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The Manila Times : Rappler scraps 'biased' survey

News & Interviews
18 October 2021

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times

ONLINE media outfit Rappler deleted its Facebook presidential survey after netizens accused it of using the poll for propaganda, according to several vloggers on Sunday.

The vloggers said Rappler has apologized to "angry" netizens and explained that the survey had to be taken down since it was not aligned with its objectives.

They said the manipulation was discovered when the total number of those who reacted "did not tally" with the list of netizens who actually reacted.

Rappler asked Facebook users in an October 7 post to respond with specific emojis to indicate their preferred presidential bet.

The poll asked the question: "Who is your presidential bet for the 2022 elections?" An amused emoji meant a vote for Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, a thumbs-up sign for Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, a heart emoji for Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, a shocked emoji for Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., and a caring emoji for Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao.

Vloggers Maui Becker, Chika-Doro, and Kasangga Jay chided Rappler for its "attempt to deceive the public into believing that independent presidential aspirant Leni Robredo is now getting the support of netizens." Becker said Facebook and Rappler's systems crashed when they allegedly tried to show that Robredo had garnered 100,000 to 150,000 online votes, far ahead of Marcos.

"Epic fail," Becker said in a statement. She suspected that, as the administrator of Facebook Philippines, Rappler "had access to inactive accounts." Becker claimed that Rappler "misused the authority by using those accounts to cast a vote after a check on those who clicked the heart emoji showed that they were mostly accounts of Pakistanis, Arab, poseurs, accounts without profile pictures, or fake accounts." Chika-Doro described the poll as "a sabotage survey" as he complained that he clicked the shocked emoji but his friends later told him that it was changed to heart, arousing suspicion that the auto-heart feature of the post was turned on.

"Itong survey na ginawa ng Rappler ay (This survey that Rappler made was a) real sabotage," Chika-Doro said.

Kasangga Jay said, "Nakakalungkot isipin na niloloko na naman tayo (It's sad to think that we were being fooled by this) nitong biased press, biased media na ito."