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Category Archives: Fake News

We can’t trust big tech or the government to weed out fake news, but a public-led approach just might work – The Conversation AU

Posted: February 25, 2021 at 1:56 am

The federal governments News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which passed the Senate today, makes strong points about the need to regulate misinformation.

In response, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, TikTok, Redbubble and Twitter have agreed to abide by a code of conduct targeting misinformation.

Suspiciously, however, the so-called Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation was developed by, well, these same companies. Behind it is the Digital Industries Group (DIGI), an association formed by them and some other companies.

In self-regulating, they hope to show the government theyre addressing the proliferation of misinformation (false content spread despite intent to deceive) and disinformation (content that intends to deceive) on their platforms.

But the only real commitment under the code would be to appear to be doing something. Since the code is voluntary, the platforms signed up can basically opt in to the measures at their own discretion.

The code suggests platforms might release data trends about known misinformation, or might label known false content or content spread by seemingly unreliable sources. They might identify and restrict paid political ads trying to deceive users, or they might reveal the sources of misinformation.

These are all great actions the platforms might take, as they arent bound by the code. Rather, the code will likely encourage them to police misinformation around an issue of the day by taking visible action around one topic, without confronting the spread of other profitable false information on their platforms.

The consequences of this would be great. False news can lead to dangerous conspiracies and armed attacks. It can even influence elections, which we saw in 2019 when Facebook hosted posts claiming the Labor party would introduce a death tax on inheritance. Things quickly spiralled.

The government has promised tougher regulation of misinformation if it feels the voluntary code isnt working. Although, we should be careful about allowing the powerful regulate the powerful.

Its unclear, for instance, whether the Morrison government would view posts about a supposed Labor death tax as being a real threat to democracy even though this is misinformation.

Read more: How political parties legally harvest your data and use it to bombard you with election spam

Regulating speech on the internet is difficult. In particular, misinformation is hard to define because often the distinction between genuinely dangerous misinformation, and valued myth or opinion, is based on a communitys values.

The latter is information that may not be accurate but which people still have a right to express. For instance:

Nickelback is the best band on the planet.

This is probably untrue. But the statement is relatively harmless. While the actual truthfullness is lacking, its subjective nature is clear. Considering this nuance, the solution then is for misinformation to be policed by the community itself, not an elite body.

Reset Australia, an independent group that targets digital threats to democracy, recently proposed a project in which interested tech platforms and members of the public could be subscribed to a live list of the most popular misinformation content.

A citizen-run jury could monitor the list to help ensure public oversight. This would involve the whole public sphere in the debate about misinformation, not just the government and platforms.

Once fake news is in the open, it becomes easier for public figures, journalists and academics to expose.

Another effective strategy would be to create a national register of misinformation sources and content. Anyone could register what they think is misinformation to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, helping it quickly identify malicious sources and alert the platforms.

Digital platforms already do this internally, both through moderators and and by allowing the public to report posts. But they dont show how posts are judged and dont release the data. By creating a public register, ACMA could monitor whether platforms are self-regulating effectively.

Such a register could also keep a record of legitimate and illegitimate information sources and give each one a reputation score. People who accurately reported misinformation could also receive high ratings, similar to Ubers ratings for drivers and passengers.

While this wouldnt restrict anyones right to expression, it would be easier to point to the reliability of the source of information.

Its worth noting this type of community-based peer review system would be open to potential abuse. Movie review site Rotten Tomatoes has had serious problems with people trolling film reviews.

For example, Captain Marvel was awarded a low audience rating because toxic online communities decided they didnt like the idea of a female superhero, so they coordinated to rate the film poorly. But the platform was able to identify this pattern of behaviour.

The site ultimately protected the films score by ensuring only people who had bought a ticket to see the movie could rate it. While any system is open to abuse, so is self regulation and communities have shown they can (and are willing to) solve such problems.

Wikipedia is another community-driven peer review resource and one which most people consider highly valuable. It works because there are enough people in the world who care about the truth.

Judging the accuracy of claims made in public allows for a consensus that is open to be challenged. On the other hand, leaving decisions about truth to private companies or political parties could actually exacerbate the misinformation problem.

