TikTok-sourced Facebook post falsely claims Philippines ‘richest country’ under Marcos presidency

January 18, 2021 - 5:04 PM
Ferdinand Marcos announcing Martial Law
Dictator Ferdinand Marcos announces on live TV on the evening of Sept. 23, 1972 that he has imposed martial law throughout the country. (Photo from the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)

“Is TikTok the new Wikipedia?”

An alleged Facebook post recently cited the video-sharing platform TikTok as its source for an information about the country’s state during the reign of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

This prompted Filipino online users to ask if TikTok has become the new open-source online encyclopedia.

A citizen fact-checking organization on Monday shared a screengrab of a Facebook user who posted a claim that the Philippines was the “third richest country” in the world under Marcos’ presidency.

“Good morning! Wag niyo po kaming pinaglololoko. Mayroon ding version nito na 1st at 2nd tapos ngayon naman 3rd? Lahat ng ranking balak pasukin?” Fact Check Philippines said.

It also linked a report from AFP Fact Check which debunked claims that the Philippines was the second richest country in the world during the Marcos regime.

As of this writing, the post is no longer available on the mentioned public group but it has already made waves on local social media, where it has caught the attention of parody page Malacañang Events and Catering Services.

The page in its caption also highlighted the part of the Facebook post which mentioned that the source was TikTok, which others claimed are filled with “revisionists.”

“Ang daming revisionist sa Tiktok. Kapag nire-report mo naman ‘yung video, binabalewala ng TikTok, wala naman daw violation.
Kahit misinformation o hate speech. Tbh (to be honest), kailangan gumalaw din tayo para pigilian ang ganun kasi daming mabe-brainwash. Lalo na mga bata,” a Facebook user commented.

“Do not give cringe local TikTokers who are fake news dispensers the attention they want,” another online user also shared in response to the alleged post.

A revisionist refers to someone who “examines and tries to change existing beliefs about how events happened or what their importance or meaning is,” according to Cambridge Dictionary.

The Facebook post also circulated on Twitter, where it similarly received such reactions.

“Tiktok is the new Wikipedia,” a Filipino user of the microblogging platform said, referencing the free and open-source encyclopedia whose entries are created and edited by users around the world.

TikTok is a video-sharing platform that doubles as a social network service where users can post short-form videos to express themselves.

Last month, a Filipino fashion designer drew flak after claiming in a TikTok video that the Philippines was the only country in the world that has an embassy in Manhattan because of former lady Imelda Marcos.

READ: Filipino fashion designer under fire for TikTok video glorifying Imelda Marcos, New York’s Philippine ’embassy’

The Philippine embassy in the United States is located in Washington, D.C. and not in New York.

What’s the real deal?

There are other viral posts that claim the Philippines was not just the third but the second richest country in the world, after Japan.

Based on a special report by Philstar.com, the myth stems from the fact that “the Philippines was second to Japan in terms of per capita income in the region” in the 1950s.

“The country enjoyed moderate economic growth alongside its neighbors while focusing on imports. A common anachronism today’s apologists commit is to label this relatively prosperous time part of the ‘Marcos period,'” the report said.

But Marcos only rose to the presidency in 1965, at a time when “things started to spiral downward in the late 1960s as existing policies no longer encouraged rapid growth.”

The report likewise quoted economists Emmanuel de DiosDante Canlas, Solita Monsod and their fellow U.P. economists who wrote: “While the Philippines started with the highest growth rates for [Southeast Asia] in 1950-1960 (3.6 percent annually), it lagged behind its neighbors in 1960-1970.”

Income distribution among the population also “worsened” during Martial Law, a nine-year period under Marcos marred by human rights violations and the curtailment of civil liberties.

The indigents saw a “decline in their share of the total income between 1971 and 1979. The richest 10 percent, on the other hand, enjoyed a much larger piece of the pie,” the report said.

“About 42 percent of Filipinos were considered poor in the 1960s when Marcos rose to power. In 1971, the year before Marcos declared martial law, poverty incidence rose to 52 percent. By the time Marcos approached the end of his 21-year rule, already three of five Filipinos (59 percent) were poor,” it added.