Washington Post: New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic

Washington Post: New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic. “In recent weeks, three studies have focused on conservative media’s role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus. Taken together, they paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others.”

The Verge: Social media bias lawsuits keep failing in court

The Verge: Social media bias lawsuits keep failing in court. “An appeals court in Washington, DC just rejected a complaint by Laura Loomer, the conservative activist who was banned from Twitter for anti-Muslim tweets and later chained herself to the company’s headquarters in protest. Loomer argued that Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple had all colluded to suppress conservative content, violating Loomer’s First Amendment rights in the process. The court disagreed and threw out the suit.”

EurekAlert: Conservative and social media usage associated with misinformation about COVID-19

EurekAlert: Conservative and social media usage associated with misinformation about COVID-19. “People who relied on conservative media or social media in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak were more likely to be misinformed about how to prevent the virus and believe conspiracy theories about it, a study of media use and public knowledge has found.”

WGBH: Historic Television Broadcasts Documenting the Conservative Movement in the 1960s Released by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

WGBH: Historic Television Broadcasts Documenting the Conservative Movement in the 1960s Released by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. “Rescued from deteriorating videotape and film, 21 National Education Television (NET) programs produced between 1956 and 1970 explore multiple perspectives on the modern conservative movement. The programs are now available for online viewing, many for the first time since their original broadcast.”

Columbia Journalism Review: Hundreds of ‘pink slime’ local news outlets are distributing algorithmic stories and conservative talking points

Columbia Journalism Review: Hundreds of ‘pink slime’ local news outlets are distributing algorithmic stories and conservative talking points. “An investigation by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School has discovered at least 450 websites in a network of local and business news organizations, each distributing thousands of algorithmically generated articles and a smaller number of reported stories. Of the 450 sites we discovered, at least 189 were set up as local news networks across ten states within the last twelve months by an organization called Metric Media.”

CNET: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responds to report he’s been meeting with conservatives

CNET: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responds to report he’s been meeting with conservatives. “Mark Zuckerberg said on Monday he meets with lots of people because that’s ‘part of learning,’ a comment prompted by a report detailing a series of quiet meetings the Facebook boss has had with conservative figures in the US over the summer. The meetings, in the form of small, off-record dinners at his homes since July, have included conservative talkshow hosts, journalists and at least one Republican lawmaker, Politico reported earlier in the day.”

Politico: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s private meetings with conservative pundits

Politico: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s private meetings with conservative pundits. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting informal talks and small, off-the-record dinners with conservative journalists, commentators and at least one Republican lawmaker in recent months to discuss issues like free speech and discuss partnerships.”

Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute: Factions on the Left and Right Want Change in the Social Media Industry

Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute: Factions on the Left and Right Want Change in the Social Media Industry. “Social media giant Facebook, Inc. is facing angst from the both the Left and Right of the political spectrum in the United States. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing new regulatory action against Facebook and possibly other social media companies. Facebook has around US$ 3 billion saved for anticipation of an FTC fine. Some people argue that social media is akin to a public utility and that some regulation needs to occur.”

Techdirt: Texas Senator Pushing A Bill That Would Allow The State To Sue Twitter For Banning Conservatives

Techdirt: Texas Senator Pushing A Bill That Would Allow The State To Sue Twitter For Banning Conservatives. “…a member of the Texas Senate has decided he’s going to force social media platforms to be neutral. Bryan Hughes has crafted a bill that would allow the state’s attorney general to sue Twitter, etc. for booting people off their platforms. There’s a big ‘if’ in the bill that pretty much ensures it will never be enforced, even if it somehow manages to survive a Constitutional challenge.”

Washington Post: Senate Republicans renew their claims that Facebook, Google and Twitter censor conservatives

Washington Post: Senate Republicans renew their claims that Facebook, Google and Twitter censor conservatives . “Republicans led by Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday pilloried Facebook, Google and Twitter over allegations they censor conservative users and content online, threatening federal regulation in response to claims that Democrats long have described as a hoax and a distraction.”

New York Times: Big Tech, Once a CPAC Sponsor, Is Now Its Boogeyman

New York Times: Big Tech, Once a CPAC Sponsor, Is Now Its Boogeyman. “A year ago, attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual jamboree of the political right, were greeted by Big Tech with open arms and open bars…. That was then. At last week’s gathering here in a suburb of Washington, Silicon Valley’s only obvious presence was on the lips of exercised right-wing critics who whipped up the crowd by denouncing the American tech industry as an authoritarian hegemony intent on censoring their cause.”

Hiding in Plain Sight: PAC-Connected Activists Set Up ‘Local News’ Outlets (Snopes)

Snopes: Hiding in Plain Sight: PAC-Connected Activists Set Up ‘Local News’ Outlets. “Some stories practically write themselves, the details simple and clear. This investigation, spurred by a reader’s tip, was no such story. In collaboration with reporter Bethania Palma and operations staffers Vinny Green and Chris Reilly, lead reporter Alex Kasprak spent weeks untangling the reality behind a group of entities posing as newspapers in key battleground states going into the 2020 election. Even if you’re jaded by the torrent of daily headlines, including Russian meddling in U.S. election processes, you will want to spend some time with this story.”

The Verge: Facebook shelved a feature intended to promote civil political discourse

The Verge: Facebook shelved a feature intended to promote civil political discourse. “The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook had begun working on a feature that would encourage users of opposing political beliefs to interact in a more positive way. But the project — known as ‘Common Ground’ — was reportedly halted after Facebook’s global head of policy raised concerns that it could lead to accusations that the site was biased against conservatives.”

The New Yorker: The Search for Anti-Conservative Bias on Google

The New Yorker: The Search for Anti-Conservative Bias on Google. “Algorithmic neutrality is a common Silicon Valley refrain. But an algorithm built without favoring one political party or another, or constructed without intentionally championing a particular ideology, is actually designed to deliver culturally biased results. A search engine runs on algorithms and artificial intelligence to instantaneously sift through the Internet’s nearly two billion Web sites. Google’s engineers have embedded something they call ‘authoritativeness’ into their search algorithm to deliver its results, though what this is, exactly, is challenging to understand, because it appears to be based on a tautology: an authoritative source is a source that a lot of other sources consider to be authoritative. “

CNET: Google’s Sergey Brin calls 2016 election ‘offensive’ in leaked video

CNET: Google’s Sergey Brin calls 2016 election ‘offensive’ in leaked video. “Google co-founder Sergey Brin told a company gathering that he felt offended by the 2016 election, according to a leaked video published by Breitbart on Wednesday, comments that will likely fuel criticism among conservatives that the search giant is biased against them.”