Trump duped by fake news story of Twitter going down to protect Biden – Global News

U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Thursdays global Twitter outage on a deliberate attempt by the company to protect Joe Biden, citing an obviously fake news story written in the style of The Onion.

Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread of Negative Biden News, read the headline on the Babylon Bee, a Christian satire site. The fake story claimed that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had smashed up his servers on Thursday to censor an unverified New York Post story about the Democratic nominee for president and his son, Hunter.

Twitter did limit the spread of the story on Thursday due to its policy around hacked materials. However, there is no evidence that the story had anything to do with the Twitter outage on Thursday afternoon.

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Wow, this has never been done in history, Trump tweeted Friday morning, along with a link to the Babylon Bee story. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T.

Its unclear if Trump actually read the story, which starts with Dorsey and several weak-armed programmers struggling to smash all the computers at Twitter HQ, and ends with a bunch of robots attacking all the cis white males in sight. The article does not include anything about Bidens town hall event on Thursday, as Trump mentioned in his tweet.

Critics mocked Trump for seemingly believing some literally fake news a term he often uses for real news reports that he does not like.

Its satire, writer Dan Fagin wrote in response to Trumps tweet. Satire is the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose stupidity. It worked.

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The Bees website crashed multiple times on Friday as Trumps legions of followers and critics flocked to the site.

The Babylon Bee describes itself on Twitter as fake news you can trust, and its homepage is filled with satirical headlines such as Trump gets totally stoned in lively 7-hour interview with Joe Rogan, and Amazons NewLord of the Rings series to include bisexual transgender elf in wheelchair.

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The Babylon Bee is the worlds best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims, the site says.

The Bee celebrated Trumps error by sharing a link to one of its stories from 2018.

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President Trump declares the Babylon Bee his most-trusted news source, the website tweeted.

The story was originally written as satire, though Trump provided evidence to support its claims on Friday.

Trump appeared to blame Twitter for his error Friday morning in a follow-up tweet.

Big T was not a reference to me, but rather to Big Tech, which should have been properly pointed out in Twitters Fake Trending Section! he wrote.

Trump has renewed his attacks in recent days on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies from being held responsible for what others publish on their platforms. Trump has been targeting Section 230 amid efforts by Twitter and Facebook to fact-check his false and misleading posts about mail-in ballots.

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Section 230 protects sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube from liability for posts made by their users, including Trump.

If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Donald Trumps lies, defamation, and threats, Kate Ruane, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Associated Press in May.

Trump has a well-documented history of promoting conspiracy theories and other misinformation around the coronavirus, far-left anarchists, mail-in voting, his crowd sizes and Barack Obamas birth certificate, among other things. He has also been reluctant to condemn extreme views.

On Thursday night, for example, he refused to denounce the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, which holds him up as a warrior for God against so-called deep state pedophiles out to drink childrens blood.

I know nothing about QAnon, he claimed during the debate.

Trump made similar claims when asked about the group and its beliefs in August.

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I dont know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate, he said at the time. Ive heard these are people that love our country.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have banned the extremist movement from their platforms amid concern that it was encouraging real-world violence.

The U.S. presidential election is slated for Nov. 3.

2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Trump duped by fake news story of Twitter going down to protect Biden - Global News

Trump fooled by satirical Babylon Bee article – Vox.com

Two embarrassing episodes over the past 24 hours highlighted the depth of President Donald Trumps credibility crisis as time runs short for him to turn around his flailing reelection campaign.

From refusing to denounce an absurd, obviously false online conspiracy theory during a high-profile town hall on NBC to retweeting a satirical website as if its breaking news, its becoming increasingly difficult to tell if Trump can separate fact from fiction.

While Trump campaigns on misleading messages about the coronavirus (which he insists is going away despite rising case numbers) and the economy (which he says is strong even as hes poised to become the first president in modern history to oversee a net shrinkage in jobs), hes behaving online like that far-right family member weve all had to mute on Facebook. And he doesnt feel any shame about it.

At this late date, everyone, whether theyre on social media or not, understands that Trump isnt above lying. But an exchange during his NBC town hall with Savannah Guthrie showcased for viewers who arent on Twitter just how off the rails his posting has become.

Guthrie grilled Trump about a retweet he posted on Wednesday evening of a conspiracy theory promoted by a QAnon account. The tweet accused Biden of pulling strings to take out the group of Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden a theory refuted by the fact that every Navy SEAL involved in the bin Laden raid is in fact still alive.

Instead of even trying to defend himself, Trump suggested to Guthrie that because he read it on the internet it might be true, describing the conspiracy theory as an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. Ill put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I dont take a position.

Its obviously reckless and irresponsible for the president to amplify incendiary conspiracy theories that are clearly false, not to mention defend QAnon, which he did during the same town hall. And in one of the more memorable moments of the evening, Guthrie hit back, admonishing Trump, Youre the president. Youre not someones crazy uncle who can retweet whatever.


But if you thought Guthrie drawing blood on national TV would be enough to chasten Trump, he quickly demonstrated otherwise.

On Friday morning, Trump embarrassed himself for the second time within a day by retweeting an article from the satirical Babylon Bee website (the sites motto is Fake news you can trust) as part of a failed attack on Twitter and Hunter Biden.

Suffice it to say, Twitter did not shut down in order to suppress bad Hunter Biden news. But instead of admitting his error or even deleting the tweet, Trump followed up with another, clarifying that by Big T he wasnt referring to himself, but rather Big Tech.

Its unclear whether Trump has anybody in his orbit at this point whos willing to point out to him that hes tweeting out satire as though its breaking news. Its also possible he simply has no shame about amplifying egregious fake news if he thinks getting people to believe lies is in his self-interest.

Whatever the case, its clear that this presidents truth barometer is broken beyond repair. He has access to the best intelligence in the world, yet all too often hes liable to believe anything he reads on the internet so long as its useful for his political ends. And his fake news problem only seems to be getting worse.

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Trump fooled by satirical Babylon Bee article - Vox.com

Poor numerical literacy linked to greater susceptibility to Covid-19 fake news – The Guardian

People with poor numerical literacy are more likely to believe Covid-19 misinformation, according to a survey conducted in five countries.

Researchers at Cambridge University said the findings suggested improving peoples analytical skills could help turn the tide against an epidemic of fake news surrounding the health crisis.

Five national surveys reflecting national quotas for age and gender were conducted this year to evaluate susceptibility to coronavirus-related misinformation and its influence on key health-related behaviours.

The study found the most consistent predictor of decreased susceptibility to misinformation about Covid-19 was numerical literacy the ability to digest and apply quantitative information broadly.

People in Ireland, Spain, Mexico, the US and the UK took part in the study. Their numerical literacy levels were calculated on the basis of three different numeracy tests.

Participants were presented with nine statements about Covid-19, some false (for example, 5G networks may be making us more susceptible to the coronavirus) and some true (for instance, people with diabetes are at higher risk of complications from coronavirus).

Participants were also asked about their risk perception of Covid-19, what extent they complied with public health guidance and their likelihood of getting vaccinated if a vaccine were to become available.

Overall, higher susceptibility to fake news was associated with lower self-reported compliance with public health guidance for Covid-19, as well as peoples willingness to get vaccinated against the virus and recommend the vaccine to vulnerable family and friends.

Some scientists think that susceptibility to misinformation is related to political views, while others think it is linked to reasoning abilities, study author Dr Sander van der Linden explained.

