In recent years, fake news has been spreading like wildfire and misinformation has been rampant in the Philippines and other parts of the world.
Some have even used fake news as propaganda to target well-known personalities, government officials, as well as progressive groups. (Read: 3 Times UP Was Red-Tagged and Called ‘Bayaran’ This Year) Websites and social media accounts have also been set up to foster misleading articles and feed netizens with fake news that could confuse or even potentially harm them.
This is the reason why fact-checking organizations and websites like factcheck.org, the International Fact-Checking Network, and VERA files amped up their work to counter these inaccurate posts. And now, even social media giants Twitter and Facebook are doing their share in promoting truth and squashing fake news. (Read: Facebook Takes Down 100 Accounts Linked to PH Military, Police)
These social media platforms further enhanced their efforts during the 2020 US Elections to ensure that no premature wins would be declared by any candidate or supporter, and that no one will get confused by false claims made in regard to the elections.
Donald Trump Gets Flagged
With their amplified efforts to counter fake news, Twitter and Facebook recently flagged some posts made by incumbent US President Donald Trump, who is running for his second term in office. (Read: Fake news endangers lives more than COVID-19, and each of us can fix it) Many of his supporters were infuriated when the businessman-turned-politician’s tweets and posts were marked as “disputed content,” and were angered when they couldn’t reply, like, or share the marked posts.
Flagged Content: “They are making up votes.”
Late night on November 4 (Manila Time), Democrat presidential candidate Joseph “Joe” Biden overtook Trump in the number of votes in the states of Michigan and Wisconsin, where the latter was initially in the lead by a large margin. Pennsylvania votes for Biden have also been steadily catching up to Trump’s, prompting the Republican candidate’s tweet about the Democrats “working hard” to create 500,000 votes to equalize with him. (Read: 3 Game Changer Officials Who Won at the 2020 US Elections)
However, the fact is that the 2020 US Elections had an overwhelming number of mail-in voters—individuals who opted to mail in their votes to keep themselves safe from the pandemic. And as the mail-in ballots arrive at the election centers much later than the votes made through in-person and early voting, they also affect the results of the initial vote counts.
Flagged Content: “They are trying to steal the election.”
Trump claimed that the Democrats are trying to “steal” the election from under them by letting their supporters vote even after polling centers close. But the truth is no one—regardless of age or social status—is allowed to vote once polling centers are closed. (Read: Timeline: What Prompted Duterte’s Threat to Stop Facebook PH?)
Vote and ballot counting takes days or weeks, especially with the delays in postal services due to the pandemic. And results will definitely fluctuate and shift from candidate to candidate while counting.
Flagged Content: “Mail-in ballots are questionable.”
The incumbent president also said he noticed that whenever mail-in ballots were counted, majority of the votes go to Biden. He, together with his supporters, are claiming that the election is being rigged and mail-in ballots are being used to cheat. (Read: WHO beefs up fight against fake news with new Facebook Messenger chatbot) However, the real score is that with the millions of ballots that were sent through the postal services this year, it would take a longer time to count every single one.
It would also mean that a candidate will definitely hold a huge margin during the counting, while the rest of the votes are being counted.