While digital media initially served as platforms for social good, it has eventually been weaponized for spreading lies. Technological giants have allowed disinformation to thrive in digital public spaces.
We saw this in 2016, when social media turned into a battleground for false claims from politicians and their supporters.
The good news is that you can do something about the problem.
With the 2022 elections coming up, we expect more lies, propaganda, and suspicious claims to surface online. Media organizations need your help to counter those efforts to drown out facts and divert public attention from important issues.
News organizations like Rappler have repeatedly emphasized the importance of partnering with communities to actively prevent the further spread of disinformation online.
MovePH, the civic engagement arm of Rappler, has conducted several fact-checking programs to equip communities with the knowledge and skills they need to take action.
Over 5,000 students, teachers, professionals, and volunteers from all 17 regions of the country and even abroad have so far participated in these programs.
Like them, you can help fight disinformation online. Here are ways to help in MovePH’s fact-checking efforts:
Report dubious claims online
You can report any suspicious claims – like false, misleading, or unverified posts – to fact-checking organizations verified by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter.
Rappler is one of the IFCN-verified fact-checkers in the Philippines and a fact-checking partner of Facebook in the Philippines. Since 2018, Rappler has published more than 500 fact check articles, debunking disinformation online about various topics.
These are the ways you can report a claim to Rappler:
- Via email, you can send the link and the screenshot of suspicious claims to email@example.com.
- For dubious claims that are circulating on Facebook messenger, you can forward this to Newsbreak’s Facebook messenger for verification.
Move also regularly posts callouts on latest issues and trending topics, and ask followers to report related claims that are potentially false or misleading.
Attend and co-host a fact-checking webinar
Since the onset of the pandemic, MovePH has been able to conduct more than 25 webinar sessions, where participants are taught to spot and debunk false information.
More than 3,500 students, campus journalists, youth leaders, teachers, and other professionals across the country and even overseas have joined these webinars.
“In the webinar, I gained an understanding of how to fact-check, specifically the details we should check, and how to find proof of whether a claim is true or false,” Ryuichi Rosh de Guzman of De La Salle Zobel said.
Aside from teaching the basics and process of fact-checking, these webinars served as a safe space for participants to raise their questions and concerns and share their insights, learnings, and experiences in combatting online disinformation.
In several of these sessions, participants said a frequent concern for them was how to deal with relatives who shared unverified posts on group chats and social media accounts. (READ: FAQs: Fact-checking to stop disinformation online)
“I didn’t know anything about the fact-checking process, so this [webinar] was an eye-opener. I appreciate the work that organizations like Rappler do to set things straight. If only all individuals and organizations were responsible enough to do this, we would have a better educated, better informed populace,” Salve dela Paz of St. Paul College Pasig said.
You can join MovePH’s fact-checking webinars or co-organize these webinars for your own community so more individuals will be trained. Partner with MovePH for this training by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The webinars also tackle special topics, like investigative reporting, covering developing stories, debunking historical claims, and the like.
Learn about digital media
MovePH also launched a four-part webinar series to promote media and information literacy in the Philippines. The series gave participants a more critical understanding of the evolution of journalism and the online environment in the Philippines.
“I realized that a lot of fake news victims don’t even realize it! That’s what really makes the infodemic such a huge phenomenon. Fake news peddlers take advantage of this lack of awareness,” a participant said.
In these sessions, speakers and panelists tackled the potential of social media, as well as the problems it poses, the different kinds of risks online, and how digital media is being used for manipulation.
“I’ve attended two sessions. My biggest takeaways from these webinars revolve around us having to be more cautious about the information we share online,” University of the Philippines Diliman student Jericho Igdanes shared.
To learn more about digital media and the importance of discerning information in the digital age, invite Rappler as a speaker in your events or join and partner with MovePH’s webinars promoting media and information literacy.
Join the online fact-checking community
You don’t have to do fact-checking alone. Being part of a community allows you to engage with individuals who also value truth-telling. You can collaborate with Rappler’s fact-checking team and its volunteers.
One way you can get this started is by joining the Fact-checking in the Philippines Facebook group. As of June 2021, the group has more than 2,900 members who are students, campus journalists, teachers, media practitioners, volunteers, and the like.
In this platform, we share latest fact checks published by Rappler, callouts, webinars, tools and tips, any new studies, and updates on misinformation and disinformation online.
As a member of this group, you may share posts for verification, identify items in the claim that can be fact-checked, and share relevant information you’ve researched to help debunk the claims.
In 2020, more than 40 suspicious claims sent and reported in this group by volunteers resulted in published fact checks.
Volunteer to fact-check
Beyond organizing events and training, MovePH aims to build communities of action. That is why we also launched a fact-checking mentorship program.
This program aims to provide a hands-on training for volunteers to learn more about the tools needed to verify claims and write actual fact checks. By experiencing the actual process, volunteers are able to teach others and lead initiatives to fight disinformation.
“All of the false claims that I fact-checked came from my own circle – my family and friends on Facebook…. Because of this mentorship program opportunity, I was also able to experience debunking these dubious claims online with the help of the Rappler fact-checking team that patiently guided me through the process,” Owenh Toledo, a communication student from Cabanatuan City, said. (READ: [OPINION] Start with your own circle: How the pandemic turned me into a fact-checker)
The success of the program helps Rappler further establish its network of fact-checking volunteers around the country. This is critical as we move into the upcoming 2022 national elections. Communities will play a crucial role in helping fight election-related disinformation, especially in relation to those spreading in their respective localities.
“I thought learning exclusively from the professionals was already a big opportunity, but having to apply the theories into actual work was indeed an unforgettable experience,” Polytechnic University of the Philippines student Hyacinth Estrada said.
As of February 2021, at least two cycles of the program had been completed, and eight volunteers were able to use the lessons they learned from the mentorship to teach others, lead campaigns, and fact-check claims in their own local communities.
You can be an active fact-check volunteer by signing up for this mentorship program. Refresh this page for updates about the application.
It’s now up to you to make a move. – Rappler.com
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