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Facebook touts fight on fake news, but struggles to explain why InfoWars isn’t banned

10 points to CNN’s Oliver Darcy for working both “when asked about” and “this reporter” into a news story that was not written by a supporting character in a 1940s gangster flick. When asked by this reporter how the company could claim it was serious about tackling the problem of misinformation online while simultaneously allowing InfoWars to maintain a page with nearly one million followers on its website, Hegeman said that the company does not “take down false news.” “I guess just for being false that doesn’t violate the community standards,” Hegeman said, explaining that InfoWars has “not violated something…

Facebook shrinks fake news after warnings backfire

In its efforts to combat the spread of false news online (whether by malicious people who knew it was propaganda, or through the wishful thinking of overly-credible sheep who saw a post as confirmation of a value they already held), Facebook experimented with flagging stories as “disputed by third-party fact-checkers.” It turns out that a significant number of users were motivated by the “disputed” flag to share that item even more. Now FB is trying a less aggressive approach, one which recalls “disemvoweling” (the practice, circa late 2000s, of removing all the vowels from offensive comments — a balance between…

Google Pledges $300 Million to Clean Up False News

This is a welcome step, but we cannot trust big corporations to solve the fake news problem for us. (Slow down and think before you share that infuriating or inspiring detail you see in your feed.) In a move to combat the epidemic of false and unreliable information on the internet, Google is pledging to spend $300 million over the next three years to support authoritative journalism. | Google’s campaign, which was announced at an event in New York on Tuesday, will be known as the Google News Initiative…. As part of its efforts, Google is creating a Disinfo Lab in partnership…

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Why Textbooks And Education Are To Blame For Fake News

The way we teach it at Seton Hill, as a process that leads to a researched term paper, I think it’s safe to add freshman comp to the good list. We continue to operate on the basis that knowledge is stored in repositories, usually a book or an teacher. This dependence on textbooks has distorted education, and made it vulnerable to indoctrination. But, above all, textbooks make us dependent on a specific source of information, preventing us from developing our own criteria. The only places where people are taught how to search for information are on Information Sciences and Journalism…

The science of fake news: Addressing fake news requires a multidisciplinary effort

The rise of fake news highlights the erosion of long-standing institutional bulwarks against misinformation in the internet age. Concern over the problem is global. […] Our call is to promote interdisciplinary research to reduce the spread of fake news and to address the underlying pathologies it has revealed. Failures of the U.S. news media in the early 20th century led to the rise of journalistic norms and practices that, although imperfect, generally served us well by striving to provide objective, credible information. We must redesign our information ecosystem in the 21st century. This effort must be global in scope, as…

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Chilling analysis of organized, anonymous disinformation campaign against Parkland survivors (impressive journalism from The Washington Post)

Forty-seven minutes after news broke of a high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the posters on the anonymous chat board 8chan had devised a plan to bend the public narrative to their own designs: “Start looking for [Jewish] numerology and crisis actors.” The voices from this dark corner of the Internet quickly coalesced around a plan of attack: Use details gleaned from news reports and other sources to push false information about one of America’s deadliest school shootings. […] A Washington Post review of thousands of posts on sites such as 8chan, 4chan and Reddit showed how people on online forums worked…

Don’t use that “18 school shootings since Jan 1” claim. It’s Inaccurate.

Don’t use that “18 school shootings since Jan 1” meme. It’s misleading. I’ve lost track of how many times this image has popped up on my social media feeds. The 18 “school shootings” marked on that map include an instance in which a third-grader accidentally pulled the trigger of a police officer’s holstered gun (nobody was hurt), and an instance in which a man committed suicide in the parking lot of a building that was formerly an elementary school but had been closed for 6 months. Other items on that list include “Gunshots, most likely fired from off campus, hit…

Pope Francis calls for “news communicated with serenity, precision and completeness”

Pope Francis recently addressed Italian journalists: Your voice, free and responsible, is fundamental for the growth of any society that wishes to be called democratic, so that the continuous exchange of ideas and a profitable debate based on real and correctly reported data can be guaranteed. In our time, often dominated by the anxiety of speed, by the drive for sensationalism to the detriment of precision and completeness, by the calculated overheating of emotion rather than thoughtful reflection, there is an urgent need for reliable information, with verified data and news, which does not aim to amaze and excite, but…

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A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation.

