Tom Dickinson describes four different types of distributed ‘fake news’.
‘Fake news’ is lazy language. Be specific. Do you mean: A) Propaganda B) Disinformation C) Conspiracy theory D) Clickbait
The RAND Corporation, a US think-tank with strong ties to the military industrial complex, recently looked at the influence of the Russian Propaganda Model and how best to deal with it.
Three factors have been shown to increase the (limited) effectiveness of retractions and refutations: (1) warnings at the time of initial exposure to misinformation, (2) repetition of the retraction or refutation, and (3) corrections that provide an alternative story to help fill the resulting gap in understanding when false ‘facts’ are removed.
Critical thinking requires us to constantly question assumptions, especially our own. To develop these skills, questioning must be encouraged. This runs counter to most schooling and training practices. When do students or employees get to question underlying assumptions of their institutions? If they cannot do this, how can we expect them to challenge various and pervasive types of ‘fake news’?
“They were taking both sides of the argument this past weekend and pushing them out from their troll farms as much as they could to just raise the noise level in America and make a big issue seem like an even bigger issue as they’re trying to push divisiveness in the country,” as Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said in the fall.
The Republicans might have been tarnished by the St Petersburg troll factory, but Democratic fantasies about social media were rubbished in the process
The ads in question were memes, manufactured and posted to a number of bluntly named, pseudo-American Facebook accounts in 2016 by workers at a troll farm in St Petersburg, Russia. There were thousands of these ads, it seems, plus parallel efforts on Instagram and Twitter. Between them, they reached over 100 million people.
The memes were big news for a while because they showed what Russian interference in the 2016 election actually looked like, in vivid color. Eventually the story faded, though, in part because it was superseded by other stories, but also, I think, because the Russian ad story was deeply distasteful to both sides of our atrophied political debate.
The ads were clumsily written. They were rife with spelling errors and poor grammar. Their grasp of American history was awful. And over them all hovered a paranoid fear that the powerful were scheming to flip the world upside-down in the most outlandish ways: to turn our country over to the undocumented … to punish the hardworking … to crack down on patriots and Christians … to enact Sharia law right here at home.
The social media platforms aren’t neutral arbiters, selflessly serving the needs of society. As is all too obvious now, they are monopolies that manipulate us in a hundred different ways, selecting our news, steering us towards what we need to buy. The corporate entities behind them wield enormous power in Washington, too, filling Democratic campaign coffers and keeping the revolving door turning for trusted servants. Those who don’t comply get disciplined.
Russia calls for answers after Chechen leader’s Instagram is blocked
Internet watchdog demands explanation after Ramzan Kadyrov claimed Facebook also suspended him without explanation
Kadyrov has accused the US government of pressuring the social networks to disable his accounts, which he said were blocked on Saturday without explanation. The US imposed travel and financial sanctions on Kadyrov last week over numerous allegations of human rights abuses.
The former rebel fighter, who is now loyal to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is a fan of social media, particularly Instagram, which he has used in recent years to make barely veiled death threats against Kremlin critics.
Leonid Levin, the head of the Russian parliament’s information technologies and communications committee, suggested the move by Facebook and Instagram was an attack on freedom of speech.
Dzhambulat Umarov, the Chechen press and information minister, described the blocking of Kadyrov’s accounts as a “vile” cyber-attack by the US.
Neither Instagram nor Facebook had commented at the time of publication.
In 2015, Kadyrov urged Chechen men not to let their wives use the WhatsApp messaging service after an online outcry over the forced marriage of a 17-year-old Chechen to a 47-year-old police chief. “Do not write such things. Men, take your women out of WhatsApp,” he said.
took only a few days to create the clip on a desktop computer using a generative adversarial network (GAN), a type of machine-learning algorithm.
Faith in written information is under attack in some quarters by the spread of what is loosely known as “fake news”. But images and sound recordings retain for many an inherent trustworthiness. GANs are part of a technological wave that threatens this credibility.
Amnesty International is already grappling with some of these issues. Its Citizen Evidence Lab verifies videos and images of alleged human-rights abuses. It uses Google Earth to examine background landscapes and to test whether a video or image was captured when and where it claims. It uses Wolfram Alpha, a search engine, to cross-reference historical weather conditions against those claimed in the video. Amnesty’s work mostly catches old videos that are being labelled as a new atrocity, but it will have to watch out for generated video, too. Cryptography could also help to verify that content has come from a trusted organisation. Media could be signed with a unique key that only the signing organisation—or the originating device—possesses.
Want to strengthen your own ability to tell real news from fake news? Start by asking these five questions of any news item:
Who wrote it?
identify whether the item you’re reading is a reported news article (written by a journalist with the intent to inform), a persuasive opinion piece (written by an industry expert with a point of view), or something else entirely.
What claims does it make? Real news — like these Pulitzer Prize winning articles — will include multiple primary sources when discussing a controversial claim. Fake news may include fake sources, false urls, and/or “alternative facts”
Where was it published? Real news is published by trustworthy media outlets with a strong factchecking record, such as the BBC, NPR, ProPublica, Mother Jones, and Wired. (To learn more about any media outlet, look at their About page and examine their published body of work.) If you get your news primarily via social media, try to verify that the information is accurate before you share it. (On Twitter, for example, you might look for the blue “verified” checkmark next to a media outlet name to doublecheck a publication source before sharing a link.)
How does it make you feel?Fake news, like all propaganda, is designed to make you feel strong emotions. So if you read a news item that makes you feel super angry, pause and take a deep breath.
Monday 24 April 2017 19.01 EDT Alex Hern Technology reporter
Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with an army of volunteer community contributors.
Wikitribune plans to pay for the reporters by raising money from a crowdfunding campaign.
The ideas behind Wikitribune are similar to other experiments with sustainable community journalism.
Dutch news website De Correspondent, for instance, was launched in 2013 after a €1m (£850,000) crowdfunding campaign, with a goal of focusing on reporter-led in-depth coverage of a select few topics backed up by strong involvement from a community of financial backers.
There are dozens of other conspiracy-propagating websites such as beforeitsnews.com, nodisinfo.com and veteranstoday.com.
It isn’t a traditional left-right political axis, she found. There are right-wing sites like Danger & Play and left-wing sensationalizers such as The Free Thought Project. Some appear to be just trying to make money, while others are aggressively pushing political agendas.
The true common denominator, she found, is anti-globalism — deep suspicion of free trade, multinational business and global institutions.
The News Literacy Project