COVID-19 fake news: how to spot it and what locals are doing to stop it –

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - There's an entire Wikipedia page with 634 listed sources just about COVID-19 misinformation.

The spreading of false information was already an issue before the pandemic, but now it's become a big problem for public health.

In all the planning that weve done for a pandemic of some sort, we didnt really factor in the influence of social media and how much misinformation would be circulating on social media, said Southeastern Idaho Public Health district director Maggie Mann.

Bogus research is being disguised as legitimate findings by physicians in order to influence public policy, and now social media giants are taking down the fake news.

Maygan Layson, who has her master's degree in public health education from Walden University, created the Pocatello CoVid 19 Community Support Facebook group back in March. She wanted to provide a place for locals to get accurate information and resources during the pandemic.

After a debunked conspiracy video was shared on her page, she spent an hour and a half researching the claims in the video and the source's reliability. She found no other research to support the information and took the post down.

Because I wanted it to be accurate. I really really considered everything those doctors had to say. I researched it, I looked for scholarly articles that would support or negate their claims, Layson said.

Public health officials wish more people would do their own research when they see coronavirus news.

If youre just seeing something thats being shared by a friend on social media, or even something that sounds like a professional organization but maybe dont have a ton of credibility, I would be very leery of buying into things that are being promoted by that type of organization, Mann said.

Now more than ever, public health officials are having to fact check false information.

People have sent us questions about things theyve heard on the internet, and theyre very sincere in wondering what theyre hearing is accurate, Mann said.

But with so much information--much of it changing because of how new COVID-19 is--it's hard for people to weed through the news.

Mann suggests reading and watching media with a critical eye, like Layson.

You research those (claims), you dont just take it on their account. You go find the scholarly articles that theyre saying this research is based on, Layson said.

Here are some tips to be more critical in your news consumption:

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COVID-19 fake news: how to spot it and what locals are doing to stop it -

Covid-19: Misinformation, fake news on coronavirus is proving to be contagious – Hindustan Times

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Covid-19: Misinformation, fake news on coronavirus is proving to be contagious - Hindustan Times

Netflix’s Fake-News Thriller ‘The Hater’ Is Way Too Real – WIRED

The Polish crime thriller The Hater, which just hit Netflix, is simultaneously cartoonish and way too real. It follows disgraced ex-law student Tomasz, a hollow-eyed creep who looks like a cross between Michael Cera and a Bond villain, as he attempts to win over a childhood crush by becoming a shady digital consultant tasked with destroying the progressive political candidate her family supports. He excels at deception and misdirection. After creating chaos in the Polish fitness influencer community by manufacturing a scandal involving turmeric, Tomasz slides into a digital underworld full of Islamophobic white supremacists. He becomes their phantom puppet master by way of fake social media posts and coded conversations inside of a videogame with a prospectless young white man who lives unhappily with his grandmother and is obsessed withyes, you guessed itguns. In summary, it reads like an extra-aware after-school special.

The movies history is a bit of a spoiler: Its release had to be delayed because the plot cuts uncomfortably close to a real life tragedy. At a Christmas charity event last year, Gdansks liberal mayor Pawel Adamowicz was assassinated onstage. In The Hater, Tomaszs manipulations also culminate in a bloody assassination of a fictional left-leaning Polish politician named Pawel.

The films director, Jan Komasa, has told stories about online lives lived darkly before. While Netflix makes no mention of it whatsoever, The Hater is actually a sequel to Komasas 2011 movie, The Suicide Room, which is about a teenager whose life becomes a catastrophe after a video of him kissing another boy on a dare gets circulated online. You dont need to watch The Suicide Room to understand The Hater. Their plots do not overlap. Its more of a spiritual successor, a similar fable about society's technological anxieties, updated for a new decade. The jury at the Tribeca Film Festival certainly found its caricature of digital disinformation campaigns compellingThe Hater was among its winners.

At times, The Hater feels tiring and overstuffed. It grinds through an awful lot of plot as Tomasz evolves from amoral-but-puppyish plagiarizing law student to Facebook troll-for-hire to orchestrator of assassination. Some of the chatter about social media seems a little stilted and oversimplified (though that could be the subtitles). Tomaszs disinformation campaigns themselves are reduced to a cinema-friendly syrup, relying on rapid montagesyellow hands, online vitriol, a sobbing guru, gun ranges, white supremacists marching in the streetto illustrate his work. Then theres Tomasz himself, walking a fine line between the outer reaches of professionally sanctioned, acceptable social behavior and something far more bleak. After watching him do things like bug his crushs home and then share a flirty dance with her at a silent disco, youre constantly on edge for signs that The Hater might be too sympathetic to its gray little monster.

Ultimately, the movie knows that Tomasz is bad and his fate is grim, but hes still the antihero. While the details of what happens around him and what hes able to achieve feel exaggerated, his emotional arc does feel plausible, and thats what resonates with the viewer. Given that Netflix quietly released the movie on a Wednesday, it isn't expecting Tomasz to become an edgelord counterculture icon in the vein of Joaquin Phoenixs (and even Heath Ledgers) Joker. Or maybe it's actually that theyre nervous he will. Tomasz is certainly a representative of their dark-and-wild type, toned down just slightly for The Haters more realistic setting. He confines his impudent ghoulishness to cubicles and MMORPGs rather than painting it on his face. Plus, he wears long coats, and for some reason the red-pilled find that irresistible.

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Netflix's Fake-News Thriller 'The Hater' Is Way Too Real - WIRED

We must teach students to navigate through misinformation, fake news: VP – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In an inspiring address to 200 Times Scholars handpicked from among over 3 lakh students who enrolled for the programme, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said students should set high goals in the careers they choose and follow through with self-discipline, hard work and perseverance.

Delivering a virtual address at an event to felicitate winners of the 2019 Times Scholars programme, a Times of India initiative that seeks to inculcate the reading habit among the young, Naidu said students must not look at education merely as a means to get a job, but as a path to get enlightened and to become good human beings.

I am happy to know that at the heart of the programme is an endeavour to promote reading, especially reading of newspapers among students. I have always believed that a well-read student is definitely better prepared to overcome challenges in life and seize every opportunity that comes his or her way, he said.

Naidu also emphasised the need to teach children to be intelligent and discerning readers. Circumstances also demand that we teach them to navigate through all the misinformation and fake news that infest the media landscape, especially the new media environment today. Like the legendary bird, the hamsa, our children must be able to assimilate and absorb the truth and discard the lies, the VP said.

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We must teach students to navigate through misinformation, fake news: VP - Times of India

Shipments of Belarusian ammunition to USA dismissed as fake news – Belarus News (BelTA)

MINSK, 30 July (BelTA) Belarus has not shipped ammunition to the USA, BelTA learned from the website of the State Authority for Military Industry of Belarus.

The source noted: An attempt to make a scandal by claiming Belarus ships arms to the USA has turned out to be yet another case of fake news. Blatant lies, which used to be the mark of tabloids, are now copied by respected Internet mass media.

On 27 July the website of the Russian-speaking Internet mass media Eurasia Daily (EADaily) published an article claiming that Belarus had started exporting ammunition to the USA. The article refers to a report of the Export Controls Directorate of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and claims that in January-March 2020 Belarus shipped 1.42 million worth of ammunition to the USA in transit via Romania.

As the government agency in charge of developing and implementing the main directions of the government policy on military technology cooperation with foreign countries and on export control the State Authority for Military Industry of Belarus would like to officially state that the Republic of Belarus has not shipped any ammunition to the USA in 2020, including ammunition for hunting weapons and sport weapons, BelTA learned from the website of the State Authority for Military Industry of Belarus.

The agency noted that even if such shipments had been arranged, they would not have contradicted bans and prohibitions on arms trade, which are introduced by the UN Security Council and which Belarus unfailingly observes. As far as we know, the UN Security Council has not introduced any sanctions against European Union member states and the USA, the State Authority for Military Industry of Belarus noted.

The Belarusian side supplies arms and military technology in strict compliance with Belarusian laws and international commitments. A reliable export control system has been created in Belarus. It allows effectively preventing any attempts at illegal shipments of weapons and military technologies, including light arms and small arms.

Belarus supplies military products only to legal governments provided they present internationally recognized end user certificates. We would like to note that in Belarus even shipments of civilian products intended for law enforcement agencies of another country have to be authorized by the interagency commission on military and technical cooperation and export control under the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus, the source pointed out. This is why the information leak by Eurasia Daily resembles an attempt to find a black cat in a dark room when there is no cat there.

