VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Viral ‘Marcos Jr. troll’ photo NEEDS CONTEXT

Needs context

An image has been making the rounds on the web supposedly showing a digital operator of former senator and presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. This needs context.

Several Facebook (FB) pages, groups and Twitter users published the image showing a woman watching on multiple devices the interview of Marcos with talk show host Boy Abunda aired last Jan. 25. Some publishers circulated it with a caption that either claims or insinuates the woman was a troll.

The photo, which began circulating on Jan. 26, was stripped of its original context. It was taken from the personal FB account of vlogger Almira Sullano and was published the day the Marcos interview was broadcast.

Sullano — who posts social media updates and videos about her life and, occasionally, about politics — said in the caption she was doing a “consistency check,” the same as what she did during Abunda’s interview with Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson that aired on Jan. 24.

On her official Youtube channel, Sullano said on Jan. 30 that she started performing the “checks” when she noticed the livestream of the Abunda interview with Lacson was not playing synchronously on multiple devices. She tested to see if the same would happen during Marcos’.

Sullano further said she did not expect that the Marcos photo would be “used against her,” clarifying that she has done the same “check” with the other presidential aspirants. From Jan. 26 to 28, Sullano on her personal FB page uploaded photos of herself monitoring Abunda’s interviews with the following public officials:

Sullano added that she encourages everyone to get to know the candidates running for the country’s top post.

The image made the rounds online a few days after Marcos said in a Jan. 24 interview with One News PH he has “no troll farm.” Twitter previously stated it suspended more than 300 pro-Marcos accounts after they violated its community policies on platform manipulation and spam.

The photo was posted by the following FB groups and pages with the claim that it shows a troll: Kwentong Ex DDS, Rizaleño, Leni Robredo – Para sa Pilipino, Ano Bang Ambag Mo? and Ibanag in the City. It has since collectively garnered more than 5,128 reactions, 712 comments and 1,128 shares.

At least 2 Twitter accounts also shared the same image and garnered more than 13,400 interactions.


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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)