Anti-globalism Is Common Factor in Social Media Conspiracy Theories, says UW Prof

Fascinating academic effort to find a pattern in apparently random conspiracy theories that regularly pop up in our infostreams during social crises. Experts usually dismiss them because they are so wild and unlikely, and have thus failed to notice their impact. Starbird’s insight was to map the digital connections between all this buzzing on Twitter with a conglomeration of websites. Then she analyzed the content of each site to try…

First Evidence That Social Bots Play a Major Role in Spreading Fake News

Shad and co say bots play a particularly significant role in the spread of fake news soon after it is published. What’s more, these bots are programmed to direct their tweets at influential users. “Automated accounts are particularly active in the early spreading phases of viral claims, and tend to target influential users,” say Shao and co. That’s a clever strategy. Information is much more likely to become viral when…

Ominous Darkness Descending On Webpage Portends Grim Age Of Autoplaying Ad To Come

Fortune’s fool, I wagered I would be spared and forsook my ad blocker, and now a pitiless gloom that will abide for 30 seconds has descended. No X in the corner will succor me. No five-second opt-out will rekindle the embers beneath this wicked mist. Lo, the Mazda Summer Sales Event nears. Stop my ears with wax! Forgive me! Forgive me! –The Onion

The Distracted Classroom: Transparency, Autonomy, and Pedagogy

I don’t ban technology in my classroom, even though I know some students can’t manage the potential distraction. (An early assignment in my freshman writing class demonstrates that multitasking is a lie — we can only pay attention to one thing at a time,,and though we can do something routine like fold laundry while also watching TV, we stop watching TV if we lose a sock, and we stop folding…

Facebook’s Instant Articles restore subscription options they previously stripped

The ability to serve content faster than where it originated is the privilege of the platform on which people find it. Facebook, Google, and Apple have all been exploiting this privilege, which, while it does lower load times, is not conducive to a single, standardized web. And it deepens content providers’ dependence on those platforms — which in turn increases the latter’s leverage. Not good. It’s nice that Facebook is…