Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

MANILA – Fact-verifiers should flag the geotag that identifies the Philippines as “Province of China” and “North Philippines, Province of China” on social media apps Facebook and Instagram, Malacañang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque called on Vera Files and Rappler to flag the geotag, stressing that it was their job as fact-checkers to prevent fake news from spreading on social media.

“Tinatawagan ko ng pansin po ng Vera Files at Rappler, sila po yung mga fact verifiers ng Facebook. Bakit naman po nakalusot ito (I am calling the attention of Vera Files and Rappler because they are the fact verifiers of Facebook. How did this slip past them)?” he said in a virtual presser.

Last year, Facebook announced its partnership with Vera Files and Rappler for a third-party fact-checking program to identify and reduce the reach of false news.

Roque dismissed the geotag as fake news and refused to comment any further.

“Sana po yung fake news ay talagang i-flag nila dahil ito po clearly fake news. Hindi na po dapat komentan (I hope they flag this fake news because it’s clearly fake news. I shouldn’t comment on it),” he said.

On Saturday, Senator Risa Hontiveros condemned the geotag, saying that it should be taken seriously even though it was believed to be a joke.

Hontiveros said the sound of the phrase was as “infuriating” as having Filipino fishermen bullied by Chinese in the West Philippine Sea.

She encouraged mass reporting to remove the geotag from the options for users as they try to pin the location of their posts on social media.

“Kahit biro pa itong ‘Philippines Province of China’ na geotag, wag nating hayaang ma-normalize ito (Even if this Philippines Province of China geotag is just a joke, let’s not allow this to be normalized). Let’s mass report,” she said in her Twitter account.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he does not think Chinese nationals would take the geotag seriously but warned consequences against them if they do.

“You’re giving it importance. Chinese are too smart to believe that crap; any of them tries coming over without a visa from me and he’ll be detained and sent back where he came from at his own expense. At the rate you’re all going, they will have 110 million check-ins,” he said in his Twitter account.

Users can easily create a new geotag through their social media apps by simply clicking “add location” and typing a new location to add to the existing options. (ia/PNA)

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