MOST INSTANCES of disinformation in social media platforms are directed against presidential aspirant and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo, based on data gathered by an academe-media fact-checking collaboration. 

“A lot has come out ahead of the May elections. Of the 200 (subjected to fact-checking), based on our initial analysis… majority of those are directed against presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo,” University of the Philippines Journalism Professor Yvonne T. Chua said during a hearing held by the Senate Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes committee on Wednesday. 

State-owned UP initiated a collaborative fact-checking project called Tsek.ph for the elections with private institutions De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University, along with 11 media organizations. 

The project currently has more than 30 partners fact-checking information relating to the May 9 elections. 

“Every week, she is the biggest victim of disinformation or negative messaging” regardless of the issue being discussed at the time, Ms. Chua said.

In the case of the son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, Ms. Chua said there were several fake endorsements from various sectors, including supposed celebrities and even heads of state. 

Historial inaccuracies in connection with his father have also resurfaced, she added.

In 2019, Tsek.ph found that majority of deceptive and unfounded claims were released on Facebook, mostly in the form of visuals such as infographics, art cards, quote cards, among others. 

“With the findings of our independent fact-checkers, there is really a need to review our criminal laws to address the widespread disinformation and misinformation happening in our digital space,” said Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan, who chaired the hearing. 

The senator said online platforms should be held accountable for what they allow to spread. 

Meanwhile, Ms. Robredo’s survey rating gained momentum after two mainstream television networks held presidential interviews, although it is still far from that of her main rival, according to an international think tank. 

In a statement, nonprofit policy research group International Development and Security Cooperation (IDSC) said that based on a survey conducted from Jan. 23 to 27, Ms. Robredo’s rating rose by 4 percentage points to 20% compared to the results of a Jan. 2-7 survey.

“New supporters cite that they are now voting for Robredo as she laid clear plans for the country based on knowledge and experience,” IDSC said.

The IDSC commissioned Philippine-based public opinion and data analytics company WR Numero Research for its opinion poll shortly after GMA News held a Jan. 22 presidential forum, which was not participated in by the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. 

The think tank said that while Mr. Marcos is on the lead in the most recent survey, his rating dropped by 9 percentage points to 50% from 59% previously. 

The think tank said Mr. Marcos’ lessened support could be due to the disqualification cases against him. “In addition, his refusal to attend interviews reduces his chance to convey his platform.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza