Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tim Yap is a nit-tweet (Updated)

(Note: Better Philippines chimed in to point out that while Tim Yap acknowledges the fact that he erred in failing to double check his facts before publishing it in the public domain, he overlooked AN EVEN GRAVER ERROR which is that HE SHOULDN'T PUBLISH INFORMATION THAT WOULD ENDANGER SOMEONE'S LIFE.

Now, Mr. Yap looks like a Julian Assange wannabe sans the intellect.

-- Paul Farol aka Pinoy Buzz)

Tim Yap has apologized to Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Mike Morelos.

The gaffe? Yap, aka Papa Gucci and an editor of the Philippine Star, mis-tweeted that Mike Morelos had won the much sought after P741 Million Grand Lotto jackpot.

If a Twitter user with a few followers had mis-tweeted, perhaps not much would have come out of it.

However, Yap has 154,018 followers and being known as an editor of a major newspaper here in the Philippines, many of his followers believed his tweet.

As expected his Twitter followers re-tweeted it to others, spreading the false information allover the Filipino Twitterverse.

Morelos had the misfortune of being one of the first reporters to confirm that someone had indeed won the Grand Lotto jackpot.

As a result of Yap's mis-tweet, Morelos claimed that his life and the life of his family had been endangered.

In an article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Morelos recounts the first few hours of terror that followed being tagged as the winner of the 3 quarter of a billion peso lotto jackpot.

Stream of messages

I had over 100 people I never personally met asking me to add them as a “friend,” while a stream of congratulatory messages flooded my inbox. I told myself the situation was getting out of hand.

The first thing I did was to snoop around while replying to concerned friends who exerted efforts in trying to clear the miscommunication. The snafu even reached a couple of my friends based overseas who also tried to clarify the issue by sending retweets.

I discovered who the culprit was.

Tim Yap

Apparently, it was celebrity host Tim Yap who branded me the winner in his tweet a few hours earlier.

“Eto na, PCSO confirms one winner—his name is Miko Morelos. He gets to take home the P741.2M peso Grand Lotto 6/55 Jackpot! #magtagokana!” he said in his Twitter account (@iamtimyap Tim Yap)

The first thing that crossed my mind was how clueless Yap was on the subject. The PCSO does not disclose the identity of any winner for obvious security reasons.

What was appalling was the hundreds of people falling for the false information. They even set up a fan page on Facebook encouraging me to spend the money wisely, while not taking seriously the clarifications from the Inquirer Twitter account and “Mr. Bigshot socialite” (Yap) himself.

Yap continued with his tweets: “And guess what? Miko Morelos is on twitter! @mikomorelos I already sent a request. He protected his tweets already. #afraidforhislife,” @iamtimyap Tim Yap said.

He tried to clarify the matter when he tweeted: “Okay, ladies& gents excited about the winner of the lotto jackpot—I received reports that Miko Morelos is the Inquirer reporter who reported about the lotto. Not necessarily the winner. #sorrynacarriedawaylahat.”

(I personally find the hashtags contentious bordering on the malicious.)
Hours after learning that he had mis-tweeted Morelos as the lotto jackpot winner, Mr. Yap claims to have called Mr. Morelos personally and conveyed his apology.

In a report on ABS-CBN News dot Com, Yap claims to have merely picked up the erroneous tweet that Mike Morelos had won the lotto jackpot.

Filipinos on Twitter started tweeting that Tim Yap's apology was hardly enough and said that it was hardly sincere.

One funny quip about Tim Yap was "you're too old to be STUPID."

It was an honest mistake. My apologies to you if you were offended by the (sic) mistext, although I clarified it in my next tweets that Mr. Morelos wasn't the winner but the reporter who covered the lotto proceedings. I tweeted those messages without any malice or ill intentions. I am currently trying to contact Mr. Morelos to personally apologize to him for the matter. Point taken, lesson learned. Thank you for your tweet.

A Twitter user going by the name @pageman asked Tim Yap what he learned from the gaffe and Yap responded:
Fact check, & don't get carried away. Double fact check before tweeting.
Checking your facts before publishing something in the public domain is somewhat a reflex among real journalists and Tim Yap just revealed himself to be more of a rumor-monger than the editor that he is.

If he did have to fact check, one wonders if he'd call Manoling Morato or German Moreno.

Anyway, what's funny about his 'fact checking' is that ever since the Lotto was introduced by the PCSO, it has implemented a policy of NOT REVEALING THE IDENTITY OF LOTTO JACKPOT WINNERS. This policy, a wise one, was instituted in order to protect the winners of lotto jackpot winners from harassment or harm.

One wonders how this could have escaped Tim Yap whose popularity seems to be linked to a number of controversies surrounding the so-called Gucci Gang of which certain personalities in Philippine cyberspace believe Yap is the leader of.

More on the Gucci Gang in this account on the Wikipedia.


bp said...

there's another missed point in this snafu -- even if tim had the correct information would it have been right that he broadcast it. if he had been more circumspect he should have realized that it's not about getting the facts straight it's about NOT putting whoever won that jackpot at risk.

and now here's tim yap saying that next time he'll verify his information first. point misser talaga.

Paul Farol said...

Yeah! Pancho missed that too.

Ben Kritz said...

Twitter is surely the clearest and most pathetic sign of the downfall of our civilization. It's a damning by-product of an attention-deficit, egocentric and aimless population.

Paul Farol said...

And it consumes so much of my time.

I was using it to find leads for popular issues, now I am friggin' addicted.

Bianca said...

I agree on many points, but to be fair, you also need to fact-check because Tim Yap is not the lifestyle editor of The Star :)

Paul Farol said...


I've already told Mr. Villacorta to be more accurate in putting the proper designation of the people he writes about.

I am not completely sure of it myself, but I believe Tim Yap is a section editor.

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