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Shipments of Belarusian ammunition to USA dismissed as fake news - Belarus News (BelTA)

Dont bank on Britains foppish, lazy elites to save us from deep fakery – The Guardian

Technological advance is updating the motto of the 12th-century Assassins. Whereas the Ismaili sect said: Nothing is true, everything is permitted, the malicious, embittered, mentally disturbed and pornographically minded will soon make every truth a lie and every lie true.

We did not reach fake news saturation with the Brexit referendum and the Trump presidential campaign. We have barely tipped our toe in the dark waters. Artificial intelligence will allow smartphone users to generate synthetic voices and images that reach a Hollywood level of special effects at next to no cost and with minimum effort. If your enemies have video of you, they can make you appear in a porn scene so authentic only you will know its false. If they have a recording of your voice, they can have you mouthing racist slogans that could get you fired. Some are already doing it. Deep fake tools, such as FakeApp, are the beginning of an explosion in online lying that makes fake news indistinguishable from real.

Because we trust video as the most reliable part of our shared reality, we are likely to believe fakes initially or if it suits us and will go on believing until trust in a shared reality finally shatters. Jordan Peterson may not be a thinker all readers reach for, but when he launched a legal action in 2019 against a website that allowed users to generate believable audio of me saying absolutely anything they want me to say, he gave a warning thats worth remembering. How are we going to trust anything electronically mediated in the very near future? What do we do when anyone can imitate anyone else, for any reason that suits them?

Many women can explain the future because they have already confronted deep fakery in their private lives

To give you a bearing on where we are heading, watch the wriggles of the US right as it manoeuvres to downplay the death of George Floyd. At the end of June, one Winnie Heartstrong, a Republican candidate in Missouri, produced a dossier alleging that the video of his killing was a deep fake made up of composites and face swaps. Although Twitter and Facebook, the truths willing executioners, have found an audience for fantasies that George Floyd is not dead or that George Soros is behind the Black Lives Matter protests , its fair to say that even they could not make Heartstrongs heartless conspiracism take off.

Nina Schick invites you to imagine the world in five years time. By then, we will be so used to synthetically generated propaganda that millions will find any claim plausible and it will seem no more than sensible scepticism to refuse to acknowledge the real.

Schicks Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse is a short, sharp book that hits you like a punch in the stomach. She witnessed first hand the ability of Vladimir Putins Russia to manufacture reality during its invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and understands the consequences of the triumph of the Putin worldview. Unlike their 20th-century predecessors, dictatorial forces do not try to fool their peoples that they are creating a paradise on Earth the workers state, the 1,000-year Reich. Putinism in its broadest sense convinces the people that it doesnt matter if strongmen lie because everything is a lie, the system is rigged, democracy is a sham and all the news you hear that makes you doubt is a fraud. We may be liars, they concede, but so is everyone else and at least we lie for you. They offer hell on Earth instead of heaven on Earth and insist that only fools believe that the Earth can be made better.

Deep fake technology gives not only Russia but China, which is moving into information warfare as it tries to cover up its culpability for Covid-19, their most powerful tools yet. Advertisers will turn to it. So will criminals as they impersonate CEOs and persuade companies to hand over fortunes.

Many women can explain the future because they have already confronted deep fakery in their private lives. Even Hollywood stars have found they lack the resources to stop the distribution of synthetically generated pornographic films depicting them. Its a useless pursuit sighed Scarlett Johansson after her lawyers had tried and failed to protect her image. She went on to warn that any woman could become a target of amateur pornographers as the web became a vast wormhole of darkness.

The foppish laziness and abject cowardice of the British elite exceeds anything on offer in Washington

Traditional defences of freedom of speech that I have long subscribed to are inadequate. You can say that war, colonialism, fascism and communism happened without the help of the web and we should calm down. Unfortunately, the speed of technological change is an argument against complacency. There were almost four centuries between the invention of the printing press in Europe and the development of photography in the 1830s and societies could adjust. There are 29 years between the oldest web page going up in 1991 and 4.57 billion people being online in 2020.

The need for government to adopt radical policies is obvious. But there is the urgent question of whether we can trust government and not only in dictatorships, where the state is the major source of fake news. Schick, like so many writers, concentrates on Trumps America and I cant find it in myself to blame them for being drawn to that moronic extravaganza. Yet I think we should be more frightened of the British elite. Its foppish laziness and abject cowardice exceeds anything on offer in Washington. A country whose security services were too frightened to investigate Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, whose civil service is stuffed with political appointees and whose TV regulators tear up their own impartiality rules to allow Putins propaganda station a licence, cannot protect the individual or society from the coming age of deep fakery.

As phoneys themselves, they will pretend to, of course. But theyll be faking it.

Nick Cohen is an Observer columnist

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Dont bank on Britains foppish, lazy elites to save us from deep fakery - The Guardian

Yes, Fake News Is a Problem. But Theres a Real News Problem, Too. – The New York Times

What do you call it when a hedge fund buys a local newspaper and squeezes it for revenue, laying off editors and reporters and selling off the papers downtown headquarters for conversion into luxury condos or a boutique hotel?

The devastation has become common enough that some observers have resorted to shorthand for what collectively amounts to an extinction-level event. One former editor calls it a harvesting strategy; Margaret Sullivan, in her new book, Ghosting the News, calls it strip-mining. Like the climate emergency that Sullivan mentions by way of comparison, the decimation of local news yields two phenomena that happen to feed off each other: The far-reaching effects are cataclysmic, and its hard to convince a significant number of people that they ought to care.

Disinformation and fake news bring to mind scheming operatives, Russian troll farms and noisy propaganda; stories about them are titillating enough to garner plenty of attention. But what Sullivan writes about is a real-news problem the shuttering of more than 2,000 American newspapers since 2004, and the creation of news deserts, or entire counties with no local news outlets at all.

She begins her book with the example of a 2019 story from The Buffalo News about a suburban police chief who received an unexplained $100,000 payout when he abruptly retired. The article didnt win any awards or even appear on the front page, Sullivan writes. It merely was the kind of day-in-and-day-out local reporting that makes secretive town officials unhappy.

Merely and day-in-and-day-out; Sullivan also describes the article as routine-enough fare. Ghosting the News is a brisk and pointed tribute to painstaking, ordinary and valuable work. As the media columnist for The Washington Post and the former public editor for The New York Times, Sullivan has spent most of the past decade writing for a national audience, but for 32 years before that she worked at The Buffalo News, starting as a summer intern and eventually becoming the newspapers editor.

Sullivan recalls the flush days when the paper boasted a newsroom fully staffed by journalists who could combine their calling with a career. Then came the internet, which siphoned off attention and revenue; after that, the deluge of the 2008 financial crisis, which swept away the vestiges of print advertising. Sullivan cut the payroll of the paper by offering buyouts. She got rid of the full-time art critic and eliminated the Sunday magazine a particularly wrenching decision because my then-husband was the magazines editor.

The Buffalo News was owned by Warren Buffetts Berkshire Hathaway until the beginning of this year, when Buffett declared it was time for him to leave the newspaper industry and sold his portfolio of 31 dailies and 49 weeklies. Buffett said he believes in the importance of journalism, but he doesnt consider himself a philanthropist. He got into the business because it made money, with fat profit margins in the good years reaching 30 percent. When he bought The Buffalo News in 1977, he decided that the city could sustain only one daily, and he knocked out the competition until his was the last paper standing. A monopoly newspaper was like an unregulated toll bridge: With a loyal and captive market, he could raise rates whenever he wanted.

Advertisers may have been peddling baubles or junk food, but their cash funded serious journalism the kind that could afford to send a reporter to, say, every municipal board meeting. People knew that, the former editor of the once mighty Youngstown Vindicator told Sullivan, and they behaved. This watchdog function had tangible benefits for subscribers and nonsubscribers alike. When local reporting waned, Sullivan writes, municipal borrowing costs went up. Local news outlets provide the due diligence that bondholders often count on. Without the specter of a public shaming, corruption is freer to flourish.