The news media bargaining code has finally passed. Facebook is set to bring news back to Australia, as well as start making deals to pay local news publishers for content.

The agreement between the government and Facebook which serves the interests of those parties seems like just another echo of the past. Large media players will retain some revenue and Google and Facebook will continue to expand their immense control of the internet.

Meanwhile, users remain reliant on the benevolence of tech platforms to do just enough about misinformation to satisfy the government of the day. We should be careful about surrendering power to both platforms and governments.

This new code wont force significant change out of either, despite the pressing need for it.

Read more: Google is leading a vast, covert human experiment. You may be one of the guinea pigs

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We can't trust big tech or the government to weed out fake news, but a public-led approach just might work - The Conversation AU

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Totally Not Fake News: Official Polling Results from Our Completely Accurate and Unbiased Totally Not Fake Ne – Battle Red Blog

Posted: at 1:56 am

HOUSTON, TX In the past few months, the concept of polling has come under considerable scrutiny. Whether it is in politics or sports, the idea of the poll, while having some role to play, is also sometimes thought to be a poor representation of reality and what people are really thinking. Still, for some reason, people still do enjoy their polls, and one could argue that there were some significant market corrections, at least on the political side for Jan 2021. As for the sporting side, well, at least for college football, there is still some work to do (like Cincinnati getting screwed out of the right to make the FBS Playoffs so that they could be annihilated by the best professional team in college football that is Alabama)oh, sorryanyway, back to the polls.

We at Totally Not Fake News understand that the raison detre of polls are for internet debate. However, we have supreme confidence in our polling system, from the questions to the tabulations on how the results are posted. Completely objective and (mostly) above repute. Our methods are completely legal (in our eyes) and we can assure the reading audience that we simply go with the factsnothing else.

Therefore, we will now update you on the results of a couple of polls we recently put out into the field. The first one concerned finding the correct, parallel figure for current Texans Executive Vice President for Football Operations, Jack Easterby. Here is the recap. Based on the responses, here is the final result of that poll:

It is official. Any comparisons of Jack Easterby to figures, real or imaginary, must be with Rasputin. This is the certified resulhold on, we are getting word that somehow, there may have been a flaw in the system. Yesyes, it appears that we at Totally Not Fake News, in spite of our best efforts, got this one wrong. Apparently, Rasputin is not an acceptable response. Therefore, we will go with the next highest option, that Easterby is his own level of vileness. This is a legitimate revision and has absolutely nothing to do with some disturbing email correspondence we received from some dude named Vladimir, who threatened to use some group calling itself the FSB to mess with our underwear drawer and/or threaten to reveal our internet search history to our significant others if we did not correct the error of besmirching the good name of Rasputin with the Easterby comparisons.

Anyway, now that this poll is done, let us move on to the next (less contentious) polling question. In this one, we asked about what term/phrase best describes the current state of the Texans. Here is the recap. The results:

Apparently, the public cannot limit itself to just one descriptive adjective. Maybe that is a case in America that we want more than the rest of the world. Either that, or the situation for the Texans warrants multiple descriptors. This is quite the drunk internet topic for the future. Would have been interesting to see the results if we could have revealed that one answer, which was [Censored by the Order of the Rasputinwhoops, the Easterby. We said/meant EASTERBY!!! VLAD, IT IS EASTERBY, NOT RASPUTIN!!! TELL YOUR FSB DROOGS TO CHILL, OK!!!]

With those results out of the way, we can move on to other areas of public debate/concern. Our next great poll question for consideration:

[Editors Note: Stepping out of character here, but while you ponder the poll results, consider that a lot of Texans fans are in some dire straits right now. The unseasonable weather is making life in Texas rough. Many need help now and many more are going to need some significant help in the near future. For those that can, here are some options for how to assist:

Any little bit you can provide will be of some help. Thank you].

