In time for the May 2022 national elections, academic institutions, media outlets, and civil society groups have teamed up to bring back Tsek.ph, a fact-checking platform to combat election-related disinformation.
The new site, relaunched on Jan. 24, will verify and fact-check claims including platforms and campaign promises of candidates, election-related statements made by candidates, personalities, government agencies, and other entities, and election-related posts on social media and blogs.
It will rate the statements as either accurate, false, misleading, no basis, or needs context.
“This global collaboration effort is an important reminder of the importance of working together when facts are under attack, and fact-checking is needed more than ever,” said Baybars Örsek, director of the International Fact-Checking Network.
“Tsek.ph is one of the most significant efforts in the world that has been carrying out these activities in such a collaborative way that has inspired so many collaborative initiatives among other fact-checkers,” he added.
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A 2021 survey by Pulse Asia found that 48% of Filipino adults get their political news from the internet, with 44% going to Facebook to read headlines.
Misinformation, however, has been a recurrent issue in social media. “Dahil presidentiables ang naglalaban, mukhang mas malala ngayon ang misinformation this year than in 2019,” UP College of Mass Communications Associate Dean Rachel Khan told Teleradyo.
Khan also said that ideally, the project will be able to verify claims made by candidates in different interviews.
“The thing is, mas madaling magtayo ng fake website kaysa totoo. Kung meron kang integridad, gagawin mo ang lahat para ang lumalabas [na mga balita] ay tama,” she added.
Tsek.ph builds on the first website launched for the 2019 elections by the University of the Philippines under its Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and together with its Department of Journalism.
Twenty-two other institutions from the academe, media, and civil society groups are taking part in the effort against disinformation.
According to Khan, each platform has its own system to fact-check. Tsek.ph also has its own secretariat to review the fact-checking done by the partners and then there’s another level of vetting to determine whether the story would be published on the collaborated platform.