Filipino journalist groups launch fake news blocker

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Center for Media Freedom (CMFR) and Responsibility launched on Monday a journalist-moderated tool that guards against fake news.

The Google Chrome plug-in Fakeblok flags fake news and misinformation on Facebook. The NUJP said Filipino journalists came together to list fake news websites and develop a tool against these.

"Over the past months, unverified posts on social media have been intentionally spreading misinformation," the NUJP said. "Even state-run news agencies have come up with, shared, and legitimized fake news."

The NUJP was referring to recent lapses with the state-run Philippine News Agency, which reported on the Marawi crisis with a photo from the Vietnam war.

Licensed news agencies, including CNN Philippines, have fallen victim to hoax websites mimicking their name and logo, but peddling unverified news. These fake accounts and sites can usually be told apart through a changed or added character in the name, as well as the absence of an "about" page.

"We cannot believe everything that we read. We need to constantly question. We need to reclaim the truth. We need to reclaim our newsfeeds," the NUJP post added.

The extension notifies the user when a fake site appears on their Facebook feed, graying out the post and cautioning against clicking or sharing it.

Fakeblok is downloadable from the Chrome store. Fake news sites could also be reported through fakeblok.com, upon which a group of independent journalists verify the sites.

"It also lets you submit sites that you think share fake news, for vetting by an independent group of journalists," the NUJP statement explained. "The only way that we can figure out fact from fiction is by working together."

As of publishing time, the Fakeblok website listed 873,180 people who downloaded the extension.

The Fakeblok website also discouraged brands and businesses to pull their advertisements out of fake news.

"Clicks and advertisements allow fake news sites to thrive," a statement on the website said. "As long as they profit, they'll keep on churning fake news."

CMFR previously listed characteristics of fake news sites, particularly fake websites, which include the lack of identification, unverified aggregated content, article submissions open to the public, and trending news sites.

Among those CMFR listed as websites to be wary of are Pinoy Trending, Pinoy Trending News, News Trend PH, Asian Policy Press, Public Trending, FilipiNews PH, Trending Viral, News Info Learn, All Things Pinoy, Today in Manila, Definitely Filipino, Trending News Portal, and Classified Trends.