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…

“The threat is no longer simply from government censorship.”

After using examples from Warsaw and Prague, the 2007 edition of my journalism textbook predicts: The threat is no longer simply from government censorship. With new technology, government is more likely to subvert the press by trying to discredit its integrity and dilute its influence. It has more tools to do that in the twenty-first century, creating pseudo-journalism in the form of faux news websites, video news releases, subsidies to…

Trump Briefly Glanced at Eclipse without Protective Glasses

Donald Trump’s persona as a man who doesn’t like to be told what to do feeds into the spread of this image of him staring directly at the eclipse without protective glasses. I’ve seen it portrayed as if an aide warned Trump not to do it, and then he immediately did it anyway, on impulse. Naturally I investigated. Recalling the still photo taken of Trump appearing to ignore his own…

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How journalists should handle racist words, images and violence in Charlottesville

I have covered protests where people shouted angry slogans and waved signs at each other for as long as I had my microphone or camera out, but as soon as I put my gear away both sides went back to standing or marching silently. This article, written by two journalists with experience covering community conflicts sparked by “alt-right” white nationalist coalitions, says local reporters should inform themselves because there will…