when we found out that he was a reporter of DZIQ Radio Inquirer 990AM.
At 10:43 am of the same day, we took down the photo and posted an editor’s note: "This article had used a photo by Erwin Aguilon without his permission. We apologize for the lapse and have removed the photo." Unfortunately, our Twitter account failed to respond to Mr Aguilon, a breakdown of our social media processes.
At 11:47 pm, our CEO Maria Ressa responded to Aguilon on Twitter, saying she did not know what his tweet was about and suggested he go through proper channels to address his concerns (i.e., via email or through the news group desk or editors).
At 11:48 pm, her second tweet to him was to point out that “social networks are in the public domain.”
Many interpreted her tweet to mean that Rappler condoned copyright infringement. That is not the case. Read her explanation below:
When text, photos and videos are posted by citizens online, these materials are often used by individuals and/or organizations in a variety of ways. On television and news sites, they are sometimes read on air, collated via Storify, or cited as stories after a verification process by editors or producers. Sometimes they become memes, embedded on websites and take on lives of their own. News organizations, however, have their own internal processes on when and how to use these materials.
Rappler found 3 cases of plagiarism in our pieces:
3. 10 The Killers moves in Manila (article was taken down)
In each instance, Rappler conducted a formal investigation and an administrative process. Those involved in these cases received corresponding sanctions. Several people involved in these incidents are no longer with Rappler.
We have internal processes to safeguard against errors, but in the event these safeguards fail, we have sanctions for those who commit mistakes. Our administrative processes ensure due process and a thorough investigation which moves at a speedy pace.
Each case brings its lessons, and we incorporate those into our processes for the future.
Because institutions are not infallible, Rappler is setting up a corrections page, updated each time we commit a factual error or systems infraction. This will inform the public of the steps we take in addressing lapses on our part.
We are committed to the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It is what we demand from our officials and what we demand of ourselves.
We work hard to ensure your continued trust and will always strive to serve you better. - Rappler.com