Fact checkers call fake pre-election news ‘firehose of lies’

Photo from INQUIRER.net file

MANILA, Philippines — More than 65 million Filipino voters will head to the polls on Monday, after being inundated with an unprecedented amount of fake news spread across multiple platforms and formats akin to a “fire hose of lies,” according to Tsek.ph — an independent fact-checking coalition.

Even more alarming, Tsek.ph noted, is the increased proliferation of lies that have targeted the Electoral Commission, the Catholic Church and the media for their supposed role in perpetuating electoral fraud that can steal the election from the country. current favourite, Ferdinand. Marcos Jr.

“If the public has little confidence in these institutions, the electoral process would be less credible because these institutions play a crucial role on election day,” said Tsek.ph organizers Yvonne Chua, Diosa Labiste and Felipe Gonzales.

In its second analysis of disinformation across multiple social media platforms, Tsek.ph – a nationwide coalition of universities, civic and legal groups, and fact-checking media outlets regarding election-related disinformation – said that it “tracked a high volume of multi-pronged, multi-platform news of attacks on selected targets using traditional media and social media sharing communities to spread messages and false narratives.

Specifically, it targeted the top two frontrunners in the presidential race: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Leni Robredo, as well as allies and groups associated with their candidacy.

Since the start of the election campaign, the two men had been at the center of a so-called “fire hose strategy” intended to inundate consumers with messages peddling lies and fictions, Tsek.ph organizers said. Chua, Labiste and Gonzales.

In their first analysis, which covered 200 fact checks from November 2021 to early February, much of the misinformation they tracked was aimed at suppressing Robredo and improving the tainted image of Marcos Jr.

For the second analysis, which covered 685 fact-checks from February to the end of April, Tsek.ph pointed to several content seeking to “sow confusion in the conduct of the vote, which could undermine the results of the election”, have organizers said.

What’s even more significant is “how supporters of the Marcos-Duterte tandem have managed to further strengthen the narratives in their favor through an increase in the volume of negative posts against Robredo,” organizers said.

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