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Totally Not Fake News: Official Polling Results from Our Completely Accurate and Unbiased Totally Not Fake Ne - Battle Red Blog

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GCHQ takes on Russian fake news bots with plans to use AI to find troll farms, new paper reveals –

Posted: at 1:56 am

GCHQ is taking on Russian fake news bots with plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) to find troll farms, it has been announced.

Britains cyber spy agency has outlined how it protects the country against state-backed disinformation campaigns and other cyber attacks using AI.

Shadowy organisations such as Russias Internet Research Agency, the St Petersburg-based troll farm indicted in the US for meddling in the 2016 Presidential election, will come under increased scrutiny.

In a paper released today titled Ethics of AI: Pioneering a New National Security, GCHQ has explained how it counters malign foreign cyber attacks, whilst adhering to an ethical framework for using AI in operations.

Jeremy Fleming, the GCHQ Director, said AIallows our brilliant analysts to manage vast volumes of complex data and improves decision-making in the face of increasingly complex threats from protecting children to improving cyber security.

While this unprecedented technological evolution comes with great opportunity, it also poses significant ethical challenges for all of society, including GCHQ.

Today we are setting out our plan and commitment to the ethical use of AI in our mission. I hope it will inspire further thinking at home and abroad about how we can ensure fairness, transparency and accountability to underpin the use of AI.

The paper describes how hostile states can use AI to mount disinformation attacks by automating the production of fake news and other content to undermine public debate.

This could include the production of deepfake videos with fictional but very convincing content. False audio material designed to mislead can also be produced with AI.

A growing number of states are using AI-enabled tools and techniques to pursue political ends by spreading disinformation to shape public perceptions and undermine trust, the paper states.

GCHQ says it uses AI to assist in tackling this threat by fact checking information with trusted sources, detecting when images and videos have been altered and blocking botnets - networks of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners knowledge, that are used to send spam and other malicious material.

So-called troll farms, organisations making deliberately offensive or provocative online posts to cause conflict or manipulate public opinion, are being targeted by GCHQ.

The report says AI will help identify such places so that online operations could be mounted to counteract these malicious accounts.

Russia has, in recent years, made a number of attempts to disrupt our own and our allies way of life, andGCHQ also responded to the release of the online WannaCry attack by North Korean cyber actors, the report says.

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GCHQ takes on Russian fake news bots with plans to use AI to find troll farms, new paper reveals -

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Political ads, fake news targeted in newly formed misinformation code – Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: at 1:56 am


The code was created by industry group DIGI and has been signed by Google, Microsoft, Tik-Tok, Twitter, Redbubble and Facebook, despite its decision last week to restrict news content on its platform. It will be overseen by the Australian media regulator and is being released at a time when vaccine conspiracies and misinformation about COVID-19 are rampant on the internet.

Google and Facebook are separately waiting on the legislation of new laws that will make them pay for use of news content on their platforms. The news media bargaining code was passed by the House of Representatives last week and is expected to be debated in the Senate this week.

Under the commitments to tackle the spread of harmful content, measures such as labelling false content or using trust indicators on articles, demoting content that exposes users to misinformation and disinformation and suspension and disabling of accounts of users which engage in inauthentic behaviours could be introduced. Users may also be notified if theyve been exposed to disinformation.

Misinformation is defined as false or misleading information that is likely to cause harm. Disinformation is false or misleading information that is distributed by users via spam and bots.


Prioritisation of credible news sources and providing funding for fact checkers are also among the measures that could be taken up. This could be a challenge for Facebook following its introduction of a blanket news ban last Thursday.

It is unclear how Facebook could meet all its commitments of the code in the absence of news on its platform, but it does have measures in place such as third party fact checkers to handle misleading content.

The social media giant said earlier this month it would ban vaccine conspiracy theories from its platforms, including claims they cause autism, in an attempt to reduce COVID-19 misinformation.

Political advertising is not considered misinformation or disinformation under the code, but the tech platforms will implement measures to provide users with transparency about the source of the ads. They could also ban ads that misrepresent or deceive users about the advertiser. Political ads which appear in news or editorial content will also be disclosed as paid for communication.

Decisions on what measures need to be taken will be based on factors such as the severity of the post or article, who is involved in its creation, the speed at which it is disseminated, whether it is maliciously motivated and if the content is misleading or harmful.


