Monthly Archives: February 2017

20th Century Fox created many fake news web sites to promote a movie

The sites were designed by an experienced fake news publisher using the traditional, emotionally laden headlines, with false stories designed to be shared on social media. The purpose was to promote a movie –  by design, many people began sharing these fake news stories on social media where they were viewed as real.

Many of the stories were partisan political posts with false allegations. One fake post had been shared 65,000 times on Facebook alone.

A promotion tactic for “A Cure for Wellness,” which set up false news sites that put out articles that were widely shared, fell flat, as did the film’s projected ticket sales.

Source: 20th Century Fox Gives Real Apology for a Fake News Campaign – The New York Times

Even though the web sites have now been shut down, the original posts shared on social media can still be found by searching those web services.

Everyone produces fake news (we used to call them “public relations press releases”) and social media is the megaphone amplifier for any absurdity to be passed on as the truth.

Facebook manifesto: FB intends to control your life

The comments to this opinion column in the Oregonian (via Bloomberg), are mostly from people not happy with how Facebook has degenerated into a culture of outrage, anger and hate (broadly defined – not just in terms of government defined “hate groups”).
Source: Facebook plans to rewire your life. Be afraid: Bloomberg View

Social media has serious issues. Zuckerberg intends to add automation to eliminate “hate” (conventionally defined) and “fake news” – which suggests he does not  understand the problem.

People – and social media sharing – makes fake news successful

The creation of fake news is not the core problem – lying has been around for as long as people have spoken (“Thou shalt not bear false witness,” the Bible says). The problem on social media is that people who don’t know better spread the lies – and the technology enables them to do so faster than ever before. Like the difference between a fire on someone’s stove and a forest fire burning thousands of acres, virality is the primary issue, not the original lie.

Source: Stopping Fake News On Facebook Is Actually Simple. Here Is How I Have Been Doing It For Years.

I try to follow my own rule: On Facebook, I share items I create, or links to items I have created – rather than links to sources whose authenticity is hard to gauge.

I unfollow or unfriend people who frequently share fake news. By breaking the link, fake news fails to achieve market share, fails to go viral, and will not make money by selling eyeballs to advertisers, which is the goal of the fake news publishers.

Propagandists play the same game too – exaggerated or false headlines designed to grab our emotions, which we quickly Like and Share without a moment’s thought. Social media propaganda and fake news use the same methods – don’t play the game!