E-Palarong Pambansa Esports Poll Allegedly Hijacked by Bots
E-Palarong Pambansa, the esports counterpart of the renowned student-athlete sporting event in the Philippines, abruptly canceled its poll where they asked the gaming community on which esports titles they wish to be featured. The E-Palarong Pambansa page issued an official statement regarding the issue and posted screenshots of what it claimed to be proof that the poll was being manipulated by bots. According to the Facebook page, the poll was allegedly attacked by Vietnamese vote bots, which maliciously boosted the votes of some of the esports titles on the list. This sudden cancelation caused a backlash from various gaming communities due to the lack of transparency and proof to back its claim.
E-Palarong Pambansa voting poll canceled due to bots manipulating the results
With esports making waves in the Philippines, ILO Esports, an esports organization in Iloilo City, Philippines, collaborated with the country’s National Youth Commission to form E-Palarong Pambansa.
On its official Facebook page, the league asked fans which esports title shall be featured in its tournament. The vote was decided through reactions to the post.
However, the league made a follow-up post on 5th April, claiming that there were reports of vote manipulation in its poll.
“We would like to remind everyone that such actions are strictly prohibited, and those caught engaging in such activities can get their games disqualified from the tournament,” the post captioned.
During that time, League of Legends: Wild Rift was the most-voted mobile esports title followed by PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang respectively. PUBG topped the PC esports title poll followed by League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Valorant.
Following the poll update, E-Palarong Pambansa would then make another lengthy post, explaining that the poll was officially canceled as the voting was manipulated by bots.
"Despite the considerable efforts received from various gaming communities, the widespread use of bots in voting has become unmanageable, which we did not anticipate," it wrote."We will work closely and tirelessly to create a better system for the voting poll to ensure fairness in the future tournaments. Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this challenging time."
The league made a follow-up comment, explaining the results of its investigation. According to the organizers, the bots were mass reacting using Vietnamese accounts.
"Our investigation into the sudden spike in the number of votes for both PUBG and PUBGM determined that the majority of these votes were made by Vietnamese bot accounts," the page commented.
A lot of fans criticized E-Palarong Pambansa for using such questionable voting mechanics. The league explained that it chose this process to “gain traction and engagement on a new page and a new event that was started from the ground up by fellow Esports enthusiasts who wanted to create sustainable opportunities for Filipinos passionate about the Esports industry."
"We've also decided to end the voting system instead of singling out particular games because the chances of using illicitly automated bots might increase after this incident," the post added.
E-Palarong Pambansa promised fans that it shall return with a much better and more secure voting system to ensure fairness in the future. For now, fans will have to keep their eyes peeled for more updates soon.