Sullivan surveys the alternative models that have sprung up in response to journalisms ecosystem collapse. Theres the nonprofit reporting outfit ProPublica, and a news brigade of volunteer journalists in Michigan. Sullivans own employer was acquired by Jeff Bezos in 2013 for $250 million. Jeff Bezos has not attempted to influence coverage at The Washington Post, she writes, though billionaire owners arent always so hands-off. The casino magnate Sheldon Adelson bought the well-respected Review-Journal in Las Vegas, which was known for its investigative pieces on the casino industry, and leaned on its staff to produce puff pieces about his properties instead. Adelson turned the watchdog into a lap dog.

The situation is so dire, Sullivan says, that she entertains what was once unthinkable the possibility of government-subsidized journalistic outlets. She calls the argument for government help not unreasonable, even if she hasnt been entirely convinced yet. Her attempts to strike a hopeful note can sound unsatisfying because of how problematic all the solutions are. Nonprofit start-ups have the benefit of being nimbler, Sullivan says, though what does nimbler often mean in practice? A non-unionized newsroom staffed by 24-year-olds who can be paid junior-level salaries and, unlike veteran journalists three decades older, wouldnt necessarily be ruined by a layoff?

Sullivan is left to highlight the essential work that local reporters do, emphasizing how The Palm Beach Post and The Miami Herald continued to pursue the story of Jeffrey Epsteins sex trafficking long after others had decided that the abuse scandal had gone stale. More recently, local journalists recorded the influx of unidentified federal troops into Portland, Ore., where they were seizing and detaining people without telling them why or what was happening to them; the example was too late to be included in Sullivans book, and it only goes to show how critical and relentless the need is for reporters on the ground.

Ghosting the News concludes with a soaring quote from the Italian theorist Antonio Gramsci about pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will, but the local reporter in Sullivan follows it up with a more immediate analogy: Even if no one seems to be coming to the rescue while your house is on fire, you still have to get out your garden hose and bucket, and keep acting as if the fire trucks are on the way.

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Yes, Fake News Is a Problem. But Theres a Real News Problem, Too. - The New York Times

A lot of people said its a fake issue: Trump confirms he didnt raise Russian bounties with Putin – POLITICO

The president did not identify which officials from former President George W. Bushs administration had spoken dismissively of the alleged Russian bounties, but he told reporters outside the White House on Wednesday that former Secretary of State Colin Powell says its not true.

Powell criticized the medias initial reaction to the bounty story earlier this month, telling MSNBC that our military commanders on the ground did not think that it was as serious a problem as the newspapers were reporting and television was reporting.

News of the bounties came to light last month after The New York Times first reported that U.S. intelligence officials concluded the Kremlins military intelligence unit offered to pay Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan to kill American troops and other coalition forces there.

Top administration officials have been inconsistent in their explanations of the extent to which Trump was briefed on the bounties, but POLITICO reported earlier this month that the White House told congressional lawmakers the relevant intelligence was included in the presidents daily written brief in late February.

Trump claimed Tuesday that the bounty intelligence never reached my desk because intelligence community officials didnt think it was real, adding: If it reached my desk, I would have done something about it.

The president also professed, however, that he reads his daily brief, contradicting the defenses of White House allies who claimed Trump only declined to take more forceful action against Russia because he does not regularly review the written intelligence document.

I read a lot. You know, I read a lot, Trump said. They like to say I dont read. I read a lot. I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anybody that youve interviewed in a long time. I read a lot.

Trump is known to prefer receiving verbal briefings, and his public schedule reveals a sporadic record of in-person sessions with intelligence officials unlike the agendas of past presidents who were briefed daily and usually first thing in the morning.

Usually its once a day, or at least two or three times a week, Trump said of his briefing schedule.

Trumps remarks Tuesday represented the White Houses first public confirmation that he did not discuss the bounties when he spoke with Putin last Thursday.

According to a White House readout of the call, the two leaders talked about efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic while continuing to reopen global economies, as well as critical bilateral and global issues.

Trump also reiterated his hope of avoiding an expensive three-way arms race between China, Russia, and the United States and looked forward to progress on upcoming arms control negotiations in Vienna, the White House said.

On Tuesday, Trump said he and Putin had a call talking about nuclear proliferation, which is a very big subject where they would like to do something, and so would I. We discussed numerous things.

But as for the alleged Russian bounties, Trump said: I have never discussed it with him, no. I would. I have no problem with it.

Both White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and the president have refused to comment in recent days on whether the bounties came up in the latest conversation between Trump and Putin.

At a White House briefing last Friday, McEnany told reporters she was not on the call and that the bounty intelligence is unverified still to this day, claiming there are dissenting opinions within the intel community.

We dont talk about what we discuss, but we had plenty of discussion, and I think it was very productive, Trump said Monday of his conversation with Putin, during a visit to a vaccine production plant in North Carolina.

Trump also was asked Tuesday about U.S. intelligence that Russia had been supplying weapons to the Taliban, and he justified the alleged Kremlin arms program by pointing to U.S. support for Afghan fighters during the Soviet Unions war there in the 1980s.

Well, we supplied weapons when they were fighting Russia, too. You know, when they were fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Trump said.

Trump suggested he had not been formally briefed on intelligence suggesting that Russia was arming the Taliban intelligence endorsed by Trumps own former commander of U.S. and NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan, retired Army Gen. John W. Nicholson.

Im just saying, we did that, too, Trump said. I dont know. I didnt ask Nicholson about that. He was there for a long time. Didnt have great success because, you know, he was there before me. And then ultimately, I made a change.

Trump said he had heard Russia was arming Taliban fighters, but added: Again, its never reached my desk.

The presidents likening of recent Russian activity in Afghanistan to decades-old U.S. foreign policy is reminiscent of other statements Trump has issued in apparent defense of Putins authoritarian regime.

When he was asked in 2015 about the high-profile murders of several journalists who had been critical of the Russian leader, Trump memorably told MSNBC: Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also.

And after Bill OReilly, then of Fox News, characterized Putin as a killer in an interview with the president in 2017, Trump responded: You got a lot of killers. What, you think our countrys so innocent?

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A lot of people said its a fake issue: Trump confirms he didnt raise Russian bounties with Putin - POLITICO

Our View: Fake news leaves a mess in its wake – The Times

We live in an era where the phrase "fake news" is thrown around every time someone doesnt like, or trust, the facts in an article. But lets take a minute and talk about what fake news is and isnt.

Facts matter.

Theyre the basis of what journalists do every day. Find out the facts, report them and inform readers. Its a basic tenant of journalism.

We live in an era where the phrase "fake news" is thrown around every time someone doesnt like, or trust, the facts in an article.

Remember, we do read the comments on The Times Facebook page.

But lets take a minute and talk about what fake news is and isnt.

Fake news isnt a story that doesnt agree with your opinion or politics.

It isnt an opinion column that talks about politics that differ from yours.

In fact, if a story aligns perfectly with your political ideology, you might want to fact check it for accuracy.

Fake news happens when a writer we cringe at calling these bloggers and fabricators reporters uses a sensational headline that doesnt reflect any truth. When there are made up facts in a story, or opinions that are stated as fact. When there are allegations made with absolutely no sourcing.

One of the most important basic parts of a news article is the source its incumbent on reporters to tell readers where theyre getting this information from. Its about transparency, and its one of the biggest ways we as journalists can prove you can trust us.

We know that at this point in the editorial, at least a handful of you are rolling your eyes.

We make mistakes, thats true. Our reporters and editors arent perfect. But not a single person on The Times staff sets out to deliberately mislead readers. And thats what fake news does.

In the past few weeks, our reporters have had to spend more time than usual chasing fake news stories to set the record straight. There was the wildly inaccurate TV news story claiming that the commissioners were shutting down all bars and restaurants in the county. What actually happened was state officials talked with leaders in four suburban counties, including Beaver, about putting some form of restrictions on dining and gathering. Instead, they opted to watch COVID case data for another week before putting a more relaxed plan in place statewide.

Then, there were the social media posts from legislators across the region about people receiving positive COVID test results when they never even were tested. One senator chimed in with a story about how some nurses had submitted tests swabbed on fruit and got a positive.

Then, this week, there was the news blog that posted unsubstantiated headlines claiming Beaver County, among others, would be moved back to "red."

We asked state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, who shared some of those stories on his various social media accounts, how he vets what he shares to his constituents. His answer didnt give us a lot of confidence. Bernstine told our reporter that he shares things he thinks could impact his constituents and then updates the Facebook post after he finds out more information.

But theres a problem with that method, one that everyone should keep in mind when using social media.