My take is that both are relevant. And I was surprised to see numeracy playing such a strong role here it was one of the single most important predictors, he said. I like that finding in a sense because it gives me hope that theres a solution out there.

Another distinct factor linked to belief in Covid-19 fake news was age, the researchers found. Being older was associated with lower susceptibility to misinformation everywhere (except Mexico) inconsistent with prior research that typically found the opposite pattern, at least in the context of elections.

It could be that older people are less susceptible [to misinformation] but theyre still sharing it more, Linden said, adding that they may also be less inclined to endorse Covid-19 misinformation because there is an incentive to be accurate as the elderly are the biggest casualties of the disease.

The research, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, also found that people who were more receptive to misinformation viewed themselves as minorities and appeared resistant to voices in authority such as scientists and politicians.

Political conservatism was also linked to a slightly higher susceptibility to misinformation, the researchers found, but surprisingly, this link was not as strong in the US and UK as it was elsewhere.

Dr Emma ODwyer, a senior lecturer at Kingston University who was not involved in the study, wondered why the researchers had chosen these five countries to survey.

There are differences across the countries, she said. This paper doesnt provide an account at the country level for why these relationships are different.

The paper also does not give as much attention to how or why misinformation takes root in the first place, said Dominic Abrams, a professor of social psychology at the University of Kent, who was not involved in the research.

Beyond individuals susceptibility there is the question of how and why some misleading sources can achieve an air of legitimacy.

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Poor numerical literacy linked to greater susceptibility to Covid-19 fake news - The Guardian

REFILE-‘Not fake news:’ COVID-19 cases surge in Wisconsin ahead of Trump campaign rally – Reuters

(In paragraph eight, inserts dropped words)

CHICAGO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Two weeks ago, Mark Schultz was getting ready to go to work at the tavern he owns in the Wisconsin city of Oshkosh when he started to feel sweaty, achy and chilled.

Within days, the 64-year-old was in an intensive care unit at a local hospital fighting for his life.

Schultz, his 45-year-old fiance and his 10-year-old son are three of the 41,000 Wisconsinites who have tested positive for the virus over the last two weeks, according to state health officials.

I want people to know this is real. This is not a hoax. Its not fake news like the president said, Schultz said.

Wisconsin has recently become an epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.

On Friday, the states department of health services reported grim records as daily COVID-19 cases reached 3,861 and the seven-day average of new confirmed cases topped 3,000 for the first time.

This virus is unbelievable what it does to people, he said during a phone interview with Reuters on Friday from his home, four days after getting out of the hospital. I literally thought I was taking my last breath. Its like someone has a foot on your chest.

Despite the surge in cases in Wisconsin, President Donald Trump plans on Saturday to make a campaign stop in Janesville as he seeks to make up for time lost during his own bout with the coronavirus earlier this month.

Wear a mask, Schultz said to those who plan to attend. There is so many unknowns with this thing. That is the scary part.

For a second day in a row, the United States reported more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday as infections spike in all regions of the country, according to a Reuters analysis.

The United States reported over 63,000 new cases on Thursday and over 60,000 new cases on Wednesday, a level on back-to-back days not seen since late July and as total U.S. cases surpassed 8 million.

The surge in cases comes in the final weeks before the Nov. 3 presidential election. Trump has continued to minimize the threat to public health posed by the virus that has killed more than 217,000 Americans and 1 million globally.

The rise in U.S. cases is beginning to tax hospitals in some regions, with Wisconsin setting up a field hospital and reporting that in some areas more than 90% of hospital intensive care unit beds were filled as of Thursday.

The field hospital had yet to receive its first patient as of Friday morning, according to a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

Meanwhile in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday the state was increasing medical personnel and supplies as well as personal protective equipment for hospitals in Amarillo, Lubbock and surrounding counties, which are seeing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Deaths nationally remain fairly steady at 700 per day, but health experts caution fatalities are a lagging indicator that rise weeks after a surge in cases.

Deaths were already rising in several Midwest states over the past two weeks compared with the prior two-week period, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Reporting by Lisa Shumaker and Brendan OBrien in Chicago, additional reporting and writing by Maria Caspani in New York, editing by Cynthia Osterman

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REFILE-'Not fake news:' COVID-19 cases surge in Wisconsin ahead of Trump campaign rally - Reuters

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Beware of Fake News On City Council Races – Odessa American

OA logo 2 wide

Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 5:00 am

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Beware of Fake News On City Council Races Jeff RussellOdessa Odessa American

It appears that Kirk Edwards has become the CNN or MSNBC of Odessa when it comes to spreading fake news about our local city council races.

In his recent letter to the Editor, Mr. Edwards goes on a wide ranging rant about the Ector County Republican Party and other involved parties such as the Government Accountability Project. Mr. Edwards clear intent is to spread misinformation and mistruths about groups that are working to change the status quo in Odessa - a status quo that has greatly benefited the establishment over many years but which has come at the expense of the average hardworking, taxpaying Odessan.

He calls the Government Accountability Project a foreign group but in fact this group is led by Jaimie Tisdale, a 29 year resident of our city who owns the Wilsons Corner store at Pleasant Farms. A quick review of Jaimes Facebook page would clearly show her as the leader of this group and I applaud Jaimie for her relentless efforts to uncover waste and abuse in our local governments. Mr. Edwards clearly takes umbrage against any group other than his own group of insiders releasing information to the public or supporting any candidates that he deems unworthy.

Mr. Kirk then goes on to disparage our local Republican Party officials for their recent endorsements of local candidates which were carefully chosen and vetted by duly elected Republican Precinct Chairs for their work in the local party and for their adherence to core Republican values such as fiscal conservatism and a small and limited government. The duplicity of Mr. Edwards statements in this regard are surreal; he begins with accusing Republican leaders like Dick Saulsbury who make up the Ector County Republican Party Executive Committee as being part of an AOC Squad, while in the next breath he endorses and encourages Republicans to vote for JoAnn Davenport, who is an unabashed and vocal progressive Democrat running for city council.

Mr. Kirk claims that this imaginary squad has a nefarious agenda of being against economic development and infrastructure work which couldnt be further from the truth exhibited by the candidates that were endorsed by the Republican Party. Much in the same way that President Trump is continually attacked by the insiders who would seek to rule our country for their own benefit, these candidates are, at their core, Trump Republicans who understand that, as leaders, they must strive to meet the most needs of the most Odessans and not be beholden to narrow special interests like those represented by Mr. Edwards. It makes one wonder what Mr. Edwards will gain by promoting his block of big spending politicians?

My belief is that Odessa voters are smarter than to fall for a pack of lies and mistruths that insiders such as Kirk Edwards are promoting and that they will vote for solid Trump Republicans that will put voters needs ahead of the agenda of a small group of elites who desire to rule Odessa for their own benefit. My hope is that Mr. Edwards will leave the Fake News business to the real pros who constantly attack President Trump.