This looks like a deliberate attempt to plant a “fake news” story, presumably in order to discredit the Washington Post for falling for it. Verify, verify, verify. The Post did its homework, and did not fall into the trap. Sadly, this story will be used to discredit people who come forward with legitimate sexual assault accusations. Jaime Phillips, who claimed to The Post that Moore impregnated her as a teenager, was seen on Monday walking into the headquarters of Project Veritas, a group that uses false cover stories and covert video recordings to expose what it says is media bias. — Washington…

Why fake news works

Fake news works on our emotions, usually by stoking our fears or confirming our biases. Real news relies on verifiable facts, including emotions only by attributing them to credible sources, and placing those emotions in context. We help spread fake news when we let our emotions guide our reactions, rather than taking a minute to think about the credibility of the source. Even with a mountain of evidence available to disprove a rumor, some people not only express support for it in polls but also believe it to be literally true. As more Americans turn to social media, consciously or…

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Fake News Remains Top Industry Concern in 2017

“In the past, people fabricated content. There were ‘midnight flyers,’ which were pieces of propaganda usually sent out by candidates and put on the windshield of your car or under your door at home. And there were forms of content that contained serious misinformation in them. Sometimes they looked news-like and sometimes they didn’t,” explains Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “But there wasn’t a mass distribution system for it, so it had real trouble taking hold. Now with the web, anyone can sit at the computer, create content and try to move it virally…

An apology to Donald Trump, from the “fake news” media

A good example of the power of satire. Trump used Tuesday night’s rally to denounce the “fake news” media for being mean, dishonest, bad, America-hating and an all-around pain in his keister. […] After spending 15 or so minutes complaining about the media, he said of the media: “For the most part, all they do is complain. … These are really, really dishonest people and they’re bad people and I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that.” Well, I, for one, feel just terrible. It was never my intention, as a journalist, to make the president…

A Time magazine with Trump on the cover hangs in his golf clubs. It’s fake. #fakenews

Donald Trump has a lot to say about “fake news” — a label he hurls at almost any journalism that portrays him in unflattering light. It seems he’s been using a fake Time magazine cover in his clubs. The news organization has asked him to take down the fake covers. “Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” the big headline said. Above the Time nameplate, there was another headline in all caps: “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!” This cover — dated March 1, 2009 — looks like an impressive memento from Trump’s pre-presidential career. | To…

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Are we spreading fake news about fake news?

In a new research paper that Poynter says will be published tomorrow by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford University conclude that “fake news” (propaganda presented as facts and designed to control, rather than satire) is not likely to have had an impact on the US presidential election. I am prepping for my first day of classes tomorrow, so I confess I haven’t read the whole paper, but here are some extracts: Drawing on audience data, archives of fact-checking websites, and results from a new online survey, we find: (i)…

Understanding The Fake News Universe

The fake news universe is vast and ephemeral, and to some extent its dimensions are unknowable. But Media Matters’ research team spent hundreds of hours trying to map out as much of it as possible. Below is what we’ve learned and how we’ve come to define many of the moving parts that create an ecosystem for fake news to spread and thrive. —Media Matters

Vanessa Otero’s Complex vs. Clickbait, Liberal vs. Conservative Media Chart

Update, June 2020: See Vanessa Otero Ad Fontes Media Updated Media Bias Chart –6.0 Vanessa Otero created an impressive chart that visualizes the problem with a simplistic “real news / fake news” dichotomy. News that skews left or right can still be valuable, and news that scrupulously avoids bias can still be vacuous clickbait. While you or I might disagree on whether the HuffPo/Occupy Democrats oval really parallels the Fox News / RedState oval, or we might quibble over the placement of some of the outlets, more important is the visual reminder that bias is relative. The people who most…