By sharing rumors, conspiracy theories and other unverified information, youre pushing all the toothpaste out of the tube. And no matter what you do, you cant put it back in.

When you have 30,000 followers, no amount of edits to your post will change those who saw or shared the original information. And thats a problem.

Just remember facts matter. When youre sharing that unbelievable news story from that site youve never heard of before, think twice about it.

After all, you dont want toothpaste all over your timeline.

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Our View: Fake news leaves a mess in its wake - The Times

People on social media more inclined to believe Coronavirus fake news: Study – India TV News

Image Source : PIXABAY

COVID-19 fake news has spreading like the virus itself

People who get their news from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are more likely to have misperceptions about COVID-19 pandemic, warn researchers. The study, published in the journal Misinformation Review, revealed that those that consume more traditional news media have fewer misperceptions and are more likely to follow public health recommendations like social distancing.

"Platforms like Twitter and Facebook are increasingly becoming the primary sources of news and misinformation for Canadians and people around the world," said study co-author Aengus Bridgman from the McGill University in Canada.

In the context of a crisis like COVID-19, however, there is good reason to be concerned about the role that the consumption of social media is playing in boosting misperceptions," Bridgman added. For the findings, the research team looked at the behavioural effects of exposure to misinformation by combining social media analysis, news analysis, and survey research.

They combed through millions of tweets, thousands of news articles, and the results of a nationally representative survey of Canadians to answer three questions. Those three questions were: How prevalent is COVID-19 misinformation on social media and in traditional news media? Does it contribute to misperceptions about COVID-19? And does it affect behaviour? Results showed that, compared to traditional news media, false or inaccurate information about COVID-19 is circulated more on social media platforms like Twitter.

The researchers point to a big difference in the behaviours and attitudes of people who get their news from social media versus news media - even after taking into account demographics as well as factors like scientific literacy and socio-economic differences. Canadians who regularly consume social media are less likely to observe social distancing and to perceive Covid-19 as a threat, while the opposite is true for people that get their information from news media.

"There is growing evidence that misinformation circulating on social media poses public health risks. This makes it even more important for policymakers and social media platforms to flatten the curve of misinformation," said study co-author Taylor Owen.

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People on social media more inclined to believe Coronavirus fake news: Study - India TV News

Fake news and COVID-19, a neverending saga – The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

Fakenews witnessed an alltime high during the pandemic. A survey done by Social Media Matters (social media ninjas working for social change), along with the Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics (a think tank initiative dedicated for public policy research and analysis) has revealed that 69 per cent of people received fake news during the lockdown.

The major source of fake news was WhatsApp with 88.4 per cent respondents reporting it, followed by Facebook (reported by 42.5 per cent) and Instagram (reported by 21.96 per cent). The fake news included the details of repatriation flights, preventive measures, and treatment for COVID-19, information regarding containment zones or impending lockdowns in various areas, etc. Social Media Matters Founder Amitabh Kumar says that on witnessing an increase in fake news regarding COVID-19, they decided to do the survey.

Questionnaires in Hindi and English were filled out by 3,752 respondents from across India. While the majority of participants are between 18 to 25 years old (2,766 respondents), it was closely followed by the age group of 25 to 35 with 565 respondents. The survey was supported by Sarvahitey and Youth Online Learning Opportunities. Dr Manish Tiwari, Senior Fellow, IGPP, said, Social media is becoming the new carrier of infodemics in these times of pandemic.

From the figures, it is clear that young people are being targeted to further spread the misinformation and fake news as they are prime users of social media platforms. According to the survey, 69 per cent respondents reported receiving fake news regarding COVID-19 during the lockdown, and 84 per cent stated that they dont trust such news. Since the news is being spread in huge numbers, people have also become vigilant. Seventy percent of the respondents reported cross checking and verifying news which seemed fake.

The major sources of fact checking were Google Search (48.8 per cent) and Government sources (36.6 per cent). A total of 76 per cent people said that they informed others about the fake news, once recognised. While 89 per cent were aware that the dissemination of fake news is a crime as per the law, only 30 per cent reported such news because 68 per cent didnt know the online mechanism to report it. About 95 per cent feel that there is a need to raise more awareness on the reporting mechanisms, informs Kumar, adding, This information will help the government and tech platforms create better policies and tools to curb this infodemic of misinformation. But a lot of work still needs to be done by social media platforms to achieve this. We need to take up a systematic approach to ensure we build capacities of fact seeking.

Survey highlights

According to the survey, 69 per cent respondents reported receiving fake news regarding COVID-19 during the lockdown, and 84 per cent stated that they dont trust such news. Since the news is being spread in huge numbers, people have also become vigilant. Seventy percent of the respondents reported cross checking and verifying news which seemed fake. The major sources of fact checking were Google Search (48.8 per cent) and Government sources (36.6 per cent). A total of 76 per cent people said that they informed others about the fake news, once recognised.

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Fake news and COVID-19, a neverending saga - The New Indian Express

The news item "SPECIAL REPORT: Janez Jana’s Newest Investment Scared the Government and Big Banks" is an online scam –

The news report, which was published on a fraudulent website and is making the rounds on social media, is an online scam. There are statements on the website that were not made or written by Prime Minister Janez Jana and were falsely attributed to him, moreover, the photos were published without authorisation from the authors.

The fraudulent website with the fake news. We ask internet users to be cautious and not to fall prey to the above-mentioned online scam. | Author Ukom

As the website in question is based on fake news and uses fake statements of the Prime Minister and his photos to redirect users to other websites offering services for cryptocurrency trading, we want to alert users not to be fooled by such online scams.

Regarding the above-mentioned website, the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia submitted a request to the Slovenian National Cyber Security Incident Response Centre SI-CERT to remove the post. SI-CERT asked the service provider hosting the website to remove or block access to the website, with the decision regarding the removal of the website being in the hands of the hosting service provider.

We also notified the response centre for addressing incidents concerning the information systems of the state administration and its bodies SIGOV-CERT about the online scam, while we filed a charge against an unidentified offender due to misuse of personal information.

The Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia would like to take this opportunity to specifically ask internet users not to fall prey to this online scam.


The news item "SPECIAL REPORT: Janez Jana's Newest Investment Scared the Government and Big Banks" is an online scam -

Propaganda, fake news and disinformation on the internet could destroy us Susan Dalgety – The Scotsman

NewsOpinionColumnistsThe internet is a wonder of the modern world, but it is being used to spread dangerous conspiracy theories and undermine democracy, writes Susan Dalgety

Friday, 24th July 2020, 4:45 pm

Since lockdown, my life has moved online. My ancient iPhone 6, second-hand when I bought it, is by my side 24 hours a day. (Top tip: always buy refurbished tech, works just as well as the new models and costs far less).

I fall asleep to the sounds of American liberal news channel MSNBC and wake in the middle of the night to listen to Rachel Maddow, patron saint of progressives everywhere. I scroll through Twitter before I get up. I read my newspapers online while eating breakfast, and yes, I subscribe to the Scotsman you should too. What work I do, now that my Malawi projects are on hold because of the pandemic, I carry out online. Zoom meetings, Facetime chats, hours of endless Google searches, some of them useful.

I shop for everything on my phone, from my lockdown workwear leggings to supplies for our new coronavirus tradition, Saturday cocktails. Todays is an Espresso Martini. I stay in touch with friends and family, close by and across the world. It is as easy to have a weekend catch-up with Martha in New Yorks East Village as it is to DM my sister in Dumfries.

And throughout the day I get updates from Malawi about the relentless rise of the virus there. Malawi, with one of the smallest economies in the world, also has most expensive data, at 21.50 for 1GB of data. The cheapest bundle here costs, literally, pennies. But despite the cost, around 40 per cent of the 18 million population has a mobile phone.

Digital life now our real life

Even my 80-something mother, who resisted the lure of the internet until recently, has her smartphone and iPad sitting by her landline. (Top tip: always buy your mother a new piece of tech for a landmark birthday, refurbished wont cut it on special occasions).

Our four grandchildren are, of course, digital natives, born into a world where life happens on YouTube and WhatsApp is their playground.

The advent of lockdown saw schools retreat on to Microsoft Teams. Across Scotland teachers dropped dense PowerPoint decks once a week and parents struggled to coach their kids through them, before giving up and letting little Jack or Olivia watch Netflix.

