Daily Beast: A Notorious COVID Troll Actually Works for Dr. Fauci’s Agency

Daily Beast: A Notorious COVID Troll Actually Works for Dr. Fauci’s Agency. “The managing editor of the prominent conservative website RedState has spent months trashing U.S. officials tasked with combating COVID-19, dubbing White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci a ‘mask nazi,’ and intimating that government officials responsible for the pandemic response should be executed. But that writer, who goes by the pseudonym ‘streiff,’ isn’t just another political blogger. The Daily Beast has discovered that he actually works in the public affairs shop of the very agency that Fauci leads.”

NiemanLab: Spanish-language misinformation is flourishing — and often hidden. Is help on the way?

NiemanLab: Spanish-language misinformation is flourishing — and often hidden. Is help on the way?. “Another possible contributor to Biden’s lack of success with Hispanic voters may be an onslaught of anti-Biden disinformation that ‘is inundating Spanish-speaking residents of South Florida ahead of Election Day, clogging their WhatsApp chats, Facebook feeds and even radio airwaves at a saturation level that threatens to shape the outcome in the nation’s biggest and most closely contested swing state,’ Sabrina Rodriguez and Marc Caputo reported in Politico this week.”

NiemanLab: The New York Times will flag viral misinformation with a new Daily Distortions feature

NiemanLab: The New York Times will flag viral misinformation with a new Daily Distortions feature. “Daily Distortions will appear as a swipeable feature for mobile apps focused on one subject per day and a running blog with a wider selection of the misinformation being tracked by Times journalists. The information will be presented in a ‘compelling, predictable way’ and each edition is designed to be shareable. (A print version of the feature is in the works, too.)”

Wired: Why Teens Are Falling for TikTok Conspiracy Theories

Wired: Why Teens Are Falling for TikTok Conspiracy Theories. “On the surface, it makes sense that young people would latch on to conspiracy theories on TikTok. The platform skews young—reportedly one-third of its daily users in the US are 14 or younger—and celebrity gossip has long been the lingua franca of social media for people of all ages. Right-wing conspiracy groups like QAnon have been spreading made up stories about those in power on networks like Facebook for years. Now those ideas have jumped to TikTok where they’re being metabolized by much younger consumers. Those things all scan. What doesn’t, however, is why teens believe them.”

Mashable: 4th graders made their own clickbait headlines and they’re way better than ours

Mashable: 4th graders made their own clickbait headlines and they’re way better than ours. “It’s a strange world online and Ingrid Conley-Abrams — a school library director in New York City — wanted to prep her students as best she could. As a part of a lesson on media literacy and bias, Conley-Abrams created an optional assignment where kids made their own versions of clickbait. The results were delightful, brilliant, and, at times, slightly creepy.”

Vox Recode: How to guard your social feeds against election misinformation

Vox Recode: How to guard your social feeds against election misinformation. “Election Day is approaching, and you’ll likely have to use your own judgment to identify misleading or downright false content on social media. So how can you prepare? Plenty of outlets have written guides to spotting misinformation on your feeds — some great resources are available at The Verge, Factcheck.org, and the Toronto Public Library. You can go beyond that by minimizing the chance that you’ll come across misinformation in the first place (though there’s no guarantee).”

Download the Election Deception Tracker: A New Tool to Fight Online Misinformation (MapLight)

MapLight: Download the Election Deception Tracker: A New Tool to Fight Online Misinformation . “With only a few clicks, the Election Deception Tracker allows users to capture content from their Facebook feeds that contains false or misleading content about the election, voting-by-mail, and other voter suppression or intimidation and send it to a team of election protection advocates who will analyze the information and push for its removal.” Looks like this is a browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox.

The Tyee: Misinformation Was Always Dangerous. Social Media Has Turned It into a Viral Sickness

The Tyee: Misinformation Was Always Dangerous. Social Media Has Turned It into a Viral Sickness. “In 1486, a German priest named Heinrich Kramer published a manual called Malleus Maleficarum or the Hammer of Witches. Kramer wrote the book as an act of revenge following his expulsion from Innsbruck by the local bishop after he tried — and failed — to convict a woman he was sexually obsessed by of satanic practices. Eventually reaching 30,000 copies, Kramer’s book detailed the theory and practice of witch persecution that catalyzed a frenzy of female torture throughout Europe and claimed at least 40,000 victims. History teaches us that indulging petty ignorance can be decidedly deadly, a lesson we ignore at our peril.”

