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God’s gift to journalism now a censor? Tech expert disses Facebook’s choice of Rappler as gatekeeper

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Even Filipino journalists don’t agree with Facebook’s move to tap the website Rappler as a fact checker of articles that appear on users’ feed.

In an interview with dzMM radio Sunday (April 15), Manila Bulletin technology editor Art Samaniego called Rappler’s vetting of articles a form of censorship.

Hindi censorship ang solution para sa akin. Para sa akin ang solusyon d’yan ay education,” he said.

“Para sa akin kasi dapat ikaw mismo ang mimimili kung ano ang para sa ‘yo ano yung gusto mong makita ano yung gusto mong marinig,” Samaniego added.

Facebook recently started blocking several Filipino websites it believes to be sharing fake news, citing a violation of its community guidelines.

Aside from Rappler, Facebook also partnered with the non-profit organization VERA Files to check the spread of fake news on the website.

For Samaniego, Facebook’s choice to filter articles with dubious or erroneous information is unnecessary since users are slowly becoming discerning about who they believe.

“Kasi tingnan mo, sino pinapaniwalaan ng mga nasa social media ngayon? Si Mocha [Uson] daming followers, ang dami din namang mga mali nyang pino-post. So it’s time for us na nasa mainstream media na ipakita sa kanila na hindi yan ang tama, ito ‘yung tama,” he said.

Rappler has been under scrutiny over the issue of foreign ownership, since it allowed the United States-based Omidyar Network to have control of the company.

Some critics say Rappler is creating a new conflict of interest with its partnership with Facebook since it also posts its own articles, yet would act as a censor of content from other producers.