New York Times: How to Fight Health ‘Cures’ Online

New York Times: How to Fight Health ‘Cures’ Online. “Anne Borden King had already battled online health misinformation as a parent of a child with autism. Then, as a patient, she was barraged on Facebook by bogus cancer ‘cure’ advertisements after posting about her diagnosis. Borden, a co-founder of the Campaign Against Phony Autism Cures, talked to me about what we and Facebook can do to stamp out the worst kinds of junk health information that preys on people’s fears. It requires us to have some uncomfortable conversations, and for Facebook to fundamentally change how it works.”

NiemanLab: First Draft launches a text message course to help inoculate users against U.S. election misinformation

NiemanLab: First Draft launches a text message course to help inoculate users against U.S. election misinformation. “Sensing (correctly) that people are fatigued with online trainings, First Draft has rolled out ‘Protection from deception,’ a free two-week text message course to help people prepare for election misinformation ahead of November.”

Brookings Institution: How misinformation spreads on Twitter

Brookings Institution: How misinformation spreads on Twitter. “We examined millions of Twitter posts for events, such as mass shootings, that result in a large, international online response. A single tweet contains more than 150 data variables including the time the tweet was posted, the tweet text, the Twitter handle, locations, and more.”

AFP Fact Check: More false claims about ‘Irish slaves’ spread on social media

AFP Fact Check: More false claims about ‘Irish slaves’ spread on social media. “A post shared thousands of times on Facebook says ‘the majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white’ and that African slaves ‘were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.’ These claims, and others in the post, are false, according to historians and experts.”

BNN Bloomberg: Google, Amazon Funnel Over $20 Million to Virus Conspiracy Sites

BNN Bloomberg: Google, Amazon Funnel Over $20 Million to Virus Conspiracy Sites. “Digital advertising platforms run by Google, Amazon.com Inc. and other tech companies will funnel at least $25 million to websites spreading misinformation about Covid-19 this year, according to a study released Wednesday. Google’s platforms will provide $19 million, or $3 out of every $4 that the misinformation sites get in ad revenue. OpenX, a smaller digital ad distributor, handles about 10% of the money, while Amazon’s technology delivers roughly $1.7 million, or 7%, of the digital marketing spending these sites will receive, according to a research group called the Global Disinformation Index.”

AP: Facebook groups pivot to attacks on Black Lives Matter

AP: Facebook groups pivot to attacks on Black Lives Matter. “A loose network of Facebook groups that took root across the country in April to organize protests over coronavirus stay-at-home orders has become a hub of misinformation and conspiracy theories that have pivoted to a variety of new targets. Their latest: Black Lives Matter and the nationwide protests of racial injustice.”

New York Times: Bogus Ideas Have Superspreaders, Too

New York Times: Bogus Ideas Have Superspreaders, Too. “…whether they intend it or not, celebrities, politicians and others with large online followings can be superspreaders — not of the coronavirus but of dangerous or false information. And I wonder whether these prominent people need to be held to stricter rules.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Facebook and Google must move away from the zero-sum game

Sydney Morning Herald: Facebook and Google must move away from the zero-sum game. “The Facebook business model is to observe the behaviour of its users, reduce them to stereotypes and then package this data to commercial and political advertisers. Its algorithms feed off ‘engagement’, which is fuelled by outrage, fomenting a commercial incentive for bad behaviour. Moderation is woefully inadequate, outsourced and post facto. If Facebook were serious about keeping the network clean it would hire the tens of thousands of workers required to do it. This has left Facebook with a potent advertising machine which many advertisers don’t feel safe to use.”

