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 Vietnamese “napalm girl” — an iconic and opinion-swaying record of the human cost of the war. Avoiding the news that is likely to offend you, while encouraging you to consume…

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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 (which I have recently joined), along with a question like, “Is this true?”   That first emotional reaction I had was strong. It confirmed an opinion I already held about that public…

Blue Feed, Red Feed

Facebook is designed to keep your attention, not inform you with an unbiased view of the truth. If you follow people who think like you, that will affect your social media feed. If you block people who infuriate you, that will also affect your social media feed.  I hope FB develops a way that lets responsible users flag trolls, stalkers, doxxers, etc., in order to limit the damage their posts do. But if you are more likely to be annoyed by someone whose ideology differs from yours, then the end result of blocking someone will be to make your social bubble…

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Commentary: The unbearable smugness of the press

More on how their desire to control the narrative led journalists to ignore alternative voices: That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line. It’s similar to how media Twitter works, a system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits. Journalists exist primarily in a world where people can get shouted down and disappear, which informs our attitudes toward all disagreement. Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as…

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A ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ Lesson for the Digital Age

If we were surprised Tuesday night, it was because journalism failed us. As reported in the NY Times, every major source forecasted the Clinton win for which the establishment desperately hoped. No one predicted a night like this — that Donald J. Trump would pull off a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton and win the presidency. The misfire on Tuesday night was about a lot more than a failure in polling. It was a failure to capture the boiling anger of a large portion of the American electorate that feels left behind by a selective recovery, betrayed by trade deals that…

Fake News Taints Facebook’s Trending Topics

In an experiment conducted over several weeks following Facebook’s promotion of the fake Megyn Kelly story, the Post recorded which topics were trending for it every day, on the hour, across four accounts. | That turned up five trending stories that were “indisputably fake” and three that were “profoundly inaccurate,” Caitlyn Dewey reported. | There’s no way to know whether those were the only false or highly inaccurate articles that made the Trending Topics feed during the experiment’s run. |”If anything, we’ve underestimated how often” Facebook trends fake news, Dewey wrote. —TechNewsWorld

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Journalist!

My new hero is NPR’s Michael Oreskes. Scott Detrow had a terrific story today about Donald Trump’s appearance at a Black church. The pastor called Trump on the carpet for attacking Hillary Clinton when he had promised not to be partisan. Trump later attacked the pastor and misstated key facts about what actually happened. Why was this story terrific? Scott was one of a handful of reporters in the church to actually witness what happened. By being present he was performing the highest function of journalism: To witness and report. Scott’s eyewitness account of what happened is the basis for…

Facebook does not care about truth. Facebook wants to sell your attention to the highest bidder. 

  Don’t trust your Facebook feed. All Facebook wants is for you to spend time on Facebook, so that they can sell your attention to the highest bidder. Facebook recently fired 18 employees whose job was to write headlines for and monitor the “Trending Topics” list. When that list fell under scrutiny for an alleged anti-conservative bias, Facebook conducted an internal review, and reported that it found no evidence of such a bias, and now it’s all bots all the time. Except that humans still monitor the list. Except when they obviously don’t, such as when the list recently posted…

Facebook Removes Human Curators From Trending Module

Today, Facebook announced that human curators will no longer write short descriptions that accompany trending topics on the site. Instead, the company will rely on an algorithmic process to “pull excerpts directly from stories.” The company also said it will stop using human curators to sort through the news…. It’s important to note that Facebook originally claimed its Trending Topics section was sorted by an algorithm. The company seems to have misled Recode’s Kurt Wagner in a story that has now been heavily edited to reflect a more accurate representation of what was happening. Before our series of reports, Facebook publicly…

Truth Trumps Bias

Trump offers plenty of opportunities for his detractors to criticize him. In the case of BabyGate, it does appear that the media were quick to spread an unflattering story without confirming some key facts. From a reporter seated one row behind the crying baby: “Mom and baby, very much not kicked out, came back to their seat a bit later. The baby was sucking a pacifier, silent.” There’s a little more to the story than the transcript and video suggest.