Our digital life is now our real life. What started as a grand experiment in August 1991, when Tim Berners-Lee loaded the first ever website onto the new-fangled internet, is now as essential to humanity as water and sanitation.

In 2016, a report from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations General Assembly even declared access to the internet a basic human right.

The internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the conduct of the powerful, access to information, and for facilitating active citizen participation in building democratic societies, the UN said.

It is also one of the most powerful instruments for interfering in democracies, as a report published by Westminsters Intelligence and Security Committee earlier this week shows.

The report said the UK was clearly a target for disinformation campaigns around its elections, and that there was credible open source commentary suggesting influence campaigns from the Russians during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.

In other words, Putin and his online army may well have flooded Facebook and other social media platforms with fake news to encourage the break-up of the UK. Just as they did in the 2016 presidential elections, which led to the inauguration of Donald J Trump as leader of the free world.

And just as they most likely did during the Brexit campaign. Only it seems the Conservative government couldnt be bothered to investigate that breach of democracy. For fear of what they might expose perhaps?

Fans of Cold War spy novels will not be surprised that Putins Russia interferes in American and British elections. After all, psy ops (psychological warfare) was the main weapon used by the USA and Soviet Russia in their 30-year battle for supremacy.

Vaccine conspiracy theories

America and Nato may have won that war, but Putin is making great advances in this new battlefield.

America is now pitied across the world as the coronavirus burns its way through 50 states, while its President fiddles (allegedly) his tax returns. Britain leaving the EU will damage our economy and weaken our global influence, and Scotland leaving the UK would further diminish Britains standing.

It is not just Alex Salmond, Russia Today TV presenter and former First Minister, who would cheer the break-up of the UK. Vladimir Putin would also raise a glass of ice-cold vodka to toast the new world order.

The speed and global reach of the internet has also fuelled the dystopian debate that insists humans born male can become female, simply by wishing they had a cervix.

It has allowed a cancel culture which sees women, even those as famous as JK Rowling, ostracised for daring to question this new gender orthodoxy. And social media is the seed bed for nonsensical conspiracy theories about vaccines some planted, surprise, surprise, by Putins digital troops.

A third may not use Covid vaccine

Microsoft founder and global philanthropist, Bill Gates, had to go on the record this week to debunk a theory that he is supporting the development of a coronavirus vaccine because he wants to use it to implant tracking devices in the worlds population. You may well laugh, but a recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that 28 per cent of US adults believe this nonsense, and here in the UK, a third of people say they are unsure or definitely would not use a coronavirus vaccine.

And it is largely people who prefer social media to TV news who hold such extreme views.

I am no epidemiologist though I do have a PhD in Googling but even I understand that if not enough people take up the vaccine once its found, we will not achieve herd immunity. Life will not get back to normal.

We need to get the truth out there, Bill Gates said during his interview on CBS News on Wednesday.

And the truth is that the internet is one of the worlds greatest ever inventions, up there with the wheel and vaccines.

Social media is one of the wonders of the world, allowing a child in central Malawi to connect instantly with their friend in Orkney. But the network that has transformed the world into a global village also has the potential to destroy us. Now let me check Twitter to see what Trump has been up to today.

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Propaganda, fake news and disinformation on the internet could destroy us Susan Dalgety - The Scotsman

UK trade department to tackle ‘fake news’ with new rebuttal role – The Guardian

Liz Trusss Department of International Trade is to tackle what it views as fake news about the UKs post Brexit trade policy with its own rapid rebuttal expert.

The DIT has just advertised a new position of chief media officer, trade policy and rebuttal to handle the press and denounce stories it believes are false or contain false information.

The term fake news was given international currency by Donald Trump to denounce mainstream media outlets who challenged the US president on his pronouncements.

The job advert confirms the phrase is now being adopted by government in the UK to combat the fast-moving and international commentary on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

With less than six months to go before the UK leaves the EUs single market and customs union, the department is also casting for a new director general for trade relations and implementation to lead 800 staff, act as ambassador for UK trade policy at the highest levels and build a pipeline of candidates for future free trade agreements.

According to the advert, the DITs new chief media officer will be asked to advise ministers on reactive media handling and rebuttal, as well as managing rapid rebuttal processes and combatting fake news on social media as well as brief and handle lobby journalists on high-profile reactive and proactive stories, and develop a programme of media briefings to shape stories.

Responsibilities will also include promoting our four priority trade deals, which sources say are the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Japan recently gave the UK until the end of July to complete a continuity deal which would kick in temporarily after the UK loses access to the EU deals in January.

The vacancy comes as Boris Johnsons chief adviser Dominic Cummings seeks to shake up media relations in Whitehall.

Two weeks ago Downing Street advertised for a 135,000-a-year data expert to set up a skunkworks in No 10, a reference to a pseudo start-up in the vein of those pioneered by aircraft maker Lockheed Martin to fire up innovative projects unencumbered by bureaucracy.

A DIT spokesperson said: Seeking free trade agreements is a key priority for this country.

The government is drawing on the skills of the brightest and best talent to achieve departmental goals and support in securing future trade deals.

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UK trade department to tackle 'fake news' with new rebuttal role - The Guardian

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at fake news that was shared on social media this week – WBTW

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:

CLAIM: There is no coin shortage. Coins get recirculated, they dont just disappear. The government is trying to usher in a cashless society.

THE FACTS: Not so, says The Federal Reserve, which manages the countrys coin inventory. Coins arent being circulated because businesses are closed and sales are down during the pandemic. And the government isnt pushing the U.S. into a cashless society, either. The U.S. Mint is actively producing more coins to alleviate the short supply.

Despite that, posts circulating widely on Facebook are suggesting that the shortage of coins in the U.S. is a hoax because it doesnt make sense for the currency to have disappeared. The posts suggest a larger conspiracy is at play to usher us all into a cashless era.

The Federal Reserve has explained that the supply chain is severely disrupted by the pandemic. With establishments like retail shops, bank branches, transit authorities and laundromats closed, the typical places where coin enters our society have slowed or even stopped the normal circulation of coin, the Federal Reserve said in a June statement. The Federal Reserve has asked banks to only order the coins they need and to make depositing coins easy for customers. It also put together a task force of retail, bank and armored cash carrier leaders to brainstorm ways to normalize coin circulation again.

The U.S. Mint, meanwhile, is moving at full speed to mint more coins, while minimizing its employees risk to COVID-19 exposure, the agencys spokesman Michael White told The Associated Press in an email. The Mint produced nearly 1.6 billion coins last month, White said, and is on track to average about 1.65 billion per month for the rest of the year. Thats up from an average of 1 billion coins per month last year, he added.

CLAIM: Former President Barack Obama signed the law authorizing federal agents to snatch protesters off the streets in Portland, Oregon.

THE FACTS: The White House says 40 U.S Code 1315, under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, gives the Trump administration the authority to send armed federal agents to confront protesters in Portland. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush, not Obama.

A false claim circulating on social media says people criticizing President Donald Trump for sending federal agents into Portland to clear protesters are ignoring the fact that Obama signed the law that allows for that to happen. When everyone just blames Trump but forgets who actually signed the law authorizing federal agents to snatch protestors off the streets in Portland, says an erroneous Facebook post shared more than 1,300 times with a photo of Obama smiling.

In early July, Trump sent federal agents to Portland to halt protests, arguing that it was necessary to protect federal buildings from protesters. State and local authorities oppose federal intervention and a lawsuit has been filed to stop the action. Trump is relying on the Department of Homeland Security in unprecedented ways as he tries to bolster his law and order credentials by making a heavy-handed show of force in cities around the nation in the lead-up to the November elections, the AP has reported.

According to Stephen Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas School of Law, social media posts are falsely referencing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 signed by Obama, saying that law authorizes the Trump Administration to deploy federal agents.

Its simply preposterous, Vladeck said. That statute includes a controversial set of provisions concerning military detention, but it has absolutely nothing to do with whats happening in Portland.

The law, often referred to as NDAA, included detention provisions that could be interpreted to authorize indefinite military detention without charge or trial. When questioned about the legality of sending agents with tactical gear to confront protesters against the will of local officials in those cities, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany cited Section 1315 during Tuesdays press briefing. McEnany claimed that Section 1315 gives DHS the ability to deputize officers in any department or agency, like ICE, Customs and Border Patrol, and Secret Service to protect property owned by the federal government. And when a federal courthouse is being lit on fire, commercial fireworks being shot at it, being shot at the officers, I think that that falls pretty well within the limits of 40 U.S. Code 1315, she added.

