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Organization: Rappler
Applicant: Maria Ressa and Gemma B. Mendoza
Assessor: Ma. Diosa Labiste

Conclusion and recommendations
on 25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Ma. Diosa Labiste wrote:

I recommend for the inclusion of Rappler in the IFCN’s network.

Rappler is among the top online news sites in the Philippines in terms of traffic. Its news format targets young readers latched onto their mobile communication gadgets. Rappler calls itself a “social news network.”

Fact-checking Rappler covers diverse topics like politics, culture and international relations. It does not only point out errors of fact or empirical information but also explains the context of the contested items in the news. Fact-checking appears prominently in three sections—“Fact Check,” “Fast Facts” and “Rappler IQ.” The fact-checking work in Rappler is aided by its database built by its precursor, Newsbreak magazine (defunct), which published award-winning investigative pieces and long form, and MovePH, which is the citizen journalism arm of Rappler. The investigative arm of Rappler was also named “Newsbreak.” Both Rappler and MovePH have their own set of codes of ethics that spelled out the general and specific guidelines such as how to avoid bias in news production and conflict of interests. Specific guidelines, for example, cover situations like accepting gadgets after a review (don’t) and avoiding expensive lunch or dinner treats.

Rappler was ahead in adopting external fact-checking as a newsroom practice in the Philippines. This fact-checking enterprise became prominent during the May 2016 national elections where statements of presidential and vice presidential candidates were subjected to verification of facts and contexts. While Rappler was praised for pointing out inconsistencies in the statements of politicians, it also earned the ire of some political groups and agents that accused Rappler of partisanship. The accusation continues to this day but mostly coming from the supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte.

There are two issues I would raise on Rappler. The first one is on its ownership structure. Rappler’s registration papers in the Philippines and Indonesia submitted to IFCN do not provide details on who are the owners and how much was the capital. There’s no information on who are responsible for the infusion of capital, and how much, that enabled Rappler to expand its operations, at first in the Philippines and later in Indonesia. This oversight can be addressed by the news organization for transparency’s sake. However it cannot be proven whether or not the presence of non-journalist owners and investors of Rappler have compromised its fact-checking project. The second one is that Rappler does not explicitly state its fact-checking methodology that includes claims to fact check and sources to provide evidence as well as explicitly invite the audience to participate in its fact-checking project/section. This could be easily addressed by Rappler because fact-checking is part of its regular news and work flow. Moreover Rappler is an early adopter of fact-checking as a journalistic form/genre.

on 25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Ma. Diosa Labiste recommended Accept

Section 1: Organization

Criterion 1a
Proof of registration
Evidence required: Please provide evidence that the signatory is a legally-registered organization set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking or the distinct fact-checking project of a recognized media house or research institution.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

This is the link to Rappler’s organizational profile:

This is the link to Rappler’s certificate incorporation with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission:

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf 1a - FFS registratio... (336 KB)
Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler is registered in the Philippines and in Indonesia. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC, Philippines) document provided by Rappler to IFCN only reflects its registration as a corporation. The same is true of the document from Indonesia. Absent were parts of the incorporation documents that showed the names of the incorporators/owners and capital.

done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Criterion 1b
Evidence required: Insert a link to the archive of fact checks published in the previous three months. If you do not collect all fact checks in one place, please explain how the fact-checking is conducted by your organization.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago) Updated: 5 years ago

Fact-checks are published in various sections of The section designation depends on the topic being fact checked. 

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler has three fact-checking categories – “Fact Check”, “Fast Facts” “ Rappler IQ”and the first one verifies information and calls out inconsistencies and errors in facts and claims(example:, the second one clears up historical facts (example:, and the third, “Rappler IQ” is a stand-alone section that makes sense of facts, figures and information that are “interesting, incredible, intelligent and inane” ( “Fact Check” is a section but not a visible category in the opening page of Rappler although it is searchable within the site. As of April 15, 2017,“Fact Check” has a total of 21 entries. “Fast-Facts”, which is more of historical research, has more entries than Fact Check while Rappler IQ is similar to Fast Facts as an explainer (concise explanatory piece) although dealing with generally current information, i.e. Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

“Fact Check” is a story by itself or part of bigger stories. It is found in various sections of the news site, depending on the issue discussed. It provides substantial information on the issue being fact-checked by supplying contexts, links to previous stories published by Rappler and embedding infographics and copies of documents, laws and related studies.

