Not as Web Savvy as You Think

Researchers also asked students questions about websites they chose. After using Google to get to a website, this interaction occurred between a researcher and a study participant: Researcher: “What is this website?” Student: “Oh, I don’t know. The first thing that came up.” “Search engine rankings seem extremely important,” Hargittai said. “We found that a website’s layout or content almost didn’t even matter to the students. What mattered is that…

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‘Fakeosphere’ latest Web trap for consumers

Welcome to the “fakeosphere.” Internet marketing veteran and analyst Jay Weintraub says fake blogs – or flogs – fake news sites and manufactured testimonials are the fastest-growing segment of Internet advertising. He thinks it’s a $500 million-a-year industry – and he compares it to the explosive growth of spam a decade ago. “I don’t think people realize how big this has become, and how quickly,” said Weintraub, adding that a…

Hostage ruse’s fake Web site irks group with similar name

Fascinating stuff… according to CNN, the story is, in order to secure the release of 15 hostages, the Colombian military set up a fake website that borrowed heavily from a real organization’s identity. The organization’s logo — a stylized red bird on a white background in the centermost of three concentric circles, with blue leaves on white in the middle circle and the organization’s name on a blue background in…

Still Not the News: Stations Overwhelmingly Fail to Disclose VNRs

Video news releases are pre-packaged broadcast segments designed to look like television news stories, that are funded by and scripted for corporate or government clients. (See “Fake TV News: Introduction.”) On April 6, 2006, the Center for Media and Democracy released a comprehensive report detailing TV newsrooms’ use of VNRs. The report, “Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed,” named 77 TV stations that aired at least one of 36 VNRs…

FCC probes ‘fake news’ at U.S. TV stations

Among the video news releases uncovered were an item on ethanol plants aired on a Louisiana station that was created by a public relations firm on behalf of Siemens AG, a corporation with a financial stake in the construction of ethanol plants. In another case, a Boston station edited and re-voiced a video segment produced by an outside company on behalf of Toshiba, Fisher-Price and Scholastic, whose kids’ products were…

Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed

Over a ten-month period, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) documented television newsrooms’ use of 36 video news releases (VNRs)–a small sample of the thousands produced each year. CMD identified 77 television stations, from those in the largest to the smallest markets, that aired these VNRs or related satellite media tours (SMTs) in 98 separate instances, without disclosure to viewers. Collectively, these 77 stations reach more than half of…

Web hoax fools news services: S.F. man fakes beheading, proves need for verification

For almost an hour Saturday morning, the Associated Press reported that a 22-year-old San Francisco man, Benjamin Vanderford, had been beheaded in Iraq. The report of Vanderford’s death was based on a 55-second video clip that Vanderford and two friends had faked and distributed via the Internet. The story also was picked up by the Reuters news service, and the grainy video was broadcast by two Middle Eastern television stations.…

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Ethics of Paper’s Fake Arson Story Debated

“King County prosecutors and sheriff’s detectives asked the editors at the Eastside Journal, now called the King County Journal, to run a fake story about a staged arson to make Sherer believe an accomplice had carried out his plans. The newspaper complied.” —Ethics of Paper’s Fake Arson Story Debated Seattle Times) Woah! When does the paper’s responsibility to the community include publishing a lie? This is troubling. But this isn’t…