Wanna be FB fact checker like Rappler, Vera Files? Get Soros, Omidyar, CIA as your backers
Rappler and Vera Files have come under a firestorm of opposition since Facebook announced their designation as chief connoisseur of fake news on its platform.
Both Rappler and Vera Files claimed the main reason why they were picked by Facebook was their accreditation by the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) of the Poynter Institute.
“One of the requirements for an IFCN accreditation is non-partisanship and fairness,” EllenTordesillas, Vera Files president, said in a statement.
“It’s a responsibility, not a privilege. We accepted it because, along with you, we’ve seen how lies have ripped us apart as a society, fomenting hate and anger,” said Rappler.
Even Facebook acknowledged that the only reason why it picked Rappler and Vera Files as its truth police was their certification by Poynter as the lone fact checkers in the Philippines at this point.
Curiously, the two groups omitted from their carbon copy explanation the money men behind Poynter and its IFCN project, which is most likely linked to their partnership with Facebook.
Poynter, a self-styled “global leader in journalism” school in Florida, launched the IFCN in 2015 with money from billionares George Soros, infamous for breaking the Bank of England, and Pierre Omidyar, founder of Ebay.
From an initial $225,000 funding in 2015, Omidyar Network and Soros’ Open Society Foundation gave a combined $1.3 million to Poynter in 2017 to beef up the IFCN.
Omidyar Network said its $1-million donation to Poynter was intended to “strengthen independent media and investigative journalism, tackle misinformation and hate speech, and enable citizens to better engage with government on critical issues” over the next three years.
If Omidyar Network sounds familiar, that’s because it invested $1.5 million in Rappler in 2015 via Philippine Depository Receipts.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently ruled that Rappler violated the ban on foreign media ownership by allowing Omidyar to gain control of the company.
Meanwhile, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte tagged Soros as the man behind moves to oust him from power through the Human Rights Watch which obtained a $100 million infusion from the Hungarian billionaire.
One of Rappler’s financial backers, North Base Media, was co-founded by Sasa Vucinic, who used to head the Media Development Investment Fund owned by Soros.
Vera Files disclosed on its website that its fact checking project was funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which was bankrolled by Soros.
NED was the first non-government organization banned by Putin in 2015 for having “participated in work to declare the results of election campaigns illegitimate, organize political actions intended to influence decisions made by the authorities, and discredit service in Russia’s armed forces.”