Fact-check is part of Rappler’s news flow; it is not a funded or special project.

done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2a
Body of work sample
Evidence required: Please share links to ten fact checks that better represent the scope and consistency of your fact-checking. Provide a short explanation of how your organization strives to maintain coherent standards across fact checks.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler adheres to standards of accuracy, truthfulness, and impartiality in our stories and reports. We strive to treat subjects of stories fairly. We exert maximum effort to get all sides of an issue or a story. Only information that is vetted by senior editors and obtained from at least 2 sources, or an authoritative source supported by documents, is published or aired on Rappler.

Fact-checking claims made by third parties is built into Rappler’s regular editorial workflow.

These are samples of key fact checks done by Rappler:

FAST FACTS: Who invented the Philippine terno?, by, 27 Jan 2017

FACT CHECK: Is Manila cop who overran protesters back in service?, by Bea Cupin, 24 Jan 2017

Cagayan de Oro flooding: Did Pagasa give enough warnings?, by Gwen dela Cruz, 19 Jan 2017

Russia hits PH papers for 'not reporting' on Russian vessels, by Paterno Esmaquel II, 4 Jan 2017

Dela Rosa says PNP hit year-end drugs war target, by Bea Cupin, 27 Dec 2016

FACT CHECK: Ombudsman has no power to probe Dela Rosa US trip?, by Camille Elemia, 16 Nov, 2016

FACT CHECK: Was EDCA not signed by Aquino?, by, 4 Oct 2016

FACT CHECK: Gordon on UN silence, Chicago and PH killings, by Jodesz Gavilan, 3 Oct 2016

FACT CHECK: FA-50s criticized by Duterte are from S. Korea, not US, by Katerina Francisco, 9 Sept 2016

FACT CHECK: Security dog assigned to Cory not buried in Libingan, by Jodesz Gavilan, 8 Sept 2016

Has 'war on drugs' cut down crime?, by Bea Cupin, 25 Aug 2016

Duterte losing 2 policemen daily to drug war? Stats don’t say so, by Pia Ranada, 24 Aug 2016

FACT CHECK: One judge in Duterte list already dead for 8 years, by Jodesz Gavilan, 7 Aug 2016

Election data quash Marcos' cheating pattern claim, by Gemma B. Mendoza and Wayne Manuel, 14 May 2016

FACT CHECK: Did Grace Poe sign the coco levy bill?, by Camille Elemia, 22 Mar 2016

Corona lied about academic honors?

EXCLUSIVE: Did Bongbong Marcos lie about Oxford, Wharton?

Oxford University confirms Bongbong Marcos got only 'special diploma'

EXCLUSIVE: No master’s degrees for Ralph Recto

In the past months, Rappler has also been actively fact-checking fake news circulating on social media.

During the Presidential elections, editors, reporters and researchers fact-checked statements made by presidential candidates real-time.

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler’s “Fact-Check” pulls together information from various sources not only to verify a claim but also provide resources for a deeper understanding of the issue being fact-checked. For example, the item being fact-checked was President’s Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement before a group of Boy Scouts that a child offender (12-15 years old) could just go home after committing “serious crime” ( The story debunked Duterte’s claims by providing links to the specific law ( that he erroneously cited. To explain the issue well, the story included hyper links to Rappler’s three-part multi-media story on “children in conflict with the law” (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3 The reporter who did the “Fact-Check” was also the author of the story in three parts that also have hyper links to other resources like laws, news article from rival publication, etc.

Written up as a story, “Fact Check” allows for nuanced treatment of information being fact checked by providing the context and links to related information, instead of just saying that a claim is wrong or valid. In short, there is no “either or” verdict. For example, the story on whether the local human rights commission has cleared Duterte of involvement with death squads responsible for killing alleged criminals when he was still the mayor of Davao City, Rappler ( provided a discussion how the commission reached a decision -- that the investigations over the killings have been terminated because there were no witnesses found in 2012. The story ended with this somewhat speculative line: “Now, with two self-confessed DDS (Davao Death Squad) members – one of them allegedly close to Duterte – will investigations finally proceed?” This sentence alludes to the fact the two alleged hit men came out and said they were taking orders from Duterte, then a mayor.

