FALSE

The Manila Times columnist Rigoberto “Bobi” Tiglao falsely claimed that the Philippine Star erred in reporting that Vice President Leni Robredo was the most-searched presidential candidate on Google earlier this month.

Not true. To support this wrong claim, Tiglao used a data set different from the one used by Google Trends. The newspaper report based its data on Google.

STATEMENT

On the afternoon of March 11, Tiglao posted on his official Facebook (FB) account:

“Philstar is now a venue for fake news. It reported Robredo is more searched than Marcos. This is false.”

Source: Bobi Tiglao official FB account, “Philstar is now a venue for fake news…,”, March 11, 2022

Tiglao referred to a Philippine Star report published that day, which said Robredo was the top searched presidential candidate in the country then. It reported that searches for Robredo comprised 46% of queries among five presidential candidates, using data from Google Trends’ Philippine elections dashboard. Disputing this, Tiglao further wrote:

“Follow (sic) are the actual Google Trends for the past month and in the past four hours today, which shows the opposite, with Marcos still consistently the most researched.”

Tiglao attached screenshots of two Google Trends data comparisons for the terms “Marcos” and “Robredo,” which showed per-minute data from 10:56 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. on March 11, and per-day data from Feb. 4 to March 9.

Minutes later, Tiglao claimed in another FB post that the Philippine Star again spread “fake news” and this time compared search interests across 17 Philippine regions.

Tiglao showed search interest for the terms “Robredo” and “Marcos” covering the period of Feb. 11 to March 11. Marcos supposedly fared better in this comparison across all regions.

On the other hand, an unofficial visualization of Google Trends data from a March 9 opinion column on the Star – which cited data from a different period, Feb. 5 to March 2 – showed Robredo performing better.

In response to Tiglao’s first post, a netizen said the columnist may have looked at different parameters. Others accused the Philippine Star of being paid and for spreading pro-Robredo propaganda.

FACT

Tiglao is incorrect. The data he posted used “search terms,” while Google Trends, as cited by the Philippine Star report, uses “topics” dedicated to specific presidential candidates. Interest for terms and topics are measured differently by Google.

According to Google, search “terms” are words or phrases entered into Google’s search engine, while “topics” cover a group of search terms about a specific concept.

Read the full story on VERA Files Fact Check.

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