CLAIM: A video from a 1985 hearing exposes Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for using the N-word, stating: We already have a n mayor, we dont need any more n big shots!

THE FACTS: Social media users are twisting Bidens words from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1985 for the nomination of William Bradford Reynolds as U.S. deputy attorney general. Biden was reading a racist statement made by a state legislator during a redistricting process in Louisiana that was overseen by the nominee, who was being questioned under oath.

Biden was using those comments to build a case against Reynolds nomination, pointing out that as the assistant attorney general for civil rights he ignored racist comments by lawmakers and signed off on a plan that gerrymandered Louisianas congressional districts to deprive Black residents of representation. Biden specifically questioned Reynolds about a Louisiana congressional map redistricting proposal called the Nunez plan. C-Span video footage of Reynolds 1985 nomination hearing shows that Biden repeatedly asked Reynolds if he heard or saw any evidence that Louisianas politicians intentionally drew the map in a way that discriminated against Black residents in New Orleans.

Reynolds said he did not find any evidence that this was the case. Biden pointed out that Reynolds did, however, receive a memo from his staff that highlighted racist comments made by legislators who opposed the majority Black district. Using the N-word in the quote, Biden said: They brought to your attention the allegation that important legislators in defeating the Nunez plan, in the basement, said, We already have a n mayor, we dont need any more n big shots.

Biden argued that those comments, as well as other problems with the Louisiana governors plan, should have been a red flag for Reynolds, who should have never signed off on the plan. The Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately rejected Reynolds nomination in a 10-8 vote.

CLAIM: Black tour buses wrapped with Black Lives Matter were seen in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, bringing in Black Lives Matter and antifa rioters for protests.

THE FACTS: The photos being shared online show tour buses that were wrapped with the Black Lives Matter slogan for the Toronto Raptors basketball team.

Social media users are misrepresenting photos online to say they show that Black Lives Matter protesters and activists associated with antifa an umbrella term for anti-fascists are being bused into cities for protests. At a truck stop in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Notice the number and immense cost of the custom buses bringing in Black Lives Matter and Antifa Rioters. This is huge money and organization. @realDonaldTrump. This should be attacked by going after those with the deep pockets, one post on Twitter with more than 7,000 retweets said. The photo shows a bus yard where tour buses wrapped with the Black Lives Matter slogan are parked.

The buses were part of a Toronto Raptors effort to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The team used the buses for only a day and they were moved to a Fort Lauderdale bus yard on July 10. They have not moved since.

A spokesperson for the Toronto Raptors confirmed to The Associated Press that the buses were wrapped for the team and were provided by a bus company that transported the team in Florida from their training camp in Naples to Orlando, where the NBA constructed a social bubble to resume the NBA season and protect 22 teams from COVID-19.

The Toronto Raptors posted photos of the buses with the Black Lives Matter wrapper to Twitter on July 9, tweeting, Silence is not an option. The team also included the buses in an Instagram video where team members boarded them in T-shirts that also said Black Lives Matter.

The bus company that transported the team confirmed to the AP that the buses have been out of service since they were used by the basketball team. The posts misrepresenting the photos online coincided with Mondays Strike for Black Lives, where essential workers picketed during their lunch breaks and held moments of silence in support of Black Lives Matter.

CLAIM: In a July 17 tweet, President Donald Trump says he is SO MAD the Pentagon abolished the Confederate flag and calls the flag a symbol of love.

THE FACTS: This tweet was fabricated. It does not appear on either archived versions of Trumps Twitter feed or databases that track deleted tweets by politicians.

On July 17, the same day the Pentagon announced a policy banning displays of the Confederate flag on military installations, an image of a tweet allegedly sent by Trumps account began circulating on Facebook and Instagram. SO MAD!!! the fake tweet read. Pentagon abolished Confederate flag today. The flag is TREMENDOUS part of our history. Its a symbol of LOVE!! Plantations kept black people employed and gave them free food and housing!!! Black unemployment was VERY low back then like now with ME as your President!!

Several social media users sharing the image posted it alongside criticism of Trump. Remember Trumps Tweets when its time to vote! wrote one Facebook user in a post viewed more than 22,000 times in two days. Another Facebook post with the image, shared without context or a caption, racked up more than 158,000 views.

But there is no evidence Trump ever tweeted this. The alleged tweet does not appear on his Twitter timeline, nor does it show up in a search of archived versions of his profile. In ProPublicas Politwoops, a tool that tracks deleted tweets by politicians, a search for Trumps account does not turn up any deleted tweets with this message, nor any deleted tweets from July 17.

In previous interviews, Trump has defended peoples rights to display the Confederate flag, referring to it as a First Amendment issue. Like it, dont like it, its freedom of speech, he told CBS in a July 14 interview.

CLAIM: NASA has officially announced a 13th zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, after discovering a new constellation, meaning your zodiac star has changed.

THE FACTS: NASA is the federal agency dedicated to studying and exploring astronomy, not astrology, and has not made any such announcement.

Social media users are passing around an old hoax once again, claiming that NASA has officially established a 13th zodiac sign. The claim, which also contends that the entire zodiac system has now been realigned, is circulating in popular Facebook posts.

NASA debunked the social media posts on its website and Twitter account. We see your comments about a zodiac story that re-emerges every few years, NASA said in a July 16 tweet, sharing a link to a 2016 blog post that explains the zodiacs history. No, we did not change the zodiac.

In an online statement, NASA said the Babylonians created the zodiac 3,000 years ago, centering it around 12 constellations to pair with each month of their 12-month calendar. That statement did note that the Babylonians ancient stories identified 13 constellations and they left off one Ophiuchus to match the calendar.

Though thats been known for centuries it isnt a new discovery by NASA or anyone else. So, we didnt change any zodiac signs we just did the math, NASA said in the online post.

CLAIM: In an April 9 interview with CNBCs Squawk Box, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he expects 700,000 people to develop negative side effects from a coronavirus vaccine.

THE FACTS: Gates used the number in a hypothetical example, but social media users are misconstruing his words to claim he expects 700,000 vaccine injuries.

Ever since Gates interview about the coronavirus aired in April, posts and false news articles have claimed he had grim projections for the vaccine. Hes expecting 700,000 people to have negative side effects, wrote one Facebook user, in a post viewed by more than 40,000 people in two days.

But these posts dont accurately represent Gates words. Asked about the timeline for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, Gates said creating effective vaccines for older populations is always a challenge.

He then referred to the number 700,000 in a hypothetical example to illustrate the importance of creating a vaccine that is effective without side effects. Here, we clearly need a vaccine that works in the upper age range because theyre most at risk of that, Gates said. And doing that so that you amp it up so it works in older people and yet you dont have side effects you know, if we have 1 in 10,000 side effects, thats way more, 700,000 people who will suffer from that. So, really understanding the safety at gigantic scale across all age ranges you know, pregnant, male, female, undernourished, existing comorbidities its very, very hard. And that actual decision of, OK, lets go and give this vaccine to the entire world governments will have to be involved because there will be some risk and indemnification needed before that can be decided on.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed in a statement that the reference was hypothetical. Strong scientific evidence shows that vaccines are safe and they have a proven track record of preventing diseases, the statement said. Experts believe that a vaccine against COVID-19 will be critical to ending this pandemic once clinical trials show that they are safe and effective in a broad group of people.

Originally posted here:

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at fake news that was shared on social media this week - WBTW

Fighting fake news! Actively working on removing misinformation from platform: YouTube – The Financial Express

YouTube on Friday said consumption of videos recommended by the platform containing misinformation is significantly below one per cent, and it is working on strengthening its systems to further reduce such instances to ensure that creators and users are protected.

YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said the company has been actively working on removing misinformation, especially amid COVID-19 pandemic and has seen consumption of videos from authoritative sources grow 110 per cent in India during January-March 2020.

striking that balance between an open platform and our community guidelines, designed to protect everybody, is a point of conversation for us every dayOver the past years, weve been working hard to invest in the policies, resources and products needed to protect the YouTube community, he said.

Mohan added that its work has focused on four pillars removing violative content, raising up authoritative content, reducing the spread of borderline content and rewarding trusted creators the 4Rs of responsibility. consumption of borderline content or harmful misinformation videos that comes from our recommendations is significantly below one per cent and were constantly working to reduce this even further, he said.