Posted in Letters To Editor on Sunday, October 18, 2020 5:00 am. | Tags: Letter To The Editor

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Beware of Fake News On City Council Races - Odessa American

Spot the fake so you can focus on the facts – WLWT Cincinnati

A lot of people throw around the term fake news about any story that doesnt meet their ideology. But do you really know how to tell the difference between fake and the real thing?Separating fact from fiction can be difficult in the current politically-charged climate. You need to know how to tell if someone has a specific agenda to judge everything from what you repost to knowing how you want to vote.WLWT News 5 investigative reporter Todd Dykes shares a series of tips and tools that can help you spot the fake online.First, you need to be skeptical. That sounds like an easy tip, but with the flood of news articles, reposts and retweets currently clogging news feeds, it may be easier said than done.To avoid falling into traps, first ask yourself if an article backs up your own beliefs. No one wants to be the person who gets caught in an echo chamber. If a news stories verifies something youve always thought, then run a quick search with a few keywords to see if you can find an opposing viewpoint.Remember that popularity is not proof. Just because a tweet has been shared millions of times does not make it true. Likewise, a number of articles about the same subject does not always mean you can take it at face value. Several articles from reputable news sources that are all independently written almost always means you can trust the underlying facts. But if the articles you find are all from sites with a particular bias and all contain similar language, its possible one article has been reposted to several sites. Determining which news sites are reputable and independent can also be tough. Some things to look for include: Bios of authors that allow you to click through to see their backgrounds and other articles theyve written Multiple sources from various sides of the political spectrum Few if any uses of exclamation points or writing in all caps No conclusions from the author about the motives of a person in an articleWhen you read an article always check to see if it is labeled as opinion. Most reputable news sites will clearly label any opinion story.You should also be sure the site youre on -- or the story you see posted or tweeted -- is from an actual news website. A large number of websites specialize in satire or spoof stories. The more reputable among them will clearly identify that their websites are providing humor rather than news. But some need a closer examination to get to the truth.You also need to run any pictures or videos through your filters too. Both are easier than ever to fake. A few tips to help you: Check for consistent lighting. Look at surroundings to be sure they match the time and place a photo or video claims to represent. Look for the source of a photo to see if it says who took it and when. Ask yourself why its being sent to you now to understand the context of the message being conveyed. Know how to check for the origin of a photo.Several online tools are available to help you verify a photos origins:https://images.google.comwww.tineye.comhttps://yandex.com/imagesAre all quick and easy to use sites that allow you to track down a photos origin, where else its been used, and possibly the original photographer.The final tips are two of the most important points. First, remember that finding the truth is ultimately up to you. Finally, you need to work hard to avoid being part of the problem. If you see something you cant be certain is true dont share it.

A lot of people throw around the term fake news about any story that doesnt meet their ideology. But do you really know how to tell the difference between fake and the real thing?

Separating fact from fiction can be difficult in the current politically-charged climate. You need to know how to tell if someone has a specific agenda to judge everything from what you repost to knowing how you want to vote.

WLWT News 5 investigative reporter Todd Dykes shares a series of tips and tools that can help you spot the fake online.

First, you need to be skeptical. That sounds like an easy tip, but with the flood of news articles, reposts and retweets currently clogging news feeds, it may be easier said than done.

To avoid falling into traps, first ask yourself if an article backs up your own beliefs. No one wants to be the person who gets caught in an echo chamber. If a news stories verifies something youve always thought, then run a quick search with a few keywords to see if you can find an opposing viewpoint.

Remember that popularity is not proof. Just because a tweet has been shared millions of times does not make it true. Likewise, a number of articles about the same subject does not always mean you can take it at face value. Several articles from reputable news sources that are all independently written almost always means you can trust the underlying facts. But if the articles you find are all from sites with a particular bias and all contain similar language, its possible one article has been reposted to several sites.

Determining which news sites are reputable and independent can also be tough. Some things to look for include:

When you read an article always check to see if it is labeled as opinion. Most reputable news sites will clearly label any opinion story.

You should also be sure the site youre on -- or the story you see posted or tweeted -- is from an actual news website. A large number of websites specialize in satire or spoof stories. The more reputable among them will clearly identify that their websites are providing humor rather than news. But some need a closer examination to get to the truth.

You also need to run any pictures or videos through your filters too. Both are easier than ever to fake. A few tips to help you:

Several online tools are available to help you verify a photos origins:

Are all quick and easy to use sites that allow you to track down a photos origin, where else its been used, and possibly the original photographer.

The final tips are two of the most important points. First, remember that finding the truth is ultimately up to you. Finally, you need to work hard to avoid being part of the problem. If you see something you cant be certain is true dont share it.

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Spot the fake so you can focus on the facts - WLWT Cincinnati

Investigative journalist will address ‘fake news’ in virtual talk – Ripon Commonwealth Press

Fake News and Conspiracy Theories in the Age of Trump, a talk by investigative journalist Michael R. Isikoff, will be offered via Zoom webinar Tuesday, Oct. 20 by Ripon College.

The talk will run from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Registration is available at ripon.edu/fake-news.

A post-event recording will be available on YouTube at go.ripon.edu/p1a.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Politics and the People, with funding by the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Isikoff is an investigative journalist and chief investigative correspondent at Yahoo! News.

The moderators will be professor of communication Steve Martin, Ripon Class of 1996, and Henrik Schatzinger, associate professor of politics and government and co-director of the Center for Politics and People.

Isikoff will highlight the importance of a free press in a democracy. He also will address other topics and issues related to the media and the press during the Trump administration such as the idea of fake news and its impact on the election cycle.

Formerly, Isikoff was a national investigative correspondent for Newsweek and NBC, where he reported on politics and government scandals such as the abuse in Abu Ghraib and Bill Clintons involvement with Monica Lewinsky.

He also is the author of Uncovering Clinton: A Reporters Story and Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, and the coauthor of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putins War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.


Investigative journalist will address 'fake news' in virtual talk - Ripon Commonwealth Press

The Trump tax bombshell | The Herald-News – The Herald-News

Wow! Bombshell! Let me get this right. Trump pays $750 in taxes? The same amount a person making $20,000 a year pays?

I guess its OK to write off $70,000 in haircuts and $109,000 in silverware and linens, but he took away traveling expenses for those of us in the trades such as work clothes, lodging and anything used for work purposes when we need to travel to work to support our families.

Yes, that must be OK because, after all, his needs are more important than ours, right? How can he possibly be expected to be the outstanding citizen he is without getting $70,000 in haircuts and being able to write it off?

I know, I know, he says hes being smart by not paying taxes. Thats OK for him but for the rest of us it probably means prison time. Thats OK though, right Trump supporters? Double standards are acceptable for him but not us because, hey, its always the fake news and witch-hunts that are really the issue, right? Its never his fault and accountability is beneath him right? Hes never ever wrong, and they will support him no matter what he does because its always always fake news and witch hunts. Those evil Democrats are out to get him.

Its actually genius on his part. The perfect scapegoat, the media. Brilliant. Im sure there will be plenty of rebuttals defending him, there always are.

Don Morgan


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The Trump tax bombshell | The Herald-News - The Herald-News

Trump and Biden will have mics muted for part of last presidential debate – CNBC

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will at times have their microphones cut during their next debate, the event's sponsors announced Monday.

When one of the two candidates is given a chance to provide a two-minute answer to each of the six debate topics, his opponent's microphone will be muted, the Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement.

"It is the hope of the Commission that the candidates will be respectful of each other's time, which will advance civil discourse for the benefit of the viewing public," the statement said.

The final debate scheduled between Trump and Biden is set for Thursday at 9 p.m. ET in Nashville. It will be moderated by NBC News' Kristen Welker. It will run 90 minutes in length, with each of the six topics allotted 15 minutes.

The topics, selected by Welker, are:

The changes were implemented in the wake of the vicious and messy first debate in late September, during which Trump frequently interrupted the former vice president and at times argued with the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace.

