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In News, What’s Fake and What’s Real Can Depend on What You Want to Believe

The proliferation of fake and hyperpartisan news that has flooded into Americans’ laptops and living rooms has prompted a national soul-searching, with liberals across the country asking how a nation of millions could be marching to such a suspect drumbeat. But while some Americans may take the stories literally — like the North Carolina man who fired his gun in a Washington pizzeria on Sunday trying to investigate a false…

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Knee-jerk sharing of memes denigrates the truth.

Trump never told People magazine that Republicans are dumb, Sarah Palin never said “I can see Russia from my house,” and when Obama said “gotta have ribs and pussy too” in 1995 he was reading a line spoken by a character in his book. Sharing miscaptioned photos that criticize public figures or organizations for things they never actually said or did generates the kind of emotional response that can lead…

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It’s Not “Fake News” Just Because You Disagree With It

I use the term “fake news” to refer to doctored social media posts that were never written by the purported authors, or real photos taken out of context and given new captions. Sharing such posts because they flatter your pre-conceived notions of the targets contributes to the devaluing of the truth. Politicians have put spins on news since there have been politicians. Satire has a long literary history. Tossing the…

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Trump Fires Senior Adviser’s Son From Transition for Sharing Fake News

Trump senior adviser’s son, who used a transition team email but had, according to Pence, “no involvement in the transition whatsoever,” is now, according to a transition team spokesman, no longer part of the transition team. According to two other transition officials, the reason this person with a transition team email address who was never involved in the transition is no longer part of the transition team is because he…

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Facebook’s director of media tries to appease news industry

Facebook’s Patrick Walker assured a room full of journalists that Zuck’s strategy to combat fake news will work. The plan (released previously by FB): stronger detection, easy reporting, third party verification, warnings, related articles quality, disrupting the economy of fake news, and listening. Also speaking at the conference was Espin Egil Hansen, who in September posted an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, slamming Facebook for censoring a photo of the…

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How to Deal With 2016 Despair

Don’t let a TV screen make you live a life of fear. Be thoughtful participants, not passive consumers, in your culture. Create something. Improve something. Maybe yourself. Maybe the Wikipedia page for your hometown. Share your creation. Encourage and appreciate and critique and applaud what those in your community have created. Increase the sum total of good things in the universe by participating in the life around you. Heavy TV…

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Almost all the traffic to fake news sites is from Facebook, new data show

I think and post about fake news a lot. Just the other day, I came across a Tweet that seemed to show evidence that a very public figure had flip-flopped on a divisive cultural issue. First I had an emotional reaction, then I checked who shared the post I was reacting to. I didn’t recognize the name, but then I noticed it had been shared to the Snopes Facebook page…