Reuters: Google Japan defends impartiality of search results amid lockdown rumors

Reuters: Google Japan defends impartiality of search results amid lockdown rumors. “Google (GOOGL.O) on Tuesday defended the impartiality of its search results after users in Japan seeking to corroborate rumors of an imminent state of emergency declaration by the government were met with no results on its website. Climbing coronavirus cases in Tokyo have seen politicians call for residents to reduce social mixing and have led to a slew of messages circulating on social media asserting a broader lockdown is imminent.”

Ubergizmo: Don’t Believe The Rumors, Minecraft’s Servers Aren’t Shutting Down In 2020

Ubergizmo: Don’t Believe The Rumors, Minecraft’s Servers Aren’t Shutting Down In 2020. “The problem with everyone being so connected these days is that at a click of a button, news and spread like wildfire, even if it isn’t necessarily true. For Minecraft players who have come across a rumor suggesting that the game’s servers will be shutting down at the end of 2020, it isn’t true.”

The Verge: The dream of the ‘00s lives on in gossip blogs

The Verge: The dream of the ‘00s lives on in gossip blogs. “Mostly, the internet is worse now than it was 20 years ago — but at least it looks better. Now that ‘going online’ is more often a job than a hobby, the internet looks appropriately sleek to match: by adults and for adults, by professionals and for professionals. Platforms have different personalities, from the cutesy quirk of Etsy to the clean, friendly usability of Slack. But, in general, if a website is popular, if it is large enough to be the primary income source for its creators, it is both navigable and beautiful in a minimalist, Scandinavian-boutique-hotel sort of way. The look of a website is intentional and made by a well-paid committee. Very little about the internet’s appearance, short of a bug quickly remedied, is an accident.”

Economic Times (India): Government asks Google, Twitter, WhatsApp to check rumours, messages inciting unrest

Economic Times (India): Government asks Google, Twitter, WhatsApp to check rumours, messages inciting unrest. “Government has asked Google, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media platforms to take concrete steps to check spread of rumours and messages inciting unrest, cyber crimes and other activities that could be detrimental to the national security, officials said Thursday.”

Gulf News: Dubai Municipality quashed 60 social media rumours in two years

Gulf News: Dubai Municipality quashed 60 social media rumours in two years. “In over two years after it launched a service to verify the authenticity of rumours spread through social media, Dubai Municipality thwarted 60 of them, an official said on Monday. The municipality verified 15 rumours in 2015 after the launch of the ‘Confirmed News’ service on July 23 that year, said Khater Hassan Al Nuaimi, director of Customer Relations and Partners Department in Dubai Municipality.”

China Bans Unsubstantiated Social Media Reporting

More China: China has banned online news outlets from reporting unsubstantiated items found on social media. “Online media basing news reports on contents made on social media must verify them before publication, China’s Internet regulator said on Sunday. News websites must accredit these sources, and they are banned from fabricating stories or distorting facts, according to a notice issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.”

New Tool Wants to Detect Twitter Rumors in Real Time (PRESS RELEASE)

In development: a tool to automatically detect rumors and inaccurate information on Twitter (PRESS RELEASE). “The digital journalism dashboard, currently being developed by an international group of researchers, will automatically detect questionable claims as they spread on social platforms like Twitter, and give an estimate of their veracity. By tracking and verifying information in real-time, the tool will allow journalists to keep pace with the huge volume of viral stories circulating online, and separate fact from fiction.”

Research: It Takes Longer to Debunk a False Rumor Than a True One

This article from First Draft News quotes a saying that I first encountered in Terry Pratchett’s The Truth: “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on”. Some recent research tags that saying as pretty spot-on: “On average, it takes more than 12 hours for a false claim to be debunked online, according to two recent projects that compared how falsehoods and truths spread. One study analyzed rumors on Twitter and found that a rumor that turns out to be true is often resolved within two hours of first emerging. But a rumor that proves false takes closer to 14 hours to be debunked.”

Study: Official Statement Can Stop Viral Rumors

I think we can file this under “not surprising”: an official word can stop viral rumors on social media. “…when faced with the new realities of online life, many organizations falter when it comes to addressing the problems cultivated through social media outlets. Ignoring the problem won’t get you anywhere, according to a new study by the University of Washington’s Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation (emCOMP) Laboratory, which found that a simple statement from an official can turn the tides on rumors gone viral.”