Philippine Nobel Laureate Ressa Calls Facebook “Biased Against Facts” By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rappler CEO and CEO Maria Ressa is escorted by police after posting bail at the Pasig Regional Trial Court in Pasig City, the Philippines on March 29, 2019. REUTERS / Eloisa Lopez / File Photo


By Karen Lema

MANILA (Reuters) – Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa used her newfound prominence to criticize Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 as a threat to democracy, saying the social media giant does not protect against the spread of hate and misinformation and is “biased against the facts.”

The veteran journalist and director of the Philippine news site Rappler told Reuters in an interview after winning the award that Facebook’s algorithms “prioritize the dissemination of lies mixed with anger and hatred over facts.”

His comments add to recent pressure on Facebook, used by more than 3 billion people, that a former employee became a whistleblower -senate- Hearing-2021-10-03 accused of putting profit before the need to stop hate speech and misinformation. Facebook denies any wrongdoing.

A Facebook representative in the Philippines did not respond to requests for comment on Ressa’s comments.

Ressa shared the Nobel / world / philippines-journalist-ressa-russian-journalist-muratov-win-2021-nobel-peace-2021-10-08 with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov editor-muratov-dedicates-the-nobel-laureate-staff-assassinated-his-job-2021-10-08 on Friday, so the committee called defying the wrath of the leaders of the Philippines and Russia to expose corruption and misgovernment, in an endorsement of free speech under fire around the world.

Facebook has become the world’s largest news distributor and “yet it is biased against the facts, it is against journalism,” Ressa said.

“If you don’t have facts, you can’t have truths, you can’t have confidence. If you don’t have any of these, you don’t have democracy,” he said. “Beyond that, if you don’t have facts, you don’t have a shared reality, so you can’t solve the existential problems of the climate, the coronavirus.”

Ressa has been the target of intense hate campaigns on social media by supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, which she said aimed to destroy her and Rappler’s credibility.


“These online attacks on social media have a purpose, they are targeted, they are used as a weapon,” said the former CNN journalist.

Rappler’s reports have included close scrutiny of Duterte’s deadly war on drugs and a series of investigative reports on what it says is the strategy of your government to weaponize the Internet. using bloggers on his payroll to provoke ire among online supporters who threaten and discredit Duterte’s critics.

Duterte has not commented on Ressa’s award. The presidential palace, Duterte’s spokesman, his top legal adviser and the communications office did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

In March 2019, Facebook took down an online network in the Philippines for “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, and linked it to an entrepreneur who had Said earlier that he helped manage the president’s election campaign on social media in 2016.

Filipinos lead the world in time spent on social media, according to 2021 studies conducted by social media management companies.

Platforms like Facebook have become political battlegrounds and have helped strengthen Duterte’s base of support, having been instrumental in his election victory in 2016 and a defeat for his allies in midterm polls last year.

The Philippines will hold elections in May to elect Duterte’s successor, which according to the constitution is not allowed search for another term.

That campaign “will be a battle for facts,” Ressa said. “We are going to continue to make sure that our public sees the facts, understands them. We are not going to be harassed or intimidated into keeping silent.”

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