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A fabricated tweet by journalist Raissa Robles saying the country’s gold medal haul in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games looks “cooked” or “rigged” is making the rounds on the Web.
Copies of a “screengrab” of the fake tweet were uploaded by several netizens on Facebook (FB) from Dec. 2 to 3, as Robles tweeted about issues surrounding the country’s hosting of the regional sporting event.
All posts showed Robles, under her Twitter username @raissawrites, saying: “Sobra naman talaga. Ang daming Golds.. Halatang niluluto (This is too much. There are a lot of gold medals.. It’s obviously being cooked)!!!”
The screengrabs are fabricated. All copies of the “tweet” show the body text in a font that is very different from the default Twitter font style used on her name and username.
Robles, in both her official FB page and official Twitter account, disproved the fake tweet on Dec. 3, saying it is a “lie” as she supports Filipino athletes “all the way.” The Philippines has won 70 gold medals in the on-going regional competition as of Dec. 6.
The journalist added that the people who sent her a copy of the fabricated tweet said they received the photo through direct messaging, suggesting that the image could have spread privately as much as it did publicly on FB and Twitter.
There are two ways to change fonts of Twitter posts. One involves changing a smartphone’s font settings. This would change the font of all text read on a phone, which should have made all the fonts in the Robles’ supposed tweet uniform.
Another way is to type the body text in a font generator website, and then copy and paste the formatted text onto Twitter. However, several font generator websites checked by VERA Files Fact Check do not have the font used in the netizens’ fake screengrabs. Robles has also not used a font generator for her tweets recently.
Additionally, the oldest copy of the fake post tracked down by VERA Files Fact Check is a Dec. 2 post, showing Robles “tweeted” the statement on Dec. 1 at 1:58 a.m.
The huge white space between the body text and the date and time stamp suggests that something appears to have been erased from that portion. There are also patches of grey in the same area, suggesting that a white brush was used to erase the original content, before adding in the body text.
Robles’ fake tweet was also reposted on FB by television and radio personality Erwin Tulfo, and former Interior and Tourism Secretary Rafael Alunan III. Tulfo's post got a total of 33,000 interactions, and could have reached 2.5 million social media users; while Alunan's post was shared over 2,900 times and received over 5,000 reactions.
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)