The debate commission's statement Monday night said it "considered the opinion of many who expressed concern the debate fell short of expectations, depriving voters of the opportunity to be informed of the candidates' positions on the issues."

In order to allow the candidates to freely share their views in the final debate, the commission announced that "the only candidate whose microphone will be open during these two-minute periods is the candidate who has the floor under the rules."

"We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today. One may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough," the commission said in the statement.

"We are comfortable that these actions strike the right balance and that they are in the interest of the American people, for whom these debates are held."

The commission's statement noted that "both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule."

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien in a statement accused the commission of bias, but said the president "is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last minute rule changes."

Stepien's statement also signaled that Trump would bring up allegations against Biden's son, Hunter Biden, during the debate.

A spokesman for Biden's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The commission had originally scheduled three debates between the two presidential candidates. Trump had previously pushed for a fourth debate to be scheduled.

But the second debate was canceled after Trump refused to participate, following the commission's decision hold the event virtually, rather than in person. That move was made following Trump's diagnosis with the coronavirus and subsequent hospitalization.

The president and his campaign have aggressively criticized the debate commission and its chosen slate of moderators. Wallace, who had repeatedly admonished Trump during the debate to wait his turn before speaking, was attacked by the president and his surrogates.

The now-canned second debate was set to be moderated by C-SPAN's political editor, Steve Scully. Beforehand, Trump had accused Scully of political bias.

After the debate had already been scrapped, Scully was suspended by C-SPAN after he admitted to lying that his Twitter account had been "hacked." Scully had made the false claim after tweeting a message to former White House official-turned-critic Anthony Scaramucci, which had apparently been intended to be private.

On Saturday, Trump said of Welker in a tweet: "She's always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I'll still play the game."

Earlier Monday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien shared a letter on Twitter urging the debate hosts to ensure that foreign policy would be the main focus, rather than the coronavirus, climate change or race in America.

-- CNBC's Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

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Trump and Biden will have mics muted for part of last presidential debate - CNBC

Kicking around the ‘fake news’ tag | Opinion | fergusfallsjournal.com – Fergus Falls Daily Journal

Ibet you didnt know I, Joel Myhre, used to be a kicker in the Canadian Football League. I played for the Toronto Argonauts from 1989 to 1992. We actually won the CFL championship in 1991. I set the CFL record by making 32 consecutive field goals that year.

None of this is true, of course. But I am writing this because this column will be uploaded to the internet. So I thought I would experiment to see if my bold-faced lie will actually be turned into truth somewhere in cyberland.

I bring this up because the other day, while entering Walmart, while wearing a Mr. Rogers T-shirt, someone told me that Mr. Rogers, the long-time childrens show host, was covered in tattoos from his days serving as a U.S. Navy Seal in Vietnam, with more than 25 confirmed kills to his name.

Like my story about being a kicker in the CFL, the Mr. Rogers tattoo story is absolute hogwash. Rogers was born in 1928, which means he was 36 when the U.S. started sending troops to Vietnam in 1964. No, Rogers had no tattoos, and never served in Vietnam.

Yet, that guy believed it. Why? Because it was on the internet.

This is what I think bothers me the most about this election. It isnt that a win by Donald Trump would mean Republican policies would continue to be enacted for the next four years.

What bothers me is that Trump has convinced his supporters that any stories that are critical of him are fake news.

Keep in mind that the fake news stories are coming from questionable places like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Economist.

As a former journalist, this is just unacceptable to me. When I was going to college to be a reporter, such outlets were the pinnacle of journalism. If a story appears in the newspapers or magazines above, I knew that an exhaustive amount of research was done before it was published. I believed it to be the truth. Thats the point, right? Journalists seek out the truth.

But while such media outlets are still operating, they, at least by the right, have been minimized, and declared as fake news. Yet, the real news is from people who will run with rumors without bothering to research them, provided it benefits the political party they support.

I guess its a good thing that all of us now have the ability to get our opinions published globally. Its not a good thing, however, that facts are simply not relevant anymore.

As I read on a bumper sticker the other day, I miss the truth.

As a teacher, I have been asked many times how things are going. Well, its been stressful, to say the least.

One of the primary issues is, we are supposed to be everything to everyone. Last spring, when we went from traditional school to distance learning, we made a clean transition, and had more than a week to figure out how to make that transition. Distance learning was a statewide thing, so everyone had to do it.

Now, it is a convoluted mess.

At the school Im at, we are back to school, with a lot of masks and hand sanitizers. However, there are students who have chosen to do distance learning. It means that teachers, we have to plan for in-person learning and distance learning, simultaneously.

That, my friends, is not an easy thing to do.

Im definitely torn. If a student truly needs to do distance learning due to health concerns, I am all for it. On the other hand, I hope students are not doing distance learning because its easier or because they dont want to go to school. Its just hard for teachers to focus on the students in front of them every day, and the students who are distance learning.

My opinion is, lets get this coronavirus stuff over with so we can all get back to normal.

Joel Myhre is a Fergus Falls resident.

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Kicking around the 'fake news' tag | Opinion | fergusfallsjournal.com - Fergus Falls Daily Journal

We’re launching an election-season ad campaign to fight fake news, and we need your help – USA TODAY

Alexander Heffner and Alan C. Miller, Opinion contributors Published 5:00 a.m. ET Sept. 13, 2020 | Updated 10:04 a.m. ET Sept. 14, 2020

Don't fall for misinformation on voting and candidates in 2020. Protect yourselves and democracy by verifying facts and breaking out of your bubbles.

In the 2016 presidential election, foreign and domestic disinformation flooded social media platforms, misled and misinformed Americans and sought to depress turnout, especially among historically marginalized young and Black voters. Memeswith false information were deliberately directed toward voters on Twitter and Facebook to deter people from voting.

Once again in 2020, disinformation about the election including the voting process has been spread widely and endangers our democracy. U.S. intelligence officials have issued warnings about ongoing tactics to hack Americans, manipulate the mediaand sow confusion about the campaign and election. President Donald Trump himself hassuggestedthat peoplevote twice, which is illegal, and has amplified electoral and QAnon conspiracies.

Thats why our organizations, the News Literacy Project and The Open Mind Legacy Project, are distributing public service announcements around the country this week to combat malicious fabrication, botsand online trolls that seek to mislead voters and suppress voting. These engaging and animated PSAs will seek to inoculate voters against viral deception about how and when they can vote and encourage them to be skeptical about the election information they encounter.

We fully expect the onslaught of disinformation to ramp up over these next weeks, including more pernicious and deliberate attempts to stymie voters and effectively deny them their franchise. Its essential to repel these efforts to dupe voters into believing that they can vote via text, social media, or telephone, that the election has been postponed or canceled, or that polling places have closed or moved.

Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and helped Donald Trump win. We look back at history and ask: Will they do it again? USA TODAY

Our PSAs, which will air in Spanish and English, debunk myths about voting,encourage voters to break out of their filter bubbles, and advise them to verify facts with multiple sources before sharing social media posts. The campaign will focus especially on Black and Latinx populations particularly hard hit by the pandemic that were targeted in previous election-related misinformation campaigns and remain vulnerable to suppression.

Don't be fooled:I'm a former CIA analyst trained to spot fake news. Here's how you can do it, too.

Earlier this year, during the initial stage of the coronavirus, Americans were voting in primaries and caucusing around the nation with little guidance on how to safely and reliably participate in our elections during a pandemic. Now, in addition to the continued public health advisories about mask wearing and social distancing, we need to increase public awareness to safeguard the countrys public life as well as our public health.

