Phys .org: Fake news ‘vaccine’: Online game may ‘inoculate’ by simulating propaganda tactics . “A new online game puts players in the shoes of an aspiring propagandist to give the public a taste of the techniques and motivations behind the spread of disinformation—potentially ‘inoculating’ them against the influence of so-called fake news in the process.”
TechCrunch: Fake news is an existential crisis for social media . “The claim and counter claim that spread out around ‘fake news’ like an amorphous cloud of meta-fakery, as reams of additional ‘information’ — some of it equally polarizing but a lot of it more subtle in its attempts to mislead (for e.g., the publicly unseen ‘on background’ info routinely sent to reporters to try to invisible shape coverage in a tech firm’s favor) — are applied in equal and opposite directions in the interests of obfuscation; using speech and/or misinformation as a form of censorship to fog the lens of public opinion. This bottomless follow-up fodder generates yet more FUD in the fake news debate. Which is ironic, as well as boring, of course. But it’s also clearly deliberate.” One of those articles that deserves a better headline than it gets. A deep dive with lots of links to other news articles and background. Very good stuff.
Wired: Inside The Two Years That Shook Facebook—and The World. “[Benjamin] Fearnow, a recent graduate of the Columbia Journalism School, worked in Facebook’s New York office on something called Trending Topics, a feed of popular news subjects that popped up when people opened Facebook. The feed was generated by an algorithm but moderated by a team of about 25 people with backgrounds in journalism. If the word ‘Trump’ was trending, as it often was, they used their news judgment to identify which bit of news about the candidate was most important. If The Onion or a hoax site published a spoof that went viral, they had to keep that out. If something like a mass shooting happened, and Facebook’s algorithm was slow to pick up on it, they would inject a story about it into the feed.”
Quartz: Facebook “likes” are a powerful tool for authoritarian rulers, court petition says. “A Cambodian opposition leader has filed a petition in a California court against Facebook, demanding the company disclose its transactions with his country’s authoritarian prime minister, whom he accuses of falsely inflating his popularity through purchased ‘likes’ and spreading fake news.”
TechCrunch: The real consequences of fake porn and news. “For a democratic society in which the presumption of truth is generally the default response to most content, we will quite soon live in a world where everything must be considered fake without evidence to the contrary. It’s as if we suddenly moved to an authoritarian country and needed to constantly dismiss the propaganda we see every day. When it comes to policy problems facing startups, tech companies, political parties and governments together, this challenge is about as thorny as they come.”
The Guardian: Brazil’s biggest newspaper pulls content from Facebook after algorithm change. “Brazil’s biggest newspaper, the Folha de S Paulo, has announced that it will no longer publish content on its Facebook page, accusing the social media giant of encouraging fake news with an overhaul of its news feed algorithm.”
Mercury News: Trump supporters share the most fake news: study. “The people who share the most fake news tend to lean right politically — and many of them support President Trump, a new study has found. University of Oxford researchers looked at who shared what on Facebook and Twitter in the three months before President Trump’s State of the Union address and found that Trump supporters shared the most misleading information more than the other groups in the study.” The article did not mention if the researchers made sure that the 14K+ Twitter users they studied were real as opposed to astroturfing bots.