The challenge of fact checking: People believe what they want to believe


    ‘Truth is the antidote to lies. We will not tire of telling the public what is the truth when we see lies being spread. Let’s all join hands in fighting disinformation.’

    THIS is one of the challenges of fact checking, one of the ways being done to fight disinformation proliferating in social media.

    We fight disinformation because it is a deliberate act to spread lies. That’s different from misinformation, which is wrong data published by mistake, without malice or deliberate intention to mislead.

    The organization I am part with, VERA Files, is one of Facebook’s third-party fact checkers.

    From the reactions and comments in Facebook, one can see the truth in the saying about people who have eyes but cannot see and people who have ears but cannot hear.

    This is one example: Last week VERA Files flagged down Facebook posts showing highways in Kosovo and Japan and falsely captioning them as sections of the Metro Cebu Expressway (MCE), one of the Duterte administration’s big-ticket infrastructure projects.

    VERA Files tagged the post as False, which means Facebook will reduce the visibility of this post in its newsfeed. If there are those who still want to share and spread the false post, an advisory will pop up when it is clicked saying that the post has been tagged by VERA Files as “False “and it will lead to VERA Files’ site where the netizen will read the explanation why it is false.

    But from the FB comments, one can also discern the deep political division in the country.

    Quinciano Ataviado commented: “Unthinkable-that a government is capable in foisting such lies!”

    Herman Laurel took exception to that comment: “Are you dense, it’s not government but some websites.”

    Ataviado replied to Laurel: “Why would any website present such falsehood unless instigated by a government wanting to deceive its own people?”

    Laurel deviated from the issue: “What the heck nobody looks at those FB accounts anyway, don’t OA on it.”

    Junel Paredes insisted the photos are not false: “The Metro Cebu Expressway from Naga City to Danao City Cebu, the City of my birth, is in progress under build build build projects of the Duterte adminstration! Only this administration has a lot of infrustructure projects, the Philippines soon will have the capacity to compete the Singapore and Japan! Yahoooo Philippines the real change is coming!!! The pictures that have been spreading In social media are true!!! Is not false if you have a doubt you can check in the DPWH website you can see all, all all build build build projects of the entire Philippines!!!””

    Gilbert Errol Pedrosa cannot take the truth so he asked: “And who is fact checking Vera files?”

    Rowell P. Cempron told Pedrosa, “Check it yourself. Do you know how to use Google?”
    Mark Indefenzo chimed in, “Bobo, anong ipa-fact mo sa kanila?

    Rod S. Sergio urged Pedrosa: “Oo nga naman. Sige halukayin mo ang mga post ng Vera Files tas mag hanap ka ng Fake news. kung may makita kang isa, ikaw na magaling. Now na bugok!”

    Pedrosa refused, saying, “Bibibigyan mo pa ako ng trabaho idiot.

    Mark Indefenzo said: “Kaya nga may facts di ba? May link may resibo. Utak mo na lang ang ayaw tumanggap. Sa bagay may mga utak na limitado lang ang kayang unawain.”

    Truth is the antidote to lies. We will not tire of telling the public what is the truth when we see lies being spread. Let’s all join hands in fighting disinformation.