In the absence of more rigorous social media standards, spam protectionand the passage of legislation like the Honest Ads Act that establishes transparency in digital advertising, we know there will continue to be memes, robocallsand other nefarious online dirty tricks designed to hurt voters.

In 2016, most Americans did not know that they were victims of a cyberespionage campaign, and neither the government nor social media platforms wereable to protect the integrity of the airwaves or the digital ecosystem. This year can be different. Even during the pandemic, we have effective virtual means to communicate with our communities, neighbors, co-workersand classmates to ensure that the electorate stays informed.

Tory Burch:Don't take anything for granted. Voting now is as important as it was 100 years ago

We need to work together to preserve a fact-based future. Americans can protect themselves and our democracy by correcting misinformation in real time, staying vigilant for deepfakeor cheapfake videos, not sharing articles they have not read, and remaining skeptical about any information about voting they encounter. Remember: Voting depends on you, and democracy depends on us.

Alexander Heffner (@heffnera)is the host of The Open Mind on PBS and president of The Open Mind Legacy Project. Alan C. Miller (@alanmillerNLP) is the founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project.


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We're launching an election-season ad campaign to fight fake news, and we need your help - USA TODAY

Cooper: Nashville hiding information about COVID clusters in bars is ‘fake news’ – WSMV Nashville

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Mayor John Cooper called it "fake news" that Nashville is hiding information about its COVID clusters in bars.

The mayor spoke at length in a one-on-won interview with News4's Nancy Amons on Friday.

"It's a national story that no one locally believes is true," Cooper said.

National news outlets have latched onto questions of whether Nashville's mayor deliberately overstated the number of COVID cases tied to Nashville bars before shutting them down for two weeks on July 2.

Cooper's 14-day closure on the eve of the Fourth of July weekend angered bar owners.

Internal emails show that Metro's Health Department had traced only 19 COVID cases to bars since March.

Cooper told News4 the numbers were increasing and he wanted to prevent community spread, making the comparison between COVID case in a crowded indoor bar to lighting a match in a barn.

"This is just a group of people who have been playing with matches in a barn, complaining about taking the matches away," Cooper said.

The mayor of Nashville says his administration is committed to "providing timely and transparent information" in regards to public health.

Internal emails have raised questions about how information concerning the bar clusters was going to be released.

In an exchange between a health department employee and Ben Eagles, the Mayor's Senior Adviser, on June 29, Eagles asked the health department, "How many cases have spread at bars?"

The health department employee responds with a chart showing 19 cases, but asked, "This isn't going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor's Office?"

Eagles answered: "Correct, not for public consumption. To help understand and guide policy formulation."

Eagles told News4 Thursday the information was to form a policy to curb what had become a runaway spike in COVID cases.

"To paint the city as a big cover up, that's flatly untrue," Eagles said Thursday.

"We were tough early and that's why we're successful today," Cooper said Friday.

On July 2, the city disclosed that there had been an outbreak tied to 10 bars. News4 filed an Open Records request for the names of the bars and details about the clusters.

The health department wrote to News4 some six weeks later that there were no records available.

Cooper was asked about this on Friday.

"Will you reconsider releasing that information?" Amons asked Cooper.

"Sure, I mean I am going to sit down with the lawyers and public health. Anything that is more transparent, we are going to do," Cooper said.

Cooper added that the city has to be careful not to damage the reputation of a small business by saying there was a COVID outbreak there, especially if there's no proof.

Cooper issued a statement on Friday afternoon about the email exchange that has been the subject of a story at other media outlets.

Following an exchange of emails dating June 29th, 2020, between the Mayors office and Metro Public Health in which our administration gathered information about the sources of COVID-19 spread in Davidson County, the number of cases and clusters linked to Nashville bars was shared with media in response to a question during a press conference on July 2nd, 2020. FOX17 Nashville was at this press conference.

Among others, The Tennessean and NewsChannel 5s Phil Williams have fact-checked and debunked the allegations within FOX17s September 16th report. Mayor Cooper calls on the stations general manager, Noreen Parker, and the reporter, Dennis Ferrier, to apologize to all Nashvillians for misleading the city and eroding public trust through negligent reporting.

Members of Tennessee's Congressional delegation is speaking out about the controversy of whether Nashville Mayor John Cooper withheld health data.

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Cooper: Nashville hiding information about COVID clusters in bars is 'fake news' - WSMV Nashville

Conspiracy mentality linked to the acceptance of fake news about science – PsyPost

A study published in Politics and the Life Sciences suggests that a conspiracy mentality is linked to increased support for conspiracy theories and higher endorsement of fake news claims.

The nonacceptance of well-supported science is a pervasive problem in todays society. Support for pseudoscience is alarmingly common, and conspiracy theories and fake news claims are rampant on social media.

The proliferation of deceptive claims on social media has done a lot to normalize conspiracy, and to some extent conspiratorial worldviews, study authors Asheley R. Landrum and Alex Olshansky say. We can try to dismiss conspiracy theorizing as something undertaken only by a foil-hat-wearing fringe, however when our friends and neighbors (and sometimes ourselves) begin to believe and share conspiracies on social media, we must acknowledge that conspiracy theorizing is much more widespread.

Landrum and Olshansky wanted to explore factors that lead people towards a disbelief in science, by focusing on the role of conspiracy mentality.

A nearly nationally representative sample of 513 Americans was recruited to take part in an online survey. In order to capture data from individuals with heightened support for conspiracy theories, a separate sample of 21 adults recruited from a flat Earth convention was also included.

The survey measured scientific belief with questions addressing beliefs in climate change and evolution. The survey also questioned subjects belief in certain fake news topics proliferated on social media, such as the belief that the Zika virus was caused by the genetically modified mosquito or that childhood vaccinations are unsafe and cause disorders like autism. Conspiracy mentality was assessed by questioning subjects support for seven different conspiracy theories.

As expected, the sample recruited from the flat Earth conference had much stronger scores on the conspiracy mentality assessment than the national sample. Furthermore, 100% of those from the flat Earth convention reported not believing in climate change, while only 36% of the national sample did. While these findings seem to support the existence of a conspiracy mentality, when the two samples were merged, a conspiracy mentality did not predict the denial of climate change.

Greater conspiracy mentality did predict susceptibility to every fake news claim that was included in the survey (i.e., misleading claims about GMOs, the Zika virus, vaccinations, and a cure for cancer).

Support for these inaccurate, viral claims was not altogether uncommon. As the authors illustrate, About 56% of our national sample said it is likely or definitely true that Monsanto is covering up for the fact that GMOs cause cancer, and 32% of our national sample said that it is likely or definitely true that the Zika virus is caused by the genetically modified mosquito.

The authors stress, even though the number of individuals with pathological levels of conspiracy mentality is arguably small, viral fake news campaigns are dangerous because people who may not be conspiracy oriented are predisposed to accept conspiracies that support their worldviews.

The study was limited since it included a small number of items addressing scientific belief and the rejection of scientific fact. Future studies should aim to include assessments for a wider range of science-related beliefs.

The study, The role of conspiracy mentality in denial of science and susceptibility to viral deception about science, was authored by Asheley R. Landrum and Alex Olshansky.

