According to fact-checking initiative group Tsek.ph, Vice president Leni Robredo and former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. remained the primary targets of disinformation in the Eleksyon 2022 presidential race, with the false or misleading information about Marcos being favorable to him while the disinformation targeting Robredo was negative.
Tsek.ph also reported that their respective running mates Senator Francis Pangilinan and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte were also the top targets of disinformation, noting that this was significant because “it reflects high political polarization.”
“What is even more significant is how supporters of the Marcos-Duterte tandem have succeeded in further boosting narratives in their favor through an increase in the volume of negative messages against Robredo,” the group said.
“As of April 30, 92% of fact checks about Marcos were false or misleading information in his favor. The proportion of debunked false claims praising Duterte was even higher at 95%. On the other hand, 96% of disinformation targeting Robredo was negative. Pangilinan consistently received negative messaging among the fact-checked claims since November,” they added.
Tsek.ph explained that negative messaging refers to claims that malign their targets. Positive messaging, on the other hand, denotes claims praising their targets.
The two types of messaging convey sentiments ranging from “approval, support, contempt, and ridicule, to attempts to deny and justify wrongdoing.”
The fact-checking group identified the sources and agents of claims that were either disinformation or false information intended to cause harm and misinformation or erroneous and inaccurate information were mostly from social media users with partisan views.
Among the social media platforms used for political campaigning are Facebook and TikTok.
“However, disinformation over Facebook is interlinked with those of other social media platforms. This means that Facebook either functions as the source or a repeater of inaccurate claims,” the report explained.
Younger platform TikTok also played a crucial role in pushing false or misleading election-related claims, it added.
According to Tsek.ph’s February analysis, only 7% of the fact-checked claims came from the video-sharing app.
The TikTok share has climbed to 13% in the latest analysis and is tied in the second spot with YouTube after Facebook. Crossposting has also risen, with 29% of fact-checked claims now appearing on two or more platforms.
“The ease with which false or misleading claims can range the social media platforms has helped increase the audience’s chances of encountering disinformation, especially so when many of the claims were repeated claims or variations of the same,” the report said.
“The repeated false claims continue to elicit interaction from social media users because either they support such views or their familiarity with those views led to their eventual acceptance,” it added.
Robredo earlier appealed to her supporters not to get tired of combating fake news as the campaign period approaches its homestretch.
She, however, admitted that she failed to properly handle the fake news directed at her during her six years as vice president.
Robredo's spokesperson Barry Gutierrez filed a cyberlibel complaint against the writer, editors, owner, and publisher of an online news site over an article claiming that Communist Party of the Philippines Chairman Joma Sison was an adviser to the Vice president and her spokesperson.
Both the camp of Robredo and Sison denied the allegation.
Meanwhile, Marcos earlier claimed that he was not the primary beneficiary of the proliferation of fake news on social media platforms. Rather, he was the victim of such.
He, however, did not specify what the supposed lies against him were. — DVM, GMA News