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20%-40% of partisan FB “fake news” posts are false

Our analysis of three hyperpartisan right-wing Facebook pages found that 38% of all posts were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false, compared to 19% of posts from three hyperpartisan left-wing pages that were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false. The right-wing pages are among the forces — perhaps as potent as the cable news shows that have gotten far more attention — that helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump. These pages, with names such as Eagle Rising on the right and Occupy Democrats on the left, represent a new and powerful force in American politics and society. Many have quickly grown to be as large as — and often much larger than — mainstream political news pages.

Source: Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate – BuzzFeed News

Occupy Democrats has nearly 4 1/2 million “subscribers” on Facebook alone. Eagle Rising has a mere 655,000 page likes.

Look at those numbers – literally millions of people voluntarily subscribe to fake propaganda messaging, and then voluntarily share those fake items on their own FB pages, such that individual posts are exposed to tens of millions of potential “targets”.

“What you see is all there is”

A popular propaganda method is to give you some information that leads you to a likely incorrect conclusion, but the conclusion the propagandist would like you to reach.

The trick works because we see some information in the propaganda message and our brain short circuits and concludes that “What you see is all there is”. We then quickly agree with the message without considering that we have an incomplete picture.

The following social media propaganda poster was shared into my timeline and illustrates the “What you see is all there is” problem.

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Wow – 7 species of bees were put on the endangered species list and havoc will result. Wow – Like and Share this post “Before it’s too late!” (or before your brain resumes functioning).

Did you know that there are about 4,000 species of bees in the United States?

Did you know that native bees – not honey bees – do most of our plant pollinating?

Does your view of the above poster change once you have additional information?

The above poster may also work because you may have heard about colony collapse disorder in the recent past. The die offs attributed to colony collapse disorder have become smaller in recent years and also see the EPA page.

This post is not about whether colony collapse disorder is happening or not, or whether humans or climate change or randomness are the cause. This post is about the concept of “What you see is all there is” and illustrates how a complex subject, simplified, can lead you to a potentially inappropriate conclusion.

 

When media becomes propaganda, media consumers lose trust

Perhaps people are more aware of propaganda methods and prevalence than realized. Trust in mass media reaches an all time low.

Americans’ trust in the mass media has dropped sharply since last year to its lowest point since 1972. Republicans’ lack of faith in the media is chiefly behind this decline.

Source: Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low

The trend over time is true for all political persuasions despite the Gallup comment in the last sentence. Democrats went from a peak of 70% to 51%, Independents from a peak of 55% to 30%, and Republicans from a peak of 52% to 14%.

The loss of trust – over time – crosses age boundaries. Among the 18-49 year old group, trust fell from a peak of 55% to 26%.

Media news reporting is apparently seen as increasingly biased and irrelevant. Faced with competition from Internet hosted content and social media outlets, this does not bid well for the long term sustainability of mass media news.

The role of fake news sites in social media stupidity amplification

Many of the fake stories conservatives are tricked into sharing have been deliberately planted by the left to make fools of us.

Source: The Left is Busily Planting Fake Red-Meat Conservative News Sites | The Stream

Similarly, many of the fake stories published by Occupy Democrats are used to trick liberals into sharing and making fools of themselves (see prior posts on this topic).

We’ve written about this before and this also illustrates how the MSM does the same thing, as click bait, noted in the prior post.