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Conspiracy mentality linked to the acceptance of fake news about science - PsyPost

Man falsely accused of shooting deputies received threats – Los Angeles Times

Less than a day after two Los Angeles County sheriffs deputies were shot and wounded as they sat in their police cruiser outside a transit station in Compton, Darnell Hicks cellphone began to light up with messages from friends: He was identified as the alleged gunman in an alert circulated on social media.

Hicks, 33, a father of two and youth football coach from Compton who lives with his 93-year-old grandmother, then saw screenshots of something that seemed to be an official be on the lookout alert. It included his drivers license photograph, name and address and associated him with a Los Angeles gang.

A Twitter post characterized Hicks as wanted for attempted murder in connection with the shooting Saturday evening. The suspect has vowed to shoot more law enforcement officers, the fake alert added.

At first, Hicks said, he thought it was a prank. But then threats starting coming in as the post spread on social media.

It was terrible, he said. I feared for my familys safety.

He said he was dirt-biking in Compton all day Saturday, but that didnt stop people from questioning him.

I got so worried, I called in to the sheriffs station, he said.

Hicks said he didnt know who was behind the accusation and had no connection whatsoever to the shooting.

The post was retweeted and shared by bloggers. One Malaysia-based, conservative, self-styled independent journalist with more than 250,000 followers claimed he learned from sources that Hicks was the prime suspect.

The wounded 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy were on patrol Saturday evening, sitting in their SUV, when a man walked up to the vehicle, pointed a gun at the passenger window and fired multiple times. The deputies were hit in the face, head and arms. The suspect fled on foot and remains at large.

Hicks attorney, Brian Dunn, said the false accusation couldnt get much worse.

It is a sign of the times. We have drifted far away from rational thought, Dunn said.

He said that people were willing to make such accusations without a thought to the consequences and that he was still investigating the origins of the false report. The original poster removed it from Twitter. But others also claimed to have heard the information.

The Sheriffs Department took to Twitter on Sunday, calling the report erroneous and saying, There are no named or wanted suspects at this time.

Sheriff Alex Villaneuva said that his department never issued an alert and that the one on social media was fake news.

There was some bad information floating around yesterday about a suspect, he added in a briefing Monday. All that information is false.

Dunn said that it was impossible to undo the damage and that nobody has taken responsibility for it.

Hicks said he wanted to send my prayers to the two deputies. But he also worried about other young Black men, with such a generic description of the perpetrator floating around.

Community activist Jasmyne Cannick said the departments initial description of the suspect as dark-skinned and, then, as a Black male, age 28 to 30, opened the door to profiling.

Cannick, who works as a political strategist, became involved after she received calls from a friend of Hicks asking for her help.

What if he would have been killed? What if anybody would have thought he was the wanted suspect? she said. His kids, his 93-year-old grandmother could have got hurt.

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Man falsely accused of shooting deputies received threats - Los Angeles Times

Letter: No need to rely on fake news and ignore good Trump news – Thehour.com

Updated 12:11pm EDT, Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Recently Hearst columnist Jacqueline Smith wrote that she wasnt aware of the fake news that gets mentioned so often these days. Id like to call her attention to the article on page B8 of The Hour for Sept. 5. The article with the lead Trump denies calling war dead losers, suckers is a story based on anonymous sources, which appeared in The Atlantic and claimed Trump insulted the American war dead from WWI back in 2018.

The story is a malicious smear published by a magazine whose publisher made a $500,000 contribution to the Biden campaign. The smear is then followed up by the outraged Democrats who are accepting it as truth. The Associated Press story in your paper was 75 percent Democratic Party talking points about Democrats reaction to the story. These types of smears appear regularly in your paper: racist, homophobic, fascist, Russian spy, misogynist, etc. Nothing is too outrageous if its something negative about Trump.

Nowhere mentioned in the paper is the peace agreement between Serbia and Kosovo after decades of disputes and civil war. The agreement includes Kosovo, a 96-percent Muslim state, recognizing the state of Israel and establishing normal relations between the countries. This is just a few weeks after the announcement of the mutual recognition between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, another Muslim state. These may be baby steps to a Middle East solution, but in an area of the world where success has been elusive, the Trump administration should be given credit for making progress.

Theres no need to rely on fake news, made-up stories, and politically motivated hit pieces to fill your pages. There is real news out there, some of it good!

Paul Hunter


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Letter: No need to rely on fake news and ignore good Trump news - Thehour.com

DNA Exclusive: Fake news may trigger riots or create war-like situation between two nations – Zee News

New Delhi: The problem of fake news can have dangerous consequences and its impact was witnessed during the lockdown when a panic situation was created through social media. The fake news can now make or mar the fate of a country or a society, affecting the lives of millions of people. The DNA analysis looks at different aspects of this menace that can trigger riots or even create a war-like situation between the two countries.

Talking about its impact, MoS Home G Kishan Reddy told Parliament on Tuesday that the migration of a large number of workers was triggered by fake news during the lockdown. We can recall that thousands of people left from Delhi to their native place despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's advice to stay wherever they are.

Kishan Reddy told Lok Sabha that caused panic among workers who were forced to flee as they felt that if they stay in their house, they will not get food and water. The fake news was spread that the lockdown would last be too long.

In reply to TMC MP Mala Roy, who had asked the reasons why thousands of these labourers ended up walking home post lockdown, Reddy said, The migration of a large number of migrant workers was triggered by panic created by fake news regarding the duration of lockdown. And people, especially migrant labourers, were worried about an adequate supply of basic necessities like food, drinking water, health services and shelter."

Regarding the number of people who died during the said migration, Reddy said the Centre does not have the data as it is not maintained centrally.In the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, however, said that the Centre was 'fully prepared' in this regard. It had taken necessary measures to provide food and water to the poor, but due to rumour, the labourers thought it better to go home.

It may be noted here that on 28th and 29th March, thousands of migrant labourers gathered at Anand Vihar in Delhi. The topic of migrant labourers became the most preferred subject for politicians and intellectuals during the COVID-19 induced lockdown. A similar picture was also seen at Mumbai's Bandra railway station on April 14. The migrant labourers reached the railway station to catch a train for their native city.

Even after the lockdown was imposed, pictures of migrant labourers were seen across the country. It seemed as if the state governments were not trying to stop these people. Perhaps, the states too wanted that the migrant labourers should return to their native places. In such a situation, fake news has created a worse situation for the migrant labourers.

In India, there are about 4 crore migrant labourers who go away from their homes and work in another state. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, about 75 lakh labourers returned to their homes till May this year. It means one in every 5 migrant labourers went back to their state. There is a possibility that all these people become victims of fake news.

The fake news not only causes riots it can also harm the economy and society of a country. Nowadays, big countries are adopting this method to fight against their enemies. This can also be termed a hybrid war.

Fake news was recently spread on social media on the 4th September, claiming that a Chinese fighter jet Sukhoi-35 was shot down by Taiwan's air defence system as it was entering into the Taiwan border. A 15-second fake video was also shared with this claim. This fake news spread like a wildfire across the world in a few hours, but neither China nor Taiwan confirmed this news. The website which published the denial of this news had also crashed.

Last month, a journalist tweeted fake news about the death of former President Pranab Mukherjee, and it was retweeted by many in a few seconds without confirming it. Later, Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijeet Mukherjee tweeted to deny this and the fake news was deleted.

During anti-CAA protests also, fake news was used to create an atmosphere in the country against the ruling dispensation. Due to the increasing trend of fake news, this has been formally incorporated into the Oxford Dictionary last year. It says that term was first used in the year 1890.

The first case of fake news in modern times is believed to have appeared in the year 1835. The then American newspaper, The Sun, claimed to have found life on the moon, and it also published some photographs.

Perhaps the world's first fake news is associated with the Mahabharata period when Yudhishthira had disclosed the fake new of Ashwathama's death before Guru Dronacharya, who then decided not to fight and was beheaded by Draupadi's brother.

Now the question arises how to ascertains the truth behind any fake news. You just need to take some precautions. There are three sides to fake posts on social media. One who posted, the other service provider, and the third segment is of those who liked or shared the post.

To identify fake news, you should see from where the news has come, and from where did it start. After that, you should check the veracity of the news with the help of a search engine. Don't share any news until you are confident about it. The sharing of fake news may put you behind the bar for 3 years under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000.

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DNA Exclusive: Fake news may trigger riots or create war-like situation between two nations - Zee News

With the election campaign underway, can the law protect voters from fake news and conspiracy theories? – The Conversation AU

Last weekends anti-lockdown protest in Auckland provided a snapshot of the various conspiracy theories and grievances circulating online and within the community: masks, vaccination, QAnon, 5G technology, government tyranny and COVID-19 were all in the mix.

The freedom rally also featured Advance NZ party leaders Jami-Lee Ross and Billy Te Kahika, who has previously described COVID-19 as no more serious than influenza.

The same scepticism about the pandemic was reportedly behind the Mt Roskill Evangelical Church cluster and spread, which prompted Health Minister Chris Hipkins to ask that people think twice before sharing information that cant be verified.

Hipkins also refused to rule out punitive measures for anyone found to be deliberately spreading lies.

Its not a new problem. As far back as 1688, the English Privy Council issued a proclamation prohibiting the spread of false information. The difference in the 21st century, of course, is the reach and speed of fake news and disinformation.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has even spoken of a massive infodemic hindering the public health response to COVID-19: an over-abundance of information some accurate and some not that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.

This is particularly dangerous when people are already anxious and politically polarised. Disinformation spreads fastest where freedom is greatest, including in New Zealand where everyone has the right under the Bill of Rights Act to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

This leads to an anomaly. On the one hand, people using misleading or deceptive information to market products (including medicines) can be held to account, and advertising must be responsible. On the other hand, spreading misleading or deceptive ideas is not, as a rule, illegal.

Read more: The Facebook prime minister: how Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand's most successful political influencer

However, there are restrictions on free speech when it comes to offensive behaviour and language, racial discrimination and sexual harassment. We also censor objectionable material and police harmful digital communications that target individuals.

So, should we add COVID-19 conspiracies and disinformation to that list? The answer is probably not. And if we do, we should be very specific.

Deciding who gets caught in the net and defining what information is harmful to the public is a very slippery slope. Furthermore, the internet has many corners to hide in and may be near impossible to police.

Given those spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation tend to believe already in government overreach, we risk pouring petrol on the fire by attempting to ban their activities.

The exception, where further restraint is justified, involves attempts to use misinformation or undue influence (especially by a foreign power) to manipulate elections. This is where a more focused approach to who and what is targeted makes sense.

Countries such Canada, the UK, France and Australia are all grappling with how best to protect their democracies from manipulation of information, but these initiatives are still in their infancy.

Read more: NZ's cyber security centre warns more attacks likely following stock market outages

In New Zealand we have a law prohibiting the publishing of false statements to influence voters, and the Justice Committee put out an excellent report on the 2017 general election that covered some of these points and urged vigilance.

While tools such as Netsafes fake news awareness campaign and official COVID-19 information sources are excellent, they are not enough on their own.

The best line of defence against malicious information is still education. Scientific literacy and critical thinking are crucial. Good community leadership, responsible journalism and academic freedom can all contribute.

But if that isnt enough, what can we do about the platforms where disinformation thrives?

Conventional broadcasters must make reasonable efforts to present balanced information and viewpoints.

But that kind of balance is much harder to enforce in the decentralised, instantaneous world of social media. The worst example of this, the live-streamed terror attack in Christchurch, led to the Christchurch Call. Its a noble initiative, but controlling this modern hydra will be a long battle.

Read more: Survey shows 1 in 4 New Zealanders remain hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine

Attempts to control misinformation on Facebook, Twitter and Google through self-regulation and warning labels are welcome. But the work is slow and ad-hoc. The European Commission is now proposing new rules to formalise the social media platforms responsibility and liability for their content.

Like tobacco, that content might not be prohibited, but citizens should be warned about what theyre consuming even if it comes from the president of the United States.

The final line of defence would be to make individuals who spread fake news liable to prosecution. Many countries have already begun to make such laws, with China and Russia at the forefront.

The risk, of course, is that social media regulation can disguise political censorship designed to target dissent. For that reason we need to treat this option with extreme caution.

But if the tolerance of our liberal democracy is too sorely tested in the forthcoming election, and if all other defences prove inadequate, new laws that strengthen the protection of the electoral process may well be justified.

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With the election campaign underway, can the law protect voters from fake news and conspiracy theories? - The Conversation AU

Think more, share less: How to avoid falling for misinformation, disinformation and fake news – KING5.com

Cleansing the internet of lies and propaganda starts with being a better and more proactive information consumer. Sponsored by AARP Washington.

SEATTLE Disinformation and misinformation run rampant on the internet, muddling the discourse in maddening, sometimes dangerous ways. Combating this tidal wave questionable information is a difficult, but necessary, task facing all of us.

If you gave me a magic wand, one of the first things I would do would be to inject media literacy into every single classroom not just in high school, not just at universities, but all the way down to elementary school kids, said Jevin West, director of the nonpartisan Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington. Everyone is susceptible to this and if we can improve the information consumers, that to me is one of the best antidotes that we have.

For the adults out there, West says there are ways to self-improve your online discourse, and that its never too late to be better in cyberspace. His biggest piece of advice? Think more, share less.

There's this idea that we simply just need to share and like on things that we immediately see and get an emotional reaction for. If the world would slow down the spread of information in general, it would definitely give us all a chance to try and vet the information that's coming.

Learning to evaluate sources of what may seem like too-good-to-be-true (or worse, too-bad-to-be-true) stories is an important part of weeding out the garbage. He explained doing further research on new sites is vital to determining accuracy: learn about a site's history, their owners and their political leanings.

Curating a network of respected, trusted sources can help you evaluate some of the more outlandish things you encounter on social media. Fact-checking sites like Snopesand PolitiFactare two examples that work to ferret out mis- and disinformation.

Additionally, supporting local news-gathering efforts staffed by local journalists who know your community is a crucial part of maintaining an informed democracy.

I think it's one of the saddest stories right now, West said. Across America these news deserts that are popping up these places that used to have local papers that don't have them, used to have local stations that don't have them it's one of the most important things we can do because people are going to trust local media better.

And unfortunately that's just all going away and people are going to the internet and just finding a lot of pollution and garbage.

Finally, West says one of the easiest ways to be a better consumer and sharer of information online is to admit when you are wrong.

Don't double down. That seems to be the trend of everyone on the internet now it's to double down. Admit mistakes, do your best to let those that you spread this to know that it was a mistake. But simply admit the mistake and don't double down. I think we need to do more of that our leaders need to be doing more of that and we can at least start with ourselves.

To help Washingtonians better sort fact from fiction, AARP, the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington and BECU are offering a four-part series of free online events called Sorting Fact from Fiction: Finding truth in an infodemic. The event is open to everyone. Pre-registration is required. Sign up now at AARP.org/factfromfiction.