University disavows chocolate milk, concussions study

The University of Maryland on Friday disavowed its study saying a company’s chocolate milk could help athletes recover from concussions, citing a range of problems uncovered by an internal investigation. The university said it is reviewing its internal research procedures as a result, and deleting press releases about Fifth Quarter’s milk from its website. It is also returning $228,910 provided by the company and a co-op of milk producers. —CBS News

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No results found for “officer on leave after video allegedly shows him pulling gun on unarmed teens”

What is the story behind this image? What is the source of that text? Why is that word “allegedly” doing in the headline? The image is a screenshot from Facebook’s trending news stories. Who wrote those words? I searched Google for “officer on leave after video allegedly shows him pulling gun on unarmed teens” at 10:30am EST Tuesday and found nothing. A half hour later, I’m starting to find social media chatter about this phrasing — but no indication of the source of the text. Could it have been something the Facebook algorithm conjured up, even though no human reporter ever…

Actually, this post really *is* about ethics in journalism.

People – journalists and non-journalists – who want to interact with others about the topic of journalism ethics should be transparent, courteous and civilized. One person should never harass, threaten or demean another.Also, people in the U.S. are not forced to read, view or listen to stories from news organizations. If a person believes the information from a certain organization is inaccurate, they’re free to find other sources. People can support and encourage good and ethical journalism with subscriptions, views and listens – not harassment or threats.The Society and its ethics committee will continue to work toward educating journalists about the Code of…

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Schieffer: ‘We Now Don’t Know Where People Get Their News’

The legendary Bob Schieffer is calling it a career Sunday as he hosts his last “Face the Nation.” “We now don’t know where people get their news, but what we do know is they’re bombarded with information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of the information is wrong and some of it is wrong on purpose,” Schieffer said. “It is our job, I think, in mainstream journalism to try to cut through this mall of information and tell people what we think is relevant in what they need to know. That is the job of the journalist…

High Schooler’s Fake Story of Stock Riches Fools New York Editors

“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” In the most recent edition of New York, its annual Reasons to Love New York issue, the magazine published this story about a Stuyvesant High School senior named Mohammed Islam, who was rumored to have made $72 million trading stocks. Islam said his net worth was in the “high eight figures.” As part of the research process, the magazine sent a fact-checker to Stuyvesant, where Islam produced a document that appeared to be a Chase bank statement attesting to an eight-figure bank account. After the story’s publication, people questioned the…

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Seattle Times ‘Outraged’ FBI Created Fake Web Page, News Story To Catch Suspect

The FBI fabricated a story to look like a news piece with an Associated Press byline about bomb threats against Lacey’s Timberline High School in 2007, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and revealed by the ACLU on Monday. The FBI also created a fake email link “in the style of the Seattle Times” including details about subscriber and advertiser information. This link was then sent to the suspect’s MySpace account. […] “We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly…

The Emma Watson nude pictures hoax shames our ‘news’ culture

Did you hear that a shady group of antisocial hackers threatened to release nude pictures of Emma Watson after she gave a highly visible speech at the United Nations? It turns out that was just one of many hoaxes that professional journalists unwittingly helped to propagate last week. By Wednesday, a supposed PR firm had stepped up to claim responsibility for the threats against Watson, as part of an effort to take down 4chan. All the signs suggest that that PR firm itself was a hoax promulgated by an outfit known to engage in poor-taste stunts to get surges of…

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Korean News Station Pokes Fun at KTVU with Fake American Pilot Names After Southwest Airlines Landing Gear Failure

This is certainly a joke, but it’s funnier than the original: You probably remember KTVU’s royal eff up with reading obviously fake Asian names for the pilots of the Asiana crash. Names like “Wi To Lo” and “Ho Lee Fuk”. It looks like a Korean news agency is having some fun at KTVU’s expense. After the landing gear failure of the Southwest flight at LGA they showed this graphic with American pilot names “Captain Kent Parker Wright”, “Co-Captain Wyatt Wooden Workman”. They even went as far as making up fake names for people to interview. Flight instructor “Heywood U. Flye-Moore”…

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KTVU Buries News of Asiana Airlines Lawsuit over Fake Pilot Names

Last week, the Fox-afiliated KTVU fell for a prank, repeating offensive fake names for the pilots involved in the crash of Asiana Flight 214 last week. [S]even-year veteran KTVU producer Brad Belstock closed his @producerBB Twitter account after his last Friday tweet just moments after the names were read aloud on the air by Tori Campbell. He was producer of the noon newscast. His last tweet? The station apologized later Friday, noting that the NTSB also apologized (because its summer intern erroneously confirmed the names). As journos like to say, “Get it first, but first get it right.” Their tone was very…