Entries of “Fact Check” (21 in all) primarily concerned the statements or acts of government officials. Of this, majority of the entries were fact-checking the pronouncements of Duterte, his Cabinet officials, and associates. Noticeable was the absent of Fact Check entries on opposition groups and big business/corporations at present. What follows would explain this.

Under the Duterte's administration (June 30, 2016 to present) almost all of the items on the "Fact Check" section of Rappler are on the statements on Duterte and his allies. But before that, Rappler, especially during the months leading up to the elections, had fact checked the administration (then under President Benign Aquino III) and opposition bets alike. Duterte then was an opposition candidate.

There is something about Duterte and his associates/administration that invites fact-checking, not only of Rappler but other news organisations in the Philippines. I could think of four or five news groups that are engaged in fact-checking at present. Duterte would say something and then takes it back the following day, or his spokespersons will retract, reinterpret or blame the media for misquoting or twisting his statement. Duterte curses and threatens people publicly, including journalists and news organizations that are critical of him. He has no regard for the rule of law and rational argument. His dealings with some women can be seen as sexist and misogynist - he even catcalled a journalist. Some Duterte's supporters are behind the spread of a number of fake news sites as examined by a three-part story written by Rappler late last year and also by other news organisations early this year.

I believed that these conditions present opportunities for the full use of fact-checking as a novel journalistic form, as part of watchdog and gatekeeping functions of media in the country. When Duterte, his associates and trolls accused journalists of being paid hacks, biased, and corrupt, perhaps fact-checking is a way to simply show that media did not concoct the lies (or "alternative facts") in the first place. Duterte did. I believed that Rappler's focus on Duterte is not a bias but in keeping with the prevailing media practice of monitoring the exercise/abuse of power under the Duterte's administration.

done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Criterion 2b
Nonpartisanship policy
Evidence required: Please share evidence of your policy preventing staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations. Please also indicate the policy your organization has as a whole regarding advocacy and supporting political candidates.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler has a strict policy with respect to conflict of interest. This is not limited to political parties or advocacy organizations. In general, staff are required to disclose and avoid potential conflicts of interest situations, where loyalty to a person, group or institution could affect their ability to report about them truthfully.

There is a strict policy as well to reject gifts or privileges that could influence the independence or create a perception of compromised independence.

Staff are also advised to avoid taking part in activities or being part of organizations which could limit or compromise their independence and endanger their professional integrity.

These principles are enshrined Rappler’s Code of Ethics which was initiated in 2012 and is updated from time to time as the need arises. The Code of Ethics is annexed to the Code of Conduct which every Rappler signs upon joining the organization.

The Code of Ethics serves as the skeleton / backbone of a daily operations manual that we maintain.

Through Move.PH, its civic engagement unit, Rappler works with citizen journalists in communities all over the country. Citizen journalists also sign the Movers’ Code of Ethics. 

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler’s Code of Ethics, which is supposedly given to every employee joining the organization, advised the staff to avoid taking part in activities and joining groups that could affect their independence as journalists. These include political parties and advocacy organizations. Members of staff are required to disclose conflict of interests and avoid situations that might compromise their professional integrity. On the other hand, citizen journalists under MovePH are prohibited from being spokespersons of private or political groups to avoid conflict of interests. This MovePH guideline falls under “editorial independence” that is one of the four core principles of the group. The three other are “accuracy and truthfulness”, “fairness and balance,” and “ minimizing harm.”

done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3a
Sources Policy
Please share a brief and public explanation (500 words max) of how sources are provided in enough detail that readers could replicate the fact check. If you have a public policy on how you find and use sources for your fact-checking, it should be shared here.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

As a rule, we always identify our sources in our stories. In our interviews and coverages, editors, reporters, production specialists, and photographers are expected to inform sources that they will be duly identified and quoted. They are discouraged from giving sources false assurances of anonymity in stories. There are exceptions to this rule, however, when it comes to sensitive stories, especially investigative reports or exposes. We use anonymous sources based on the following conditions: 1.) When the source has a proven track record of truthfulness and there is no one else who can provide such information immediately 2.) When the source is an insider or a whistle-blower whose life will be put at risk or whose job will be endangered if he is identified, but whose information can be verified with other sources or vetted in documents 3.) When the source’s information is confirmed by other independent sources or documents. We also do not allow just a general reference to “anonymous source” or “anonymous sources” in our stories. We exert effort to describe who they are and what they do. A close adviser of the President; a military officer who attended the command briefing; a senator who was privy to meetings that were held; etcetera.