All signatories are required to publish information for users on what measures they have in place and will release an annual report on their efforts. They will also establish a way to address non-compliance.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority chair Nerida OLoughlin welcomed the code and encouraged all tech platforms to opt-in.

The code anticipates platforms actions will be graduated and proportionate to the risk of harm. This will assist them to strike an appropriate balance between dealing with troublesome content and the right to freedom of speech and expression, Ms OLoughlin said.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government would carefully assess if the new code was effective.

Weve all seen the damage that online disinformation can cause, particularly among vulnerable groups, Mr Fletcher said. This has been especially apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Morrison government will be watching carefully to see whether this voluntary code is effective in providing safeguards against the serious harms that arise from the spread of disinformation and misinformation on digital platforms.

Our Morning Edition newsletter is a curated guide to the most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Heralds newsletter here, The Ages here, Brisbane Times here, and WAtodays here.

Zoe Samios is a media and telecommunications reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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Political ads, fake news targeted in newly formed misinformation code - Sydney Morning Herald

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Do more to battle fake news on vaccines, say experts – Free Malaysia Today

Posted: at 1:56 am

Medical experts say efforts to counter falsehood on the Covid-19 vaccines are insufficient. (AP pic)

PETALING JAYA: Several medical experts have attributed some Malaysians concerns over vaccine safety to falsehood spread through social media.

They commended the government for its efforts to inspire confidence in Covid-19 vaccines, but said conspiracy theories and fake news had somewhat dampened the effect of those efforts.

Dr M Murallitharan, the director of the National Cancer Society, said one of the most common misconceptions was that there were bound to be side effects from vaccines produced in just a few months.

Those holding this belief would wait for large numbers of other people to get inoculated before getting themselves immunised, he told FMT.

He said the government had done quite a bit to counter the myth, but added that there had been an underestimation of the power of social media to push false narratives.

Murallitharan said efforts to counter myths about vaccines were important because the more we inoculate, the safer it will be.

Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh, a professor of health economics and public health at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the governments efforts against the spread of falsehood were apparently not sufficient.

She called for the enactment of laws to prevent people from promoting false claims about vaccines, such as they could lead to autism or death.

Previously, Malaysia saw a rise in polio and diphtheria because people were hesitant to get vaccinated, she said.

This was why it was important for the government to explain potential side effects, how to resolve them and where to go for questions and post-vaccination complaints.

But the effects of not getting vaccinated also need to be explained, she said.

Dr Muhammad Yusri Musa, the president of the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia, said Putrajaya had not done enough to counter the myths.

The common myths associated with vaccines, he said, included genetic modification, theories relating to an Israeli agenda and allegations that vaccines contain non-halal and dangerous substances.

Vaccine myths are quite prevalent in society, but the majority of the population are not affected by it, he said.

But he said it was vital to address these issues to ensure the take-up rate of vaccines was good.

Dr Sibrandes Poppema, the president of Sunway University, said some people were underestimating the danger of the virus, some were overestimating the risks of vaccination and some did not understand that vaccination was to protect society and not just the individual.

Some, he said, believed that the Russian and Chinese vaccines might not be sufficiently effective and others believed in fake news about hidden intentions of the vaccination effort.

The truth of the matter is that all approved vaccines have been shown to prevent serious disease and have been demonstrated to be safe through rigorous clinical trials in different countries, he said.

Poppema, a specialist in immunopathology, noted that Putrajaya and various experts had repeatedly debunked these myths.

But, he said, the onslaught of fake news, including statements by those claiming to be physicians and experts, makes it necessary to redouble our efforts to not only fight the Covid-19 pandemic but the fake news pandemic as well.

He said it was essential to keep providing reliable information with the first batch of vaccines set to roll out.

The vaccination strategy will work only when more than 75% of the population are vaccinated, he said. Otherwise, the virus will smoulder and new variants may develop.


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Do more to battle fake news on vaccines, say experts - Free Malaysia Today

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Himansh Kohli explains his angