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Month: November 2016

Social media users tend to share news that confirms their beliefs, even if the news is false

Social media users tend to share news that confirms their beliefs, even if the news is false

If internet users are predisposed to believe false information that confirms their prejudices — and if they enthusiastically take part in spreading conspiracy theories — then falsehoods may be endemic to mass online communication platforms. This issue is more difficult for Facebook, whose algorithms rely heavily on a social signal that comes from what a user’s friends are sharing. If its users promote unreliable information — particularly if it is not easily categorised as “news” — it will spread rapidly….

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Breitbart, Occupy Democrats among list of alleged fake, news sites 

Breitbart, Occupy Democrats among list of alleged fake, news sites 

[Professor] Zimdars puts the news sites into four categories. Category one deals with sites that rely on “outrage culture”, using distorted headlines or misleading information. Category two are sites that “circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information.” Category three is for more click-bait type websites that still deliver questionable information. And category four deals with satires news site like The Onion. The satires sites are included into the list because Zimdars thinks they sometimes contribute to the cycle of misinformation. The list includes…

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Media and social media’s “outrage culture”

Media and social media’s “outrage culture”

We have a media system that loves to yell and scream. It is basically its default setting. Forget deliberation and civil discourse, it goes immediately to outrage and cynical condescension, or in other cases, relentless and unprovoked shaming. And we, as the consumers and residents of this culture, have come to confuse all this noise and reaction with action. Psychologists call this the narcotizing dysfunction—when the amount of effort and energy poured into something becomes self-soothing, obliterating any notions of…

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Publisher and best selling author disconnects from social media

Publisher and best selling author disconnects from social media

I marked the day after the election by doing the following: I deleted Twitter from my phone. I deleted Facebook from my phone. I deleted the Google News app from my phone. I figured out how to remove Apple News from Siri. I removed CNN from my nightly scan of the television channels. Source: Want to Really Make America Great Again? Stop Reading the News. We are drowning in a world of poorly executed journalism and manipulative propaganda amplified by…

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“But much of the news on Facebook was fake…”

“But much of the news on Facebook was fake…”

But much of the news on Facebook was fake, media watchers pointed out, compromising the platform as well as confidence in the media. One local official shared news on Facebook with headlines such as “Hillary Clinton Calling for Civil War If Trump Is Elected” and “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President,” said Joshua Benton, director of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab. “These are not legit anti-Hillary stories,” he wrote in a blog post. “These are imaginary, made…

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Facebook admits the platform is filled with garbage

Facebook admits the platform is filled with garbage

Last week Buzzfeed reported on an entire cottage industry of web users in Macedonia generating fake news stories related to Trump vs Clinton in order to inject them into Facebook’s Newsfeed as a way to drive viral views and generate ad revenue from lucrative US eyeballs. This enterprise has apparently been wildly successful for the teens involved, with some apparently managing to pull in up to $3,000 and $5,000 per month thanks to the power of Facebook’s amplification algorithm. Source: Facebook admits it must do more to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform |…

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CNN Self parody of fake news

CNN Self parody of fake news

Screen shot of CNN web page taken several days ago. Note the story about fake news sites is followed by “paid partner content” fake news stories – on CNN!

“How Much Is Facebook to Blame?”

“How Much Is Facebook to Blame?”

They’ve written dozens of stories about the proliferating number of anonymous, low-rent websites that publish bombastic and clearly inaccurate stories designed to spread throughout Facebook’s platform as quickly as possible. Because so many of those stories were so heavily slanted toward the Republican nominee, some of those very same journalists are now beginning to blame Facebook, rather than actual voters, for yesterday’s earth-shaking election of Donald Trump. Source: How Much Is Facebook to Blame? First, note the title “Blame?” rather than…

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Social media publishing propaganda for profit

Social media publishing propaganda for profit

BuzzFeed News identified more than 100 pro-Trump websites being run from a single town in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Source: How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News – BuzzFeed News As this blog has pointed out, fake news sites are prevalent across the political spectrum. They aim for the emotional response of their target audience – and generate revenue from click through advertising. The young Macedonians who run these sites say they don’t…

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Teens earn $1000s from producing fake news distributed on social media

Teens earn $1000s from producing fake news distributed on social media

A 16-year-old who runs a site called BVAnews.com told him it’s averaging 1 million page views per month. He declined to share revenue figures, but in theory that could translate to tens of thousands of U.S. dollars per year—many times more than Macedonia’s median income. The 16-year-old told Silverman he experimented with pro–Bernie Sanders news during the primary, but found pro-Trump content far more popular on the social network. Source: Facebook Is Fueling an International Boom in Pro-Trump Propaganda

Strawman argument: False quote asserts candidate is an idiot

Strawman argument: False quote asserts candidate is an idiot

Goal: Dr. Ben Carson is an idiot Method: Assertion, Strawman Argument: Fabricate a statement about your opponent and then use that fabrication to argue your opponent is an idiot. Scorecard: Over 36,000 shares within a month of this propaganda item posted online. Snopes.com notes the headline is fiction; Dr. Carson never said what is claimed. Here is the original headline: A political report claimed Dr. Ben Carson said he had no idea how gravity works but asserted climate change is a hoax….

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Social media sucks – pink and red iceberg photos are fakes

Social media sucks – pink and red iceberg photos are fakes

Studying geology is a hobby for me. I subscribe to some FB groups that feature items about geology. However, this post from Geology of the world and the Environment is fake. I fell for it and stupidly shared it into my timeline, tagging my youngest daughter, who is a geologist and microbiologist, seeking her input (she was out of town at the time so I did not get a reply). When I first saw it, I read up on “Watermelon…

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Twitter really does censor posts

Twitter really does censor posts

Yesterday, in my Twitter feed, there appeared an official warning from Twitter that a post in the feed may contain objectionable content. In order to view the post, the warning said, I had to click on a button to give permission to Twitter to display the post. This is the post that Twitter said contained objectionable content – seriously? Bio for Vanessa Beeley.

Using social media to spread mass misinformation

Using social media to spread mass misinformation

Recent Wikileaks revelations have unleashed a torrent of absurdities on social media. A search of Twitter for #Wikileaks turns up numerous posts making claims that are not supported – yet are eagerly shared and “liked”. The posts cover the full spectrum from both left and right, and are all absurd. There are people asserting that a short quote from a Wikileaks document means “X” when the full context shows it does not. There are quotes that are not in the Wikileaks…

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