Mohan said YouTube updated its Hate and Harassment Policies last year to quickly remove any content that violates its policies. Were also making sure that we limit the spread of Coronavirus related misinformation on our site. These efforts are built upon our work to reduce recommendations of borderline content (content that comes close to, but doesnt cross the line of violating our Community Guidelines, he said.

The company has a 24-hour, follow the sun coverage, and these teams sit across time zones, cover different languages and have different areas of expertise. authoritative source content consumption on our platform, ie videos that are coming from authoritative sources, has grown 110 per cent in India during the first three months of 2020, mainly often times because users are coming to YouTube, looking for the most relevant information that they can find about about the crisis, he said.

Last year, YouTube had launched Fact Check information panels in India, the first country where such a feature was launched. These information panels flag misinformation and offer correct insights with the fact checks being done by fact checking organisations.

Raising authoritative information and giving the proper context to users helps reduce and remove content that is violative of YouTubes policies, Mohan said. Since launch, there have been over 300 billion impressions on its information panels globally.

We also updated our policies to remove egregious medical misinformation about COVID. Were consulting with global and local health authorities as we develop these policies and weve been updating them on an ongoing basis to stay current with the science -10 updates in the past two months alone, he said.

These policies prohibit things like saying the virus is a hoax or promoting medically unsubstantiated cures in place of seeking treatment and YouTube has removed thousands of videos under these policies.

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Fighting fake news! Actively working on removing misinformation from platform: YouTube - The Financial Express

[Webinar] #FreeSpeech: Perspectives from the UK and the US on Social Media Liability for Fake News, Damaging Content and Censorship – July 29th, 9:00…

July 29th, 2020

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PDT

Greenberg Glusker and Farrer & Co are delighted to present a joint webinar during which reputation management and media specialists from both firms will discuss:

On both sides of the Atlantic, the role of social media and search engines has been dominating the news agenda.

The debate over the extent to which Big Tech should be policing content on its platforms is one that has been bubbling for some time, but has recently exploded into the open with Donald Trumps decision to sign an executive order aimed at removing protections for social media platforms and the UK governments plans to introduce legislation to address Online Harms.

Set alongside that is the decision of a number of multinational corporations to cease advertising on Facebook and other platforms in protest at the perceived failure to do enough to remove racist, hateful and knowingly false content.

All this takes place in the context of a global pandemic (where conspiracy theories have abounded), the Black Lives Matter movement and, of course, a forthcoming Presidential election in the United States.

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[Webinar] #FreeSpeech: Perspectives from the UK and the US on Social Media Liability for Fake News, Damaging Content and Censorship - July 29th, 9:00...

Governors who took the virus seriously from the start get a boost – NBC News

WASHINGTON Our new NBC News/Marist polls of Arizona and North Carolina tell a pretty similar story President Trump trails in both battlegrounds, as does the incumbent GOP senator.

But theres a significant difference between the two polls: North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper holds a 59 percent approval rating among voters in his state, while Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has a 39 percent rating in his state.

Whats more, Cooper, whos up for re-election this year in a battleground state, is ahead in his gubernatorial contest by 20 points, according to the NBC/Marist poll.

And the poll shows that North Carolina voters by a 2-to-1 margin say the state was right to prioritize health protocols for the GOP convention that was supposed to occur there, despite Trump calling the protocols too strict. (The poll was conducted before Trump reversed course, canceling the convention speech he had moved from Charlotte to Jacksonville, Fla.)

Its all a reminder that the governors Democratic or Republicans who have taken the coronavirus seriously from the beginning are getting credit from their voters.

And the governors who havent either by originally downplaying it, or reopening their states too early are getting penalized.

See Ducey in our Arizona poll. Or Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a recent Quinnipiac poll (48 percent approval). Or Gov. Ron DeSantis in another Quinnipiac survey (41 percent approval).

And that reminder of taking the coronavirus seriously from the beginning or not brings us to President Trump, who travels to North Carolina today to participate in a coronavirus briefing at a biotechnology firm.

As we wrote on Friday, he railed at Gov. Cooper for putting restrictions in place to combat the coronavirus.

I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed...

He ridiculed Democrats who months ago started to plan for a virtual convention.

Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a Virtual Convention, one where he doesnt have to show up. Gee, I wonder why? Also, what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?

He moved his acceptance speech from North Carolina to Florida.

And then on Thursday, he canceled that in-person event in Jacksonville.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

The results from our NBC/Marist poll of North Carolina (conducted before that cancellation): Trump trails Biden by 7 points, and his approval rating in the state is 41 percent among registered voters, and just 34 percent of voters say hed do a better job than Biden in handling the coronavirus.

4,257,304: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (Thats 207,027 more cases than Friday morning.)

147,821: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (Thats 2,657 more than Friday morning.)

51.49 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

11 points: The net drop in Trumps approval rating in North Carolina since March, per our latest NBC/Marist poll.

According to ad spending data from Advertising Analytics, the Trump and Biden campaigns have spent a combined $139 million over the TV and radio airwaves as of last Friday, with the Trump camp spending a total of $95 million throughout the entire campaign and the Biden camp $44 million.

Compare that to 2016, when the combined Trump camp-vs.-Clinton camp ad spending at this same point in the cycle was $94 million $75 million for Clinton and $19 million for Trump.

The Senate Republican/White House coronavirus relief package should be released sometime today, and over the weekend Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and President Trumps chief of staff Mark Meadows met with staff on the Hill to make final changes to the bill.

Heres Mnuchin on Saturday, per our Hill team.

As we said on Friday, we have a fundamental understanding and we just want to make sure all the paperwork is ready and finished so it can be introduced on Monday, Mnuchin said.

On unemployment benefits, Mnuchin said Let me just say weve actually had a fundamental agreement on this. I think the issue has just been more of a mechanical issue of how we institute it, but the fundamental issue we all acknowledged there was a technical problem, where we were in an emergency last time so we instituted this quickly and in certain cases people were paid more to stay home than they were to work.

He added, Were not going to use taxpayer money to pay people more to stay home. So were going to transition to a UI system that is based on wage replacement. Weve talked about approximately 70 percent of wage replacement. And were just going through the mechanics of that.

Dont miss the pod from Friday, when we looked at how it took Pennsylvania four weeks to count all of its ballots from its June 2 primary.

Heres our teams look at John Lewiss last trip across the bridge in Selma.

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is getting outspent by its Democratic rivals.

The biggest terror threat in Europe and the U.S. used to be jihadists. Now its the far right.

The president now says he wont throw the first pitch at a Yankees game in August after all.

Republicans are jockeying for power on the Hill as they eye a possible post-Trump world.

The New York Times takes a look at the Montana Senate race.

Dan Balz assesses the state of Americas global standing during the pandemic.

Local leaders in New Jersey say that Trump isnt telling the whole story about a voter fraud case.

And Politico examines the case against Kamala Harris as VP.

Excerpt from:

Governors who took the virus seriously from the start get a boost - NBC News

Why are millennials and Gen Z turning to Instagram as a news source? – The Guardian

For many young people, clicking on to Instagram to get the latest news is now as second nature as picking up a daily newspaper once was to generations before. For a site that has traditionally been a platform for sharing lifestyle content rather than hard news, this is a shift in millennials and Gen Z, at a time when news updates seem more important than ever.

Recently published data exploring how people accessed news and information about the coronavirus pandemic found, in the US, for 18- to 24-year-olds (the age group most likely to use social media as a source), over a quarter of respondents used Instagram to access news content within the last week, while 19% used Snapchat and 6% turned to TikTok. In comparison, only 17% used newspapers to access information. Globally, figures reached even higher levels in Germany, 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds used Instagram alone to access the news, and in Argentina, this reached as high as 49%.

This trend isnt necessarily harmless. The challenge with Instagram is that its a highly visual space, Jennifer Grygiel, who teaches communications at Syracuse University, tells me, so people share memes that are more about influencing than informing and people need to exercise caution and be aware of who theyre engaging with.

The use of social media as a news source is complicated by the ability for anyone to act as a reporter, sparking concerns about factchecking, and an oft-cited claim that social media tilts influence towards those with the largest followers, regardless of their credentials. Theres also a concern that social media leads to political polarization. A recent poll suggests that just 41% of Americans trust traditional media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Gallup, who conducted the study, have pointed to political rhetoric disparaging news organizations as a potential problem, with Republican voters significantly less likely to trust traditional media as a source.

