Washington Post reporter details social media attacks after report exposing Marcos’ ‘online revisionism project’

Washington Post Journalist Regine Cabato shared that she was targeted by social media accounts defending Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. immediately after her story was posted online detailing efforts to rehabilitate the Marcos family’s image and bolster its online propaganda campaign.

The report chronicles the findings of its months of investigative work on pro-Marcos accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube, as well as interviews with insiders who explained what the current rates for troll farm and social media moderators. responsible for spitting out pro-Marcos messages.

“So I heard pro-Marcos propagandists blasting me. Here is a snapshot of my Messenger inbox afterwards, not counting the tags and other spam. Rather, it demonstrates the mechanism we described in our report,” tweeted Cabato.

The reporter then posted screen recordings of the deluge of messages she received, including old message requests from accounts that have since been suspended by Facebook.

Cabato also showed the comments on her LinkedIn page, admitting she was “initially blindsided” by the backlash on the professional networking platform.

“The comments echoed a script, a system that we developed in our report,” she wrote.

Cabato’s article, “How the Philippines’ brutal history is being whitewashed for voters,” revealed just how much the workers of the well-established disinformation network are capable of gaining. The report referred to findings by fact-checking coalition Tsek.ph which showed that Facebook, YouTube and TikTok were the top sources of online misinformation in the country.

Myths about the Marcos are prevalent on these social media platforms, ranging from claims that astrologer Nostradamus predicted Marcos Jr.’s presidency, to the Marcos family inheriting tons of gold that will be doled out to the public if Bongbong is elected. .

Cabato’s article also detailed the depiction of Bongbong’s son, Sandro, as a TikTok idol. Sandro is currently vying for a congressional seat in Ilocos Norte, the Marcos’ home province, and the report claims the idol-framing is being used as a deliberate tactic “intended to cement the dynasty’s future among Generation Z and future generations”.

Quoting veteran campaign strategist Alan German, Cabato’s report estimates that the salary of trollnet moderators responsible for writing the daily “script” or talking points used to defend their political clients, ranges between PHP 40,000 and PHP 50,000 (USD 700 to 800) each month.

Meanwhile, a micro-influencer with 10,000 followers posting preset posts during election season could earn a monthly retainer of between PHP 300,000 and PHP 350,000 ($5,000 or more), including bonuses.

The report also cites a source who disclosed that they received a job offer with a salary range of PHP 25,000 to PHP 30,000 ($478 to $573.50), with a higher salary if they spoke Ilocano. , the majority language of northern Luzon, where the Marcos come from.

Readers can freely access Cabato’s article on the Washington Post today without a subscription because the company turned off its paywall in honor of Earth Day.

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