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Category Archives: Fake News

TOTALLY NOT FAKE NEWS: The Texans Off-Season Off to a Fast and Furious Start… – Battle Red Blog

Posted: February 2, 2023 at 11:26 pm

TOTALLY NOT FAKE NEWS: The Texans Off-Season Off to a Fast and Furious Start...  Battle Red Blog

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What would happen if a space rock crashed into your town? Find out with this simulator – CW39 Houston

Posted: January 23, 2023 at 6:22 pm

What would happen if a space rock crashed into your town? Find out with this simulator  CW39 Houston

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Did Fake News On Facebook Help Elect Trump? Here’s What We Know – NPR.org

Posted: January 10, 2023 at 6:53 pm

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Tuesday. Pool/Getty Images hide caption

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Tuesday.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before a joint Senate Committee on Wednesday, he led off with a mea culpa. Just a few paragraphs into his opening statement, he took personal responsibility for the disinformation:

"[I]t's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here."

After the 2016 election, many feared that fake news articles spread on Facebook swayed the results of the election. It's a broad but reasonable leap to make: many purveyors of fake news aimed to help Trump win, and lo and behold, Trump won.

But among people who study fake news, it's not at all clear how much if at all those articles swayed the election.

With that in mind, here's a look at several facts we do know about the role fake news played in the 2016 election. It's by no means an exhaustive review of all the studies done on fake news since the election, but it is a start at digging into the complicated factors at play here.

1. Social media heavily drove fake news

Social media plays a bigger role in bringing people to fake news sites than it plays in bringing them to real news sites. More than 40 percent of visits to 65 fake news sites come from social media, compared to around 10 percent of visits to 690 top US news sites, according to a 2017 study by researchers from NYU and Stanford.

And another study suggests Facebook was a major conduit for this news. The more people used Facebook, the more fake news they consumed, as Princeton's Andrew Guess, Dartmouth University's Brendan Nyhan, and the University of Exeter's Jason Reifler found.

That study also found that Facebook was "among the three previous sites visited by respondents in the prior 30 seconds for 22.1 percent of the articles from fake news websites we observe in our web data." But it was only in the prior sites visited for around 6 percent of real news articles.

2. Fake news had a wide reach

More than one-quarter of voting-age adults visited a fake news website supporting either Clinton or Trump in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, according to estimates from Guess and his co-authors. That information was gleaned from a sample of more than 2,500 Americans' web traffic data collected (with consent) from October and November of 2016.

Some posts, in particular spread, especially far: In the months leading up to the election, the top 20 fake news stories had more shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook (8.7 million engagements) than the 20 top hard news stories (7.3 million engagements), according to a Buzzfeed analysis.

Importantly, this doesn't mean that fake news itself had a broader reach than hard news. Indeed, in either category, 20 stories are just a tiny slice of a gigantic universe of news stories.

"There is a long tail of stories on Facebook," a Facebook spokesman told BuzzFeed. "It may seem like the top stories get a lot of traction, but they represent a tiny fraction of the total."

It does, however, show on a basic level that millions of people interacted with these kinds of stories.

3. ... but it appears a small share of people read a large share of the fake news

Only an estimated 10 percent of Americans account for nearly 60 percent of visits to fake news sites, according to that study from Princeton's Guess and his co-authors. Not only that, but that 10 percent is the 10 percent of people with the "most conservative information diets."

That suggests that, at least as far as reading fake news articles goes, fake news may have served largely to influence already-decided voters. One could reasonably assume that those one-in-ten uber-conservative people who read the most fake news stories were unlikely to ever vote for Clinton.

Perhaps relatedly, Guess and his co-authors also found that fake news articles were heavily pro-Trump: People saw an average of 5.45 fake news articles during the month-and-a-half-long study...and that 5.00 of those articles were pro-Trump. (But once again, extremes make averages; a small share of heavy fake-news readers drove that average up.)

4. People are bad at remembering fake news (or, more precisely, they're good at misremembering it)

Sure, maybe one-quarter of Americans saw a fake news story...but did it stick? One early-2017 study cast doubt on this. In it, researchers from NYU and Stanford presented people with a series of fake news headlines, as well as a series of fake-fake news headlines (that is, headlines the researchers made up).

Fifteen percent of respondents said they recalled seeing the "real" fake news headlines, and eight percent said they believed the headlines. But then, 14 percent said they remembered the fake fake news headlines, and eight percent likewise said they believed those headlines.