Whenever documents or stories cited in articles are available online, we either embed these source documents or hyperlink to the source material. 

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler was at the center of a controversy recently when it was accused by the former presidential spokesperson, now columnist, Rigoberto Tiglao, of sexing up the numbers of persons killed in the anti-drug campaign of Duterte. Published under “Rappler IQ”, the statistics on drug killings are regularly updated (over 7,080 deaths as of April 10, 2017, with 76th update). Tiglao claims that Rappler’s stories on the drug campaign are biased and a lie ( There are several steps taken by Rappler to answer the accusations of inaccuracy and bias raised by Tiglao. First, it showed how it derived its count of the total number of persons killed in the anti-drug campaign from the data provided by Philippine National Police ( ). Second, Rappler presented a timeline that doubles as explainer, showing the start and progress of Duterte backed anti-drug campaign and then examined the police typology of classifying the victims, with the category “DUI” or “death under investigation” as ambiguous ( ). It appears that the category DUI is a catch-all for deaths attributed to vigilante-style killings or those not carried out by the police. Third, the investigative team (2 editors and 2 reporters) under “Newsbreak” went on Facebook Live to discuss the statistics in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and explain Rappler’s side ( The issue on numbers enabled Rappler to face the public and explain their methodology on verifying data. Fourth, Rappler delivered a retort to Tiglao ( ) saying that it’s him to got the number wrong instead. Under the handle “About Us” it “fact- check” some information spread against Rappler( ) that included links to its foreign investors, Omidyar Network ( ) and North Base Media ( ). Rappler was also accused to have violated the Constitution that prohibits foreign ownership of media; Rappler replied that investors are not owners per se.

The point of the above discussion is this: first, Rappler tries to make itself accountable to its readers/audience by providing them with explanation, methodology and links to the information in its site in order to clarify its news production practice, and second, in doing so, Rappler tries to be transparent by sharing its editorial decisions before the public rather than dismissing the criticisms through curt or ambiguous statement or by simply ignoring them as was the practice of several news organizations in the Philippines.

Rappler has an explicit policy on news sources – they have to be identified. Sources, according to the code of ethics, have to be informed that they are to be identified and quoted. There are three criteria for allowing anonymity of sources – track record of truthfulness, danger to life of a whistleblower or insider and when the source’s information could be confirmed or verified by independent sources or documents. Anonymous sources are being qualified and not referred as “anonymous source/s.”

Rappler, as part of its newsroom practice, embeds documents and provides hyperlinks to other related sources or material in its stories.

done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4a
Funding Sources
Evidence required: Please link to the section where you publicly list your sources of funding (including, if they exist, any rules around which types of funding you do or don't accept), or a statement on ownership if you are the branch of an established media organization or research institution.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler started with 12 people in 2012 and grew quickly to an 80-member organization in a year. Seed funding was raised among its core founders who are members of the Rappler Board of Directors. This was publicly disclosed through these pages in the “About Rappler” section: Rappler’s shareholders signed an agreement giving full editorial and management control to the journalists, whose collective aim is to create a truly independent news group and crowdsourcing platform free of vested interests. In 2015, Rappler raised its Series-B round focusing on strategic pillars of journalism and technology. As part of this round, journalism VC North Base Media (NBM) and Omidyar Network joined Rappler Holdings, the parent company of Rappler Inc. This was disclosed on these pages: Rappler sustains itself through advertising and grants. Ads are clearly marked and published under a section called BrandRap. ( Donors and partner groups for grant-funded projects are also clearly indicated in pages featuring the projects.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf 4a - Ferret Annual R... (846 KB)
Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler has links to the brief bio-note its founding and current board of directors ( ; (

and has stories announcing its new investors, Omidyar Network ( and North Base Media ( However there were no disclosure on funding sources and publication of its statement of ownership.