KING 5'sNew Day Northwestpresents Sorting Fact From Fiction. Sponsored byAARP Washingtonin partnership with theCenter for an Informed Public at the University of WashingtonandBECU. All segments available atking5.com/factfromfiction.

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Think more, share less: How to avoid falling for misinformation, disinformation and fake news - KING5.com

‘The Social Dilemma’: Netflix’s documentary and what it means for startups – EU-Startups

If you havent heard of it yet, The Social Dilemma is the new Netflix documentary that launched this August 2020 to an eager audience, after being selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2020.

You probably think that youve heard it all before when it comes to the subjects of social media addiction, personal data protection and fake news, but this documentary offers something different. Its led by interviews with the great minds of Silicon Valley that actually created Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, such as the co-inventor of the Facebook Like button, Justin Rosenstein, and the former President of Pinterest and former Director of Monetization at Facebook, Tim Kendall, to name just a few. Its this element that makes us sit up and listen.

The world has long recognised the benefits of social media, from connecting families across borders, to acting as an organisational tool for activists. However, the dark side of social media has also reared its ugly head, exasperating issues such as mental health, bullying, political polarization, fake news and misinformation, and even riots and conflict.

Lets go back to how social media platforms work. Its clear that by being free for users, social media platforms are built to treat our attention as the product, which is then sold to advertisers. Its the goal, therefore, of social media platforms to take the most addictive elements of human psychology and pair them with deep personalisation technologies, in order to present us with exactly what we want to see, cause us to use up more and more of our time, and sell our attention to advertisers.

However, what this documentary also highlights is that fake news spreads 6 times faster than true news, making this the king of online content. What this means is that social media platforms are perpetuating an online (and now offline) world where truth is irrelevant, as long asthe content getsas many views and likes as possible. When you add to the mix the fact that Facebook has found that they can actually affect real-world behaviours and emotions, without users even being aware of it, this all results in real-life (offline) effects such as governments and other organisations weaponising social media to incite political polarisation, conflicts, riots, and even violence.

What we also learn through this documentary is that even the people that created these social media platforms are not immune to the negative side effects of these apps, and feel powerless as they watch them not only suck away hours of our personal lives for profit, but on a wider level cause mass conflict and political unrest.

But what does this have to do with startups? Well, a lot, actually. Lets jump into it.

Paying for reach

If you didnt know that the monetisation strategy of Facebook is to sell advertising to companies, then this may explain why your startups business accounts are not reaching many people when you post free (organic) posts. Increasingly, companies like Facebook are reducing the reach of organic postings made by business accounts, in order to entice companies like yours to spend money on promotions. What can you do about it? Set aside a paid media budget for the future. A well-timed piece of content sent to the right audience can be incredibly effective, but make sure that you have a strategy to avoid wasting your cents.

Market dominance

What this documentary also highlights is that big tech companies simply have too much market power. A power imbalance such as this means that large tech companies are not only influencing our personal and political environments, but also single handedly determining how the internet of the future is being shaped. This is restricting innovation across areas such as news, visual media, cloud storage, communication like calls and messaging, and more. A fairer competitive environment would see more opportunity for Europes startups to develop and grow their innovations. How could this be achieved? Regulations. The challenge is that, with national and supranational bodies (like the EU) adhering to lengthy approval processes, oftentimes technology out-innovates any new regulation that comes in.

Reduced productivity at work

As explained in the documentary, social mediainherently turns your psychology against you so that you stay stuck to the screen,and is now classed as anaddictive activity. While will power has a large part to play in staying focused at work, founders and team leaders at work should recognise that users are battling some pretty powerful forces here. If youre leading a team in your startup, it could be worth having a think about starting an open and non-judgmental dialogue with the team to share useful tips (such as downloading an app that restricts your daily use), or agree on any measures like turning off notifications on desktop. The challenge here is to not assume the worst (as many team members may have already got it under control) and to focus on mental health where appropriate.

Founder and startup profiles

While its tempting to panic and just delete all of your accounts having watched the documentary, its worth remembering that businesses nowadays need to have a presence on social media to maintain visibility in front of customers and partners. For your startup, think about whether you really need all of your accounts and where your customers are hanging out online. For instance, a B2C foodtech startup might require an Instagram account to promote their product to customers, however a B2B AI startup might not find their target on this platform. Founders could consider whether its worth it to have personal and professional accounts on all platforms, and where they lose the most time scrolling.

Opportunity for fake news startups

Finally, a silver lining. With big tech companies like Facebook failing to curb fake news and misinformation, a market opportunity has popped up for startups to fill the gap. Whether its fake news, deep fakes, disinformation or the deliberate spreading of false information, European startups are already at the forefront of the fight. Check out this list that we published recently to meet the rising stars of this sector and even use some of their products yourself: 10 European startups fighting fake news and disinformation.

Will you watch the documentary? Let us know how your startup manages the opportunities and challenges presented by social media, and check out these articles for more tips: 10 useful social media tips for early-stage startups and 10 steps to your startups first influencer marketing campaign.

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'The Social Dilemma': Netflix's documentary and what it means for startups - EU-Startups

Election fake news weekly report to monitor New Zealand campaigning – RNZ

Fake news is already hitting New Zealand's election campaign, with a weekly research group pointing to NZ Public Party and the New Conservatives as the main offenders so far.

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

Victoria University researchers Dr Mona Krewel and Professor Jack Vowles have joined a project monitoring social media during election campaigning, identifying fake news.

Part of the challenge is to assess if techniques such as data mining or misinformation has intruded onto the campaign trail here as has been identified in some overseas elections and referenda.

Dr Krewel told RNZ Morning Report's Corin Dann that, backed by an army of coders, they would be publishing findings on a weekly basis starting this week.

"We have our coders and they have a huge thing which we call a codebook and they go through all the Facebook posts and have a definition of what fake news is.

"We also ask the coders to fact check, so if they are not fully sure that something could be fake news we ask them to actually kind of Google this, go to traditional media, to reliable sources like your radio station for example, and look if this has already been called out as fake news."

She said they had defined fake news as "stories that are completely or for the most part made up and intentionally and verifiably false to mislead voters".

"On the fake news half-truth side, I would say it's mostly the New Zealand Public Party and New Conservatives that engage in a little bit of that."

Many other metrics would also be examined, including looking at misinformation, negative versus positive campaigning, inclusion of Mori, and many more things, presented in interactive graphs.

"If it's flying below the radar of fake news ... If it's not entirely or for the most part made up, does it still contain some half truths or somewhat questionable regarding its factual accuracy," Dr Krewel said.

She says the coders are already training and have some initial results.

"My current impression is that they are campaigning very fair ... a little bit of negative campaigning we are starting to see."

She said New Zealand was a very different landscape than the US, and was more likely to see New Zealand-made fake news than high volumes of Russian bots and articles created by state actors.

"It's definitely the other end ... I would imagine that for the US and particularly the upcoming presidential election we would see a very high bar for fake news and negative campaigning, this is also due to the electoral system, it's a two-party system so you have a clear antagonist who you attack, which is different from the multi-party system.

"We still see high-quality democratic campaigning in New Zealand overall."

Dr Krewel said this New Zealand project was based on the Campsource group that had followed other elections overseas, but would be different in that results would be published weekly during the election campaign, instead of afterwards.

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Election fake news weekly report to monitor New Zealand campaigning - RNZ