That result could mean that a sizable chunk of Americans are so set in their beliefs that they are easily convinced of falsehoods, as the New York Times's Neil Irwin wrote:

"That's a strong indication about what is going on with consumers of fake news. It may be less that false information from dubious news sources is shaping their view of the world. Rather, some people (about 8 percent of the adult population, if we take the survey data at face value) are willing to believe anything that sounds plausible and fits their preconceptions about the heroes and villains in politics."

Indeed, the authors found that "Democrats and Republicans, respectively, are 17.2 and 14.7 percentage points more likely to believe ideologically aligned articles than they are to believe nonaligned articles."

That doesn't mean fake news swung the election; the authors are careful to say that their study doesn't show that. But it is further evidence of how susceptible people are to believing ideas they already want to believe.

5. Fake news studies have important caveats

OK, pretty much every study has an important caveat and fake news studies are no different. Any time there's a headline saying that a study shows that fake news did or did not sway the election, there's probably some sort of mitigating information to consider.

For example: That study from Gross and his co-authors was taken by many to have meant that fake news had "little impact." But it's more complicated than that.

The study found that a small number of people clicked on a lot of fake news stories, and that fake news stories are also a small fraction of most people's information diets.

But people encounter fake news in other ways. As Slate's Morten Bay pointed out, "The study had an important limitation: It looked only at Facebook users who actually clicked on one of the fake news links littering their news feeds during the election."

In other words, headlines whizzing past you on Facebook not just the articles you end up clicking on may well be affecting how you think about politics.

(And while some news coverage may have overstated the findings of the study, the authors themselves told Slate that they "did not measure how much fake news affected an individual's opinions about the election or whether fake news affected the outcome of the election.")

Likewise, in a recent study from Ohio State University, the authors say that their data "strongly suggest...that exposure to fake news did have a significant impact on voting decisions."

That study looked at the survey responses from 585 people who claimed to be Obama 2012 voters. This survey was conducted in December 2016 and January 2017.

Among other survey questions, the authors included three fake news statements that had been widely circulated during campaign 2016 two negative statements about Clinton and one positive statement about Trump.

They found that "belief in these fake news stories is very strongly linked to defection from the Democratic ticket by 2012 Obama voters."

The authors control for as many variables as possible (ideology, education, attitudes toward Trump and Clinton, social media usage), but importantly, they do not have direct evidence that respondents were exposed to these fake news stories before they voted.

And other researchers are skeptical as well. Dartmouth University Political Science Professor Brendan Nyhan (also one of Guess' co-authors) noted, asking people about their beliefs after the election presents its own problems: "[C]orrelations with post-hoc self-reported beliefs [do not equal] evidence of causal effects for vote choice or turnout," he tweeted.

The study suggests that self-reported Obama-to-Trump voters could have been more susceptible to believing fake news stories. However, as the authors themselves write, there's no way, using this data, to prove that fake news caused some voters to swing from Obama to Trump.

6. There are many potential impacts of fake news that go well beyond determining the results of the 2016 election.

Even if (if) it's true that fake news didn't swing the 2016 election, that doesn't mean fake news isn't still worrisome.

"It can confuse people, it can turn people off from politics it can have a lot of negative effects that we're only beginning to understand," Guess said in an interview.

For example, it's still troubling if fake news convinces people at the extreme liberal or conservative end of the spectrum of things that aren't true even if it doesn't change their votes.

And there is evidence that fake news is effective at changing beliefs. One 2017 study from researchers at Yale University found that the more people were exposed to a given fake news statement, they more they believed it.

That's good news for fake news writers and the creators of Russian bots and hypothetical 400-lb. hackers in New Jersey. If it's true that showing people the same headline multiple times makes them believe it, all fake news purveyors need to do is be persistent and hope that they continue to have platforms like Facebook for posting the things they make up.

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Working to Stop Misinformation and False News – Facebook

Posted: at 6:53 pm

We know people want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we.

False news is harmful to our community, it makes the world less informed, and it erodes trust. It's not a new phenomenon, and all of us tech companies, media companies, newsrooms, teachers have a responsibility to do our part in addressing it. At Meta, we're working to fight the spread of false news in three key areas:

Disrupting Economic Incentives

When it comes to fighting false news, one of the most effective approaches is removing the economic incentives for traffickers of misinformation. We've found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated. These spammers make money by masquerading as legitimate news publishers and posting hoaxes that get people to visit their sites, which are often mostly ads.

Some of the steps we're taking include:

Building New Products

We're building, testing and iterating on new products to identify and limit the spread of false news. We cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves it's not feasible given our scale, and it's not our role. Instead, we're working on better ways to hear from our community and work with third parties to identify false news and prevent it from spreading on our platform.

