Manila Standard : Rappler ‘sorry’ for its prez poll; Marcos forgiving

19 October 2021

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

Presidential contender Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is offering a unifying brand of governance once elected to office, on Monday said the public should give Rappler a chance to explain itself after the online news site pulled a Facebook graphic on the current race for the Palace in 2022.

“Let us give Rappler another chance,” Partido Federal standard-bearer Marcos Jr. said, in asking his restive supporters as he tried to pacify them from pursuing a hate campaign against the controversial media entity.

“Those behind the manipulation of a simple exercise to get the voters’ pulse on the 2022 presidential race might have been overwhelmed by their desire to accomplish whatever mission assigned to them… so let’s give them another chance to find honesty in their heart,” Marcos said.

His move was seen by political analysts as possibly earning an additional virtue etched to his name as “a pacifying leader.”

Rappler apologized to netizens in a statement but said they took down their post because it did not fit their goals for their online campaign.

“As a way to engage with our online community, we posted on Thursday, October 7, a graphic on our social media accounts showing some of the presidential aspirants. In hindsight, and as pointed out by many of our readers, it was not the best way to engage meaningfully. We’re sorry, and thank you for helping us do better,” the statement said.

Last May, when Rappler announced its #PHVote battlecry, #WeDecide: Atin ang Pilipinas, it said it would desist “from a horse-race type of election coverage.”

“When we proclaimed that ‘the main character in the 2022 elections is going to be the voter,’ we promised to give more importance to issue-based election coverage,” the statement added.

“After posting the said graphic, we realized it was not aligned with our objective, so we have decided to take it down. We thank our loyal readers and supporters who rightfully called us out and who continue to help us do better,” Rappler said.

Nonetheless, Marcos thanked and congratulated his millions of supporters for checking the survey facts of Rappler, the Facebook fact-checker in the Philippines, which initiated its online pulsing for presidential preference in the 2022 elections.

He also exhorted them to remain steadfast and vigilant amid reports that some poll trending for the 2022 presidential race is being manipulated to favor certain candidates, particularly those with low survey numbers.

Along with angry vloggers, multitudes of “BBM” supporters early last week unleashed their wrath against Rappler after its online survey caught fire in various platforms of the social media.

Rappler assigning the different emoticons to presidential aspirants in the list on which to signify a vote.

The Wow FB emoticon was assigned to Marcos Jr., while the Heart was assigned to Vice President Leni Robredo. The Laugh emoticon was tacked to Senator Panfilo Lacson, the Like emoticon to Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and the Care emoticon to Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Rappler’s supposed manipulation was discovered after a netizen uploaded on Tiktok, another social media platform, a video of him checking out the emoticons hit for each of the candidates.

In the video, the total number of votes cast for Robredo was already 161,000, while Marcos only had 87,000. However, the video showed that upon counter-checking the pages, the actual Wow emoticons far outnumbered the Heart emoticons.

Vlogger Kasangga Jay slammed Rappler’s deception, saying it was another attempt by what he called the “biased” media outfit to deceive the public.

“It’s sad to think that this biased press, biased media is fooling us again because in their survey its content seems questionable or strange, Kasangga … It seems that something is wrong because Leni is in the lead, with heart reactions but when the Tiktok uploader investigated, the Wow reactions for Bongbong Marcos were the ones leading,” he said.

Another vlogger, Maui Becker or Princess Maui, lambasted Rappler and expressed suspicion that, as administrator, the new outfit had access to inactive accounts and misused the authority by using those accounts to cast a vote for Robredo.

“Rappler’s epic fail, they were embarrassed. Purveyor of fake news or biased reports. Is all your news fake, Rappler? Unable to cope with your technical maneuvering, survey manipulation. They couldn’t handle the number or influx of BBM’s followers. They can’t because they are not the only netizens who are aware and appreciate BBM,” Princess Maui said.

“I can’t accept that you are leading my survey,” she added in a parody of an April Boy song.

“Your system can’t handle, your Facebook and Rappler program can’t handle if they immediately dumped Leni with 100k or 150k to make it difficult for BBM… Maybe they have access to FB accounts that are dormant and used in the survey… most of the Leni supporters were accounts of Pakistanis, Arabs, poseur, fake accounts,” the vlogger added.

Princess Maui also expressed suspicion that the survey debacle was a pilot test of plans to rig the presidential elections in May next year.

“Maybe this is a rehearsal for their planned fraud in next year’s elections, a precursor of some kind, test pilot of their fraud,” the vlogger pointed out.