For disenfranchised individuals social media may offer an alternative to media outlets that they have begun to doubt. Yet the very nature of social media leaves users exposed primarily to others with similar views, which research suggests can create vast echo chambers spaces where our own opinions and biases are reinforced by the voices which are filtered into our social media feed.

Amelia Gibson is an assistant professor and director of the Community Equity Data and Information Lab at the University of North Carolina. She sees the events of recent months as highlighting the ways many young people use social media as a news source. The Covid-19 crisis, combined with renewed interest in the Black Lives Matter movement, increased the desire for instant, first-hand information. Mistrust of mainstream media meant that many young people turned to their social media news feeds for information about protests, police actions and stay-at-home orders. But with a web of algorithms serving up content from news organizations, political groups or even influencers aligned to their own political beliefs and social circles, this also provoked a deepening of already-divided views and cultural rifts.

Our social media environments are still so segmented that some people really do live in different information worlds

Social media offers, on the one hand, a medium for filling what feels like a vacuum of trustworthy information sources, Gibson explains. But on the other hand, our social media environments are still so segmented that some people really do live in different information worlds. In one information ecosystem, people might read this moment [and current social justice movements] as a hopeful international awakening related to anti-racism, others read it as a time of deep existential threat. We see these different worlds clashing when people meet in real life.

For Gibson, the solution lies in a convergence of interests as social media brings attention to previously overlooked stories and rebalances the power to share news, traditional media still has a part to play.

People have always shared the news that mattered to them and their communities, she explains. I think that the difference in this moment is that news corporations are paying attention and are amplifying a moment of shared struggle I think that social media has done a lot to push social justice movements forward in the last decade but that traditional media still has a lot of power to command national and international attention.

For Grygiel, who, as a college professor, sees up close how young people are acting as both content creators and consumers, the relationship between traditional media and social sharing has reached a pivotal point. Content-creation-for-all has democratized news, but it remains an imperfect system dogged with accusations of biases, fake news and increasingly polarized viewpoints.

Although sites such as Instagram currently hold significant sway when it comes to distributing content to an internet-savvy youth, Grygiel hopes that this will push news publications to build better websites, attract advertisers and strive for independence rather than relying on social media shares. In the meantime, the need to exercise caution is of utmost importance.

Its hard to fully realize the benefits of social media because theres so much harmful content out there, they explain. Social media platforms have not always acted as good corporate citizens theyve paid a lack of attention to political advertisements that are harmful, and fail to monitor hate speech. Its important to be critical of them, but also aware that without them we wouldnt have seen the kind of documentation that we have of societal harms and transparency around injustices theres still a lot of opportunity to deliver content without social media, and if social media platforms arent acting as good corporate citizens then we need to find new and better ways of distributing news.

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Why are millennials and Gen Z turning to Instagram as a news source? - The Guardian

The Misinformation Age Has ExacerbatedAnd Been Exacerbated Bythe Coronavirus Pandemic – TIME

If youre looking for solid information on COVID-19, the Internet is not always your best betequal parts encyclopedia and junkyard, solid science on the one hand and rubbish, rumors and fabulism on the other. Distinguishing between the two is not always easy, and with so much of the time we spend online devoted either to sharing links or reading ones that have been shared with us, not only does the junk get believed, it also gets widely disseminated, creating a ripple effect of falsehoods that can misinform people and even endanger lives.

At its worst, misinformation of this sort may cause people to turn to ineffective (and potentially harmful) remedies, write the authors of a new paper in Psychological Science, as well as to overreact (hoarding goods) or, more dangerously, to underreact (engaging in risky behavior and inadvertently spreading the virus).

Its well-nigh impossible to keep the Internet entirely free of such trash, but in theory it ought not be quite as hard to confine it to the fever swamps where it originates and prevent it from spreading. The new study explores not only why people believe Internet falsehoods, but how to help them become more discerning and less reckless about what they share.

One of the leading reasons misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic gains traction is that its a topic that scares the daylights out of us. The more emotional valence something we read online has, the likelier we are to pass it oneither to share the joy if its something good or unburden ourselves if its bad.

Our research has shown that emotion makes people less discerning, says David Rand, associate professor at the MIT School of Management and a co-author of the new study. When it comes to COVID-19, people who are closer to the epicenter of the disease are likelier to share information online, whether its true or false.

Thats in keeping with earlier research out of MIT, published in 2018 showing that fake news spreads faster on Twitter than does the truth. The reason, the researchers in that study wrote, was that the lies were more novel than true news [eliciting] fear, disgust and surprise in replies, just the things that provide the zing to sharing in the first place.

Political leanings also influence whats shared and not shared. A 2019 Science study, from researchers at Northeastern, Harvard, and SUNY-Buffalo, showed that neither the left nor the right has a monopoly on sharing fake news or real news, with both ends more or less equally mixing fact and fiction. Just which fact and just which fiction they chose, however, was typically consistent with just which stories fit more comfortably with their own ideologies.

To dig deeper still into the cognitive processes behind sharing decisions, Rand and colleagues developed a two-part study. In the first, they assembled a sample group of 853 adults and first asked them to take a pair of tests. One, known as the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) measures basic reasoning processes, often with questions that are slipperier than they seem. (For example: If you are running a race and you pass the person in second place, what place are you in? The seemingly obvious answerfirst placeis wrong. Youve simply replaced the second-place runner, but the person in first is still ahead of you.)

The other test was more straightforwardmeasuring basic science knowledge with true and false statements such as Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria (false); and Lasers work by focusing sound waves (false again).

Finally, the entire sample pool was divided in half. Both groups were shown the same series of 30 headlines15 false and 15 trueabout COVID-19, but they were instructed to do two different things with them. One group was asked to determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the headlines. The other group was asked if they would be inclined to share the headlines online.

The results were striking. The first group correctly identified the truth or falsehood of about two thirds of the headlines. The second groupfreed from having to consider the accuracy of what they were readingreported that they would share about half of the headlines, equally divided between true ones and false ones. If they were taking the time to evaluate the headlines veracity, they would be expected to share at something closer to the rate of the first groupabout two thirds true and one third false. When people dont reflect, they make a rapid choice and they share without thinking. This is true for most of us. says Gordon Pennycook, assistant professor at the University of Regina School of Business in Saskatchewan, and lead author of the study.

Most, but not all. The study did find that people who scored higher on the CRT and basic science tests were a little less indiscriminate, tending to do a better job at both distinguishing false stories and at making better sharing decisions.

The solution, clearly, is not to force everyone to pass a reasoning test before theyre admitted online. Things are actually a lot easier than that, as the second part of the study showed.

For that portion, a different sample group of 856 adults was once again divided in two and once again shown the same set of headlines. This time, however, neither group was asked to determine the accuracy of the headlines; instead, both were asked only if they would share them. But there was still a difference between the two groups: One was first shown one of four non-COVID-9-related headlines and asked to determine whether it was true or false.

That primingasking the participants to engage their critical faculties before beginning the sharing taskseemed to make a dramatic difference: The primed group was three times less likely to share a false headline than the unprimed group.

Nudges like this help a lot, Rand says. If you get people to stop and think, they do a better job of evaluating what theyre reading.

The researchers believe there are easy, real world applications that platforms like Facebook and Twitter could use to provide people the same kind of occasional cognitive poke they did in their study. One idea we like is to crowd-source fact-checking out to users, Pennycook says. Ask people if [some] headlines are accurate or not; the platforms themselves could learn a lot from this too.

Rand cautions against anything that could seem patronizing to readersleaving them feeling like theyre being quizzed by some social media giant. Instead, he recommends a little bit of humility.

You could stick little pop-ups into newsfeeds that say, Help us improve our algorithms. Are these stories accurate? he recommends.

In no event is the Internet going to be scrubbed of all rubbish. For plenty of hucksters, politicos and conspiracy-mongers, the Internets hospitality to inaccuracies is a feature, not a bug, and there is little way to purge them entirely. But small interventions can clearly make a difference. And when it comes to information about the pandemicon which life and death decisions may be madethe stakes for trying could not be higher.

This appears in the August 03, 2020 issue of TIME.

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The Misinformation Age Has ExacerbatedAnd Been Exacerbated Bythe Coronavirus Pandemic - TIME