Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Marcos insists he has no trolls, says fake news ‘dangerous’

Lian Buan

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Marcos insists he has no trolls, says fake news ‘dangerous’

PRESIDENTIAL INTERVIEW. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr sits down with journalist Korina Sanchez in a series of presidential interviews. Screenshot from Rated Korina Youtube

A vast network of disinformation that supports Marcos propaganda is well-documented. Fact-check coalition Tsek.PH says Marcos is biggest beneficiary of fake news.
Marcos insists he has no trolls, says fake news ‘dangerous’

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr insisted his camp does not deploy troll farms and has not resorted to historical revisionism about his father’s dictatorial rule. He also said he would not censor media except to find a way to eradicate fake news which he called “dangerous.”

“Find me one. Hanapan mo ko kahit isa na troll. Nakita niyo naman sa Facebook, ako lang ang walang gastos sa Facebook kahit isang sentimo. I don’t do that,” Marcos said in a sit-down interview with journalist Korina Sanchez, streamed on Monday, February 7.

(Look for even just one troll. You saw on Facebook, I’m the only one who did not spend a single cent on Facebook. I don’t do that.)

Multiple Rappler investigations have found the propagation of disinformation networks that benefit the Marcoses, primarily to whitewash the abuses and corruption during his father’s martial law.

Recently, Twitter suspended around 300 accounts that were supportive of Marcos for inauthentic and coordinated behavior. Rappler also found that the popular Facebook group “Philippine History,” once a community for posts of old Manila and antiques, has transformed into a space for pro-Marcos propaganda and disinformation.

There were no follow-up questions from Sanchez on the matter, but she asked him to what did he attribute his good numbers in opinion surveys. Marcos said it’s their “message of unity.”

Marcos also denied that their family has resorted to historical revisionism.

“Show me. Show me where there’s revisionism, from our part, our side, show me. Anything that we have said we can prove that this actually happened,” said Marcos.

In a Senate hearing in May 2020, Senator Imee Marcos was proposing to revive the Masagana program of her father, claiming it would help farmers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. But on the spot Imee’s claim was debunked by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, agriculture secretary during the presidency of Corazon Aquino, who said that Masagana left rural banks bankrupt.

Marcos is being criticized for snubbing some media forums with other presidential bets and branding journalists whom he believes are anti-Marcos to be “biased.” Marcos rarely grants interviews, and is elusive to reporters even during campaign events.

But Marcos said “I don’t find any reason for what you would call censorship.”

Saying that the internet has made it difficult to censor anyone, fake news is a problem that needs to be addressed, he said. “Some of it is dangerous, that I think we have to do something about it,” said Marcos, adding that fact-checking is a viable solution.

“What’s more important than that is if we explain that they’re fake. Vaccines work. Masks work. Stop telling us that they don’t because your’e wrong, and it’s dangerous for you to be doing that. That’s my simple example,” said Marcos.

Fact-checking coalition Tsek.PH has recently found that Marcos is the biggest beneficiary of disinformation, while his archrival Vice President Leni Robredo is the biggest victim.

Asked about the closure of broadcast giant ABS-CBN in 2020, Marcos said it’s up to Congress to determine if the network has passed the requirements to renew their franchise. The first time that ABS-CBN closed down was during Martial Law that was imposed by Marcos’ father.

 “It’s not up to me to reopen  ABS-CBN. It’s not up to the President. It’s up to the Congress, it’s up to the House of Representatives,” said Marcos.

Marcos insists he has no trolls, says fake news ‘dangerous’

– Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.