Rappler has “Brandrap” ( an advertorial section where commercial or corporate advertisers are accommodated for their press releases and product advertising. Rappler also publish stories written through grants such as the #HungerProject with the Department Social Welfare and Development and the World Food Program (

done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Criterion 4b
Evidence required: Please link to the section detailing all authors and key actors behind your fact-checking project with their biographies. You can also list the name and bios of the members of the editorial board, pool of experts, advisory board, etc. if your organization has those.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

This page links to the profile pages of members of the Rappler team:

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

The news organization has clickable links to all its editors and many of its reporters and staff with their brief bio, email and social media handle in the Philippines ( and Indonesia (

done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Criterion 4c
Evidence required: Please link to the section where readers can get in touch with the organization.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

This page links to Rappler’s contact information. It is accessible through the website’s masthead

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Readers who want to comment on stories can easily click a comment button after each story and those who want to contact Rappler may be guided by its site use policy ( which has information on content use and publishing one’s work in Rappler.

done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5a
Detailed Methodology
Evidence required: Please link to a section or article detailing the steps you follow for your fact-checking work.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

We fact-check claims made by third parties when these contradict information we know to be true based on previously published stories, Rappler’s extensive database built over time, and information obtained from authoritative and credible sources. Fact-checking covers the following, but are not limited to: names, places, dates, amounts or statistics, achievements or accomplishments, among others. The fact-checking process is open to readers and followers on social media. Verification of errors are made by senior editors who double check with credible sources, concerned private institutions, agencies of government, or other primary sources, before corrections are made. These factual errors are called out and labeled as inaccurate or false – in stories, video, and shareable social media posts. We use infographics, text stories, and video to correct misinformation or glaring inaccuracies. We have also called out the use of hate speech and violence online via our zero-tolerance policy against hate speech in our comments section:

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

While Rappler integrates fact-checking (external) to its work-flow or news production cycle, it does not explicitly state its methodology which includes claims to be fact-checked and the sources that could provide evidence.

In a phone interview, Gemma B. Mendoza, in charge of research and content strategy, explained that Rappler has multi-level process of verification. The entries of Rappler’s “Fact-Check” are those claims that may contradict the previous stories written by Rappler and Newsbreak magazine. Aside from in-house stories, Rappler also gathers information from other sources that may provide numbers, names, places, etc. The entries and the verification of some claims may be initiated by reporters and then passed on to desk editors. The final verification of claims is done by senior editors. “Fact-Check” entries provide links to other sources and sources, embed documents, and supply infographics and photographs.

One entry, concerning the inclusion of the names of court judges in Duterte’s list of those involved in the illegal drug trade (, illustrates Rappler’s transparency. Rappler tried to verify the information but toward the end of the story it appealed for readers to help because it noted that “Duterte's list appears to be incomplete and not 100% accurate. There are over 150 names on that list that need verification and checking.” Here, Rappler was trying to vet the names by crowd-sourcing the information. Email addresses were provided to readers to participate in vetting the names. However there was no follow-up story.

done 5a marked as Partially compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Criterion 5b
Claim submissions
Evidence required: Please link to the page or process through which readers can submit claims to fact-check. If you do not allow this, please briefly explain why.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler has a full-time social media team that actively engages and gathers feedback regarding our stories real-time through the comments sections, the social media, and through email. Suggestions for fact-check coming from our readers are captured by this team which then turns such requests over to the editorial and research teams for review.

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

There is no explicit invitation for readers to submit claims to be fact-checked but given the attention given by Rappler to social media users and well as its well-staffed social media team, it is safe to say that they are monitoring the comments and feedback online.

Rappler opens up its stories and social media platforms for comments but these are moderated for hate speech ( Rappler says it has zero tolerance policy on hate speech.

done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6a
Corrections policy
Evidence required: Please link to the page with your policy to address corrections. If it is not public, please share your organization's handbook.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

This is the link to Rappler’s corrections page.

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler maintains a Corrections Page (see October 16, 2016 link) which lists factual errors with links to the updated story.

done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

Criterion 6b
Examples of corrections
Evidence required: Please provide two examples of a correction made, or correction requests handled, in the past year.

25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

In cases where errors are committed, we immediately acknowledge the mistake and issue an erratum directly on the page or platform where the error was published and alert readers and followers on social media of factual errors. On top of that, we are one of the few newsgroups in the Philippines that maintains an updated Corrections Page, which lists factual errors and systems infractions.

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
25-Oct-2017 (6 years ago)

Rappler acknowledges its errors and supplies corrections in the same story, section or platform where they appeared (i.e, News, Entertainment, etc.) Examples of these are lists of corrections on October 16, 2016 ( and a correction made on a December 26, 2014 story ( In both instances, indicated was the date and time when the story was updated and also the information corrected plus, of course, an apology for the mistake. 

done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.