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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…

Image: Part of a graduation lineup.

Why liberal arts and the humanities are as important as engineering

We learned that though a degree made a big difference in the success of an entrepreneur, the field it was in and the school that it was from were not significant factors. YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki, for instance, majored in history and literature; Slack founder Stewart Butterfield in English; Airbnb founder Brian Chesky in the fine arts. And, in China, Alibaba chief executive Jack Ma has a bachelor’s in English. Steve Jobs…

“for every cliché of a barista or bartender with a liberal arts degree, there were ten with a degree in business.”

This story offers evidence to challenge the stereotype that under employed humanities majors are stuck working in service jobs years after graduation. STEM jobs are indeed the most marketable, but a recent study found  that after five years, business, health professions, education and psychology make up far more of the underemployed graduates than English or foreign languages. If you believe the Burning Glass data, those four majors alone – business,…

Facebook Axes “Trending” Sidebar

Facebook is discontinuing the “trending” list. After the employees hired by Facebook to curate the trending news items were found to bury news they didn’t like, Facebook fired them all and tried to automate the process. If it matters to you whether their bias was liberal or conservative you can look it up, but my point is that a social media feed that adapts itself based on what you say…

Twitter changes strategy in battle against internet ‘trolls’

Reducing the reach of abusive tweets is better than censorship on the one hand, and nothing on the other. Of course, this is another reminder that the social media titans can and do manipulate what we see. Reducing the impact of bullies benefits Twitter’s bottom line, which is the same reason for every change to the Twitter algorithm. Twitter Inc on Tuesday revised its strategy for fighting abusive internet “trolls,”…

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…