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Fact-checkers battle against fake news ahead of Asia's elections

As hoaxes go viral, crusaders for truth face tide of false online content

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, left, greets former Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto at a debate last month in Jakarta. Ahead of the country's presidential election on April 17, in which the two candidates will face off against each other, the country's social media is alive with election gossip.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- The spread of online political rumors, false content and hoaxes has fact-checkers working overtime ahead of elections in Thailand, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

In February, a video first seen last year resurfaced on social media of Grace Poe, a Philippine politician, allegedly backing the blocking of Facebook in the country, where freedom of speech is ingrained in the constitution and the number of social media users is 76 million, much higher than the 61.8 million people who are registered to vote.

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