Some of the work includes:

Helping People Make More Informed Decisions

Though we're committed to doing everything we can to reduce the spread of false news to as close to zero as possible, we also need to make sure we take steps to address the problem when people do encounter hoaxes. To that end, we're exploring ways to give people more context about stories so they can make more informed decisions about what to read, trust and share and ways to give people access to more perspectives about the topics that they're reading.

Some of the work we've been focused on includes:

We need to work across industries to help solve this problem: technology companies, media companies, educational organizations and our own community can come together to help curb the spread of misinformation and false news. By focusing on the three key areas outlined above, we hope we will make progress toward limiting the spread of false news and toward building a more informed community on Facebook.

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FAKE NEWS FAILING: The Washington Post Has Lost 500K Subscribers Since …

Posted: at 6:53 pm

Pushing fake news is bad for business.

The Washington Post has lost 500,000 subscribers since Joe Biden took office.

In 2021, The Washington Post had 3 million subscribers that number dropped to 2.5 million in 2022.

This has led to The Washington Post also seeing a decline in revenue they are not expected to make a profit this year.

TRENDING: Speaker McCarthy Moves to Remove Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff and Ilhan Omar from Congressional Committees

The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Former president Donald Trump often said he was the best thing to ever happen to the Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets.

He was right.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Jeff Bezos-owned publication has lost 500,000 subscribers since Trump left office in January 2021, which amounts to a decline of roughly 20 percent. The Post is on track to lose money in 2022 after years of profitability. The New York Times reported in August that the Posts business has stalled since President Joe Biden was sworn in, and layoffs are being discussed amid managements frustration with numerous low performers in the newsroom.

The papers animosity towards conservatives is likely one of the factors that is leading to the papers decline.

Conservatives dont want to read fake news.

Red State reported:

That is stark. 500,000 readers have vaporized in the past two years. It underscores in hard numbers the kind of challenge being faced across the media spectrum. Now certainly, there are a number of factors leading to this type of audience flight. The economy looms, the advertising sector has been collapsing, and the widening diversification in media continues. But WaPo has also been exacerbating this demise. You do not lose half a million subscribers over that period if you are putting out enough quality to retain interest.

Consistently, this paper has been antagonistic to a sector of its audience. The national paper located within the nations capital has made it rather clear it harbors an animous towards Republicans/conservatives, so the motivation from that sector to continue funding the insults and attacks is diminished. Then you have the rather apparent antagonism towards journalism ethics.

This is the paper that has allowed Taylor Lorenz to run rampant this year. It is home to the laughably facts-averse fact-checker Glenn Kessler. It claims to have balanced editorial perspectives by retaining Democrats-in-conservative-clothing columnists Jennifer Rubin and Max Boot. It continues to pretend Philip Bump is a reasoned and cerebral source of commentary.

When will the media learn and start giving conservatives fair coverage?

For the antidote to media bias, check out ProTrumpNews.com

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Types of fake news: Know the difference between misinformation and disinformation – News9 LIVE

Posted: January 8, 2023 at 11:13 am

Types of fake news: Know the difference between misinformation and disinformation  News9 LIVE

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Types of fake news: Know the difference between misinformation and disinformation - News9 LIVE

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Fact Check: WEF’s Statement To Bathe Once A Week To Combat Climate Change. Is It True? – Outlook India

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Fact Check: WEF's Statement To Bathe Once A Week To Combat Climate Change. Is It True?  Outlook India

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How fake news gets into our minds, and what you can do to resist it

Posted: December 25, 2022 at 5:00 am

Although the term itself is not new, fake news presents a growing threat for societies across the world.

Only a small amount of fake news is needed to disrupt a conversation, and at extremes it can have an impact on democratic processes, including elections.

Read more: We made deceptive robots to see why fake news spreads, and found a weakness

But what can we do to avoid fake news, at a time when we could be waiting a while for mainstream media and social networks to step up and address the problem?

From a psychology perspective, an important step in tackling fake news is to understand why it gets into our mind. We can do this by examining how memory works and how memories become distorted.

Using this viewpoint generates some tips you can use to work out whether youre reading or sharing fake news which might be handy in the coming election period.

Fake news often relies on misattribution instances in which we can retrieve things from memory but cant remember their source.

Misattribution is one of the reasons advertising is so effective. We see a product and feel a pleasant sense of familiarity because weve encountered it before, but fail to remember that the source of the memory was an ad.

One study examined headlines from fake news published during the 2016 US Presidential Election.