MIT Technology Review: Evangelicals are looking for answers online. They’re finding QAnon instead.

MIT Technology Review: Evangelicals are looking for answers online. They’re finding QAnon instead.. “The tenets of QAnon are specific: that Trump is the chosen one to finally destroy a ring of Satanic pedophiles long protected by access to elite positions of authority, and that Q will provide the clues to lead followers to the truth. But the movement has mingled with so many other conspiracist causes and ideologies that it is now possible to be a carrier of QAnon content online without actually knowing what you are spreading.”

New York Times: Facebook Tried to Limit QAnon. It Failed.

New York Times: Facebook Tried to Limit QAnon. It Failed.. “The QAnon movement has proved extremely adept at evading detection on Facebook under the platform’s new restrictions. Some groups have simply changed their names or avoided key terms that would set off alarm bells. The changes were subtle, like changing ‘Q’ to ‘Cue’ or to a name including the number 17, reflecting that Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet. Militia groups have changed their names to phrases from the Bible, or to claims of being ‘God’s Army.'”

BuzzFeed News: Friends And Family Members Of QAnon Believers Are Going Through A “Surreal Goddamn Nightmare”

BuzzFeed News: Friends And Family Members Of QAnon Believers Are Going Through A “Surreal Goddamn Nightmare”. “At its core, the QAnon collective delusion is a belief system that began in the innards of the social web before being vomited into the mainstream. Believers sign up for a slew of untruths. Most support Trump, oppose the ‘deep state,’ deny vaccination science, say many instances of gun violence were faked, and set off on quixotic crusades for supposedly trafficked children that hinder the real fight against the issue. Much of their wrath is centered on purported elites who either faked the coronavirus pandemic or spread the virus through 5G technology, a scientific impossibility. Satanism and drinking the blood of children are common points of discussion. Paranoia surrounding Black Lives Matter protests and anti-fascist activists is widespread.”

NBC News: Letter targets minorities on Long Island with coronavirus vaccine misinformation, state senator says

NBC News: Letter targets minorities on Long Island with coronavirus vaccine misinformation, state senator says. “A New York state senator issued a warning to residents of suburban Nassau County about a letter that falsely claims the government is looking for ‘minorities to experiment on’ with the coronavirus vaccines. The letter was taped to the doors of dozens of homes on the North Shore of Long Island on Saturday, state Sen. Anna Kaplan said in a press release that included a redacted copy of the full letter.”

Washington Post: Pro-Trump youth group enlists teens in secretive campaign likened to a ‘troll farm,’ prompting rebuke by Facebook and Twitter

Washington Post: Pro-Trump youth group enlists teens in secretive campaign likened to a ‘troll farm,’ prompting rebuke by Facebook and Twitter. “The messages have been emanating in recent months from the accounts of young people in Arizona seemingly expressing their own views — standing up for President Trump in a battleground state and echoing talking points from his reelection campaign. Far from representing a genuine social media groundswell, however, the posts are the product of a sprawling yet secretive campaign that experts say evades the guardrails put in place by social media companies to limit online disinformation of the sort used by Russia during the 2016 campaign.”

Phys .org: Many Americans believe false election narratives, survey shows

Phys .org: Many Americans believe false election narratives, survey shows. “‘Kamala Harris is not a natural-born American citizen.’ False. ‘Joe Biden’s family has illegal business ties with China.’ False. Believe it or not, large segments of the population are aware of these kinds of unsupported narratives related to the fall 2020 election and believe that at least some of these narratives are true, according to the first in a new series of reports by Indiana University’s Observatory on Social Media, also known as OSoMe.”

USA Today: Debunked QAnon conspiracy theories are seeping into mainstream social media. Don’t be fooled.

USA Today: Debunked QAnon conspiracy theories are seeping into mainstream social media. Don’t be fooled.. “While many QAnon theories and content remain on fringe platforms like far-right message board 8kun, some have made their way into mainstream social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. On those platforms, the bogus or misleading material is gaining traction among people who have no idea they’re dabbling in QAnon.”