Cuentas falsas y coordinación con Venezuela: cómo Cuba disemina propaganda en Twitter (El Nuevo Herald)

El Nuevo Herald, and the article is in Spanish, but I’ll provide a machine translation of the salient paragraphs: Cuentas falsas y coordinación con Venezuela: cómo Cuba disemina propaganda en Twitter. “On his Twitter profile, user Kaleb Guevara reproduces a phrase attributed to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara: ‘the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.’ The profile photo also reminds of the controversial Argentine figure, a young brunette with a beard, with a cigarette on his lips. But it does not belong to a person called “Kaleb Guevara” but to the Canadian model Nick Bateman. These are just two examples of more than a hundred of what appear to be false profiles that appear on … a new site that identifies Twitter accounts that spread propaganda and disinformation from Cuba.”

NiemanLab: Why do people share misinformation about Covid-19? Partly because they’re distracted

NiemanLab: Why do people share misinformation about Covid-19? Partly because they’re distracted. “Researchers led by Gordon Pennycook found that ‘nudging people to think about accuracy is a simple way to improve choices about what to share on social media,’ they write in a paper published this week in Psychological Science. The studies focused specifically on Covid-19-related misinformation, borrowing ideas from the ways we fight political misinformation. They found that similar interventions worked.”

Poynter: Sarah Sanders didn’t tweet this COVID-19 conspiracy theory

Poynter: Sarah Sanders didn’t tweet this COVID-19 conspiracy theory. “The tweet was like a word cloud of popular conspiracy theory topics: COVID-19, Russia, antifa and Hillary Clinton. And it looked like it came from former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Sanders has a couple verified Twitter accounts: @SHSanders45, where she last tweeted in 2019, @SarahHuckabee, where she actively tweets today. And she once tweeted from the handle @PressSec. But an image being shared on Facebook that looks like she tweeted a conspiracy theory from yet another account is not actually from Sanders.”

ScienceBlog: How Conspiracy Theories Emerge – And How Their Storylines Fall Apart

ScienceBlog: How Conspiracy Theories Emerge – And How Their Storylines Fall Apart. “A new study by UCLA professors offers a new way to understand how unfounded conspiracy theories emerge online. The research, which combines sophisticated artificial intelligence and a deep knowledge of how folklore is structured, explains how unrelated facts and false information can connect into a narrative framework that would quickly fall apart if some of those elements are taken out of the mix.”

New York Times: ‘PizzaGate’ Conspiracy Theory Thrives Anew in the TikTok Era

New York Times: ‘PizzaGate’ Conspiracy Theory Thrives Anew in the TikTok Era. “Four years ago, ahead of the 2016 presidential election, the baseless notion that Hillary Clinton and Democratic elites were running a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington pizzeria spread across the internet, illustrating how a crackpot idea with no truth to it could blossom on social media — and how dangerous it could be…. In the years afterward, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube managed to largely suppress PizzaGate. But now, just months before the next presidential election, the conspiracy theory is making a comeback on these platforms — and on new ones such as TikTok — underlining the limits of their efforts to stamp out dangerous speech online and how little has changed despite rising public frustration.”

Verify: Contrary to social media claims, there’s no evidence Arizona is ‘double-counting’ positive tests for coronavirus (12 News)

12 News: Verify: Contrary to social media claims, there’s no evidence Arizona is ‘double-counting’ positive tests for coronavirus. “You may have noticed more than a few social media skeptics about Arizona’s soaring coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. They just don’t trust the numbers. We verified whether the state Department of Health Services, the repository of the data, is ‘double-counting’ positive coronavirus tests. On Sunday, Arizona posted a single-day record high of 3,857 cases. Before Gov. Doug Ducey reopened the state six weeks ago, 1 in 20 tests was positive. Today, 1 in every 5 tests are returning as positive, according to DHS.”

CNET: Coronavirus, BLM protest conspiracy theories collide on Facebook and Twitter

CNET: Coronavirus, BLM protest conspiracy theories collide on Facebook and Twitter. “A pandemic, societal protests and a contentious election have created an especially challenging environment for Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Content moderators and fact-checkers are struggling to prevent the spread of obvious misinformation while giving users space to voice their opinions. The problem has gotten knottier for the online platforms as false claims about both the health crisis and Floyd’s killing collide, making content moderation decisions — taxing in the best of situations — even tougher.”