The researchers found even one presentation of a headline (such as Donald Trump Sent His Own Plane to Transport 200 Stranded Marines, based on claims shown to be false) was enough to increase belief in its content. This effect persisted for at least a week, was still found when headlines were accompanied by a factcheck warning, and even when participants suspected it might be false.

Repeated exposure can increase the sense that misinformation is true. Repetition creates the perception of group consensus that can result in collective misremembering, a phenomenon called the Mandela Effect.

It might be harmless when people collectively misremember something fun, such as a childhood cartoon (did the Queen in Disneys Snow White really NOT say Mirror, mirror?). But it has serious consequences when a false sense of group consensus contributes to rising outbreaks of measles.

Scientists have investigated whether targeted misinformation can promote healthy behaviour. Dubbed false-memory diets, it is said that false memories of food experiences can encourage people to avoid fatty foods, alcohol and even convince them to love asparagus.

Creative people that have a strong ability to associate different words are especially susceptible to false memories. Some people might be more vulnerable than others to believe fake news, but everyone is at risk.

Bias is how our feelings and worldview affect the encoding and retrieval of memory. We might like to think of our memory as an archivist that carefully preserves events, but sometimes its more like a storyteller. Memories are shaped by our beliefs and can function to maintain a consistent narrative rather than an accurate record.

An example of this is selective exposure, our tendency to seek information that reinforces our pre-existing beliefs and to avoid information that brings those beliefs into question. This effect is supported by evidence that television news audiences are overwhelmingly partisan and exist in their own echo chambers.

It was thought that online communities exhibit the same behaviour, contributing to the spread of fake news, but this appears to be a myth. Political news sites are often populated by people with diverse ideological backgrounds and echo chambers are more likely to exist in real life than online.

Our brains are wired to assume things we believe originated from a credible source. But are we more inclined to remember information that reinforces our beliefs? This is probably not the case.

People who hold strong beliefs remember things that are relevant to their beliefs but they remember opposing information too. This happens because people are motivated to defend their beliefs against opposing views.

Belief echoes are a related phenomenon that highlight the difficulty of correcting misinformation. Fake news is often designed to be attention-grabbing.

It can continue to shape peoples attitudes after it has been discredited because it produces a vivid emotional reaction and builds on our existing narratives.

Corrections have a much smaller emotional impact, especially if they require policy details, so should be designed to satisfy a similar narrative urge to be effective.

The way our memory works means it might be impossible to resist fake news completely.

Read more: How to help kids navigate fake news and misinformation online

But one approach is to start thinking like a scientist. This involves adopting a questioning attitude that is motivated by curiosity, and being aware of personal bias.

For fake news, this might involve asking ourselves the following questions:

What type of content is this? Many people rely on social media and aggregators as their main source of news. By reflecting on whether information is news, opinion or even humour, this can help consolidate information more completely into memory.

Where is it published? Paying attention to where information is published is crucial for encoding the source of information into memory. If something is a big deal, a wide variety of sources will discuss it, so attending to this detail is important.

Who benefits? Reflecting on who benefits from you believing the content helps consolidate the source of that information into memory. It can also help us reflect on our own interests and whether our personal biases are at play.

Some people tend to be more susceptible to fake news because they are more accepting of weak claims.

But we can strive to be more reflective in our open-mindedness by paying attention to the source of information, and questioning our own knowledge if and when we are unable to remember the context of our memories.

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How fake news gets into our minds, and what you can do to resist it

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TOTALLY NOT FAKE NEWS: No Time to Celebrate for the TexansThey Got Football To Play – Battle Red Blog

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TOTALLY NOT FAKE NEWS: No Time to Celebrate for the TexansThey Got Football To Play  Battle Red Blog

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FAKE NEWS | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Posted: December 21, 2022 at 3:48 am

Ban called the attacks part of a "fake news" campaign to discredit him and his family. However, the rash of fake news is a relatively new problem. Some purveyors of fake news might regard a "disputed" tag as a badge of honor. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. Among its recommendations: plant fake news and promote exaggerated polling data. Hackers, fake news, conspiracy theories tweeted and retweeted. Does the company accept any responsibility for the propagation of fake news via its platform? Fake news exists primarily to generate profit through web traffic. People should be concerned when public officials defend the practice of spreading fake news. And then there's all of that fake news. But the growth of social media has made it possible to spread fake news farther and easier than ever before. It wasn't until the rise of web-generated news that our era's journalistic norms were seriously challenged, and fake news became a powerful force again. This is a small step, and one that won't solve the broader problem of "fake news" and the lack of faith in our institutions.

These examples are from corpora and from sources on the web. Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors.

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FAKE NEWS | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary

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