Bad News: Selling the Story of Disinformation (Harper’s Magazine)

Harper’s Magazine: Bad News: Selling the Story of Disinformation. I spent the first half of this article wondering if the writer was ever going to get to a point. Then about halfway through everything snaps into place and he starts hitting threes from downtown, including this bit that made me shout hallelujah: “‘Misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’ are used casually and interchangeably to refer to an enormous range of content, ranging from well-worn scams to viral news aggregation; from foreign-intelligence operations to trolling; from opposition research to harassment. In their crudest use, the terms are simply jargon for ‘things I disagree with.’ Attempts to define ‘disinformation’ broadly enough as to rinse it of political perspective or ideology leave us in territory so abstract as to be absurd.”

New York Times: I Spoke to a Scholar of Conspiracy Theories and I’m Scared for Us

New York Times: I Spoke to a Scholar of Conspiracy Theories and I’m Scared for Us. “Lately, I have been putting an embarrassing amount of thought into notions like jinxes and knocking on wood. The polls for Joe Biden look good, but in 2020, any hint of optimism feels dangerously naïve, and my brain has been working overtime in search of potential doom. I have become consumed with an alarming possibility: that neither the polls nor the actual outcome of the election really matter, because to a great many Americans, digital communication has already rendered empirical, observable reality beside the point.”

Fast Company: Fake video threatens to rewrite history. Here’s how to protect it

Fast Company: Fake video threatens to rewrite history. Here’s how to protect it. “In an age of very little institutional trust, without a firm historical context that future historians and the public can rely on to authenticate digital media events of the past, we may be looking at the dawn of a new era of civilization: post-history. We need to act now to ensure the continuity of history without stifling the creative potential of these new AI tools.”

Intelligencer: How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.

Intelligencer: How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.. “How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was ‘bots masquerading as people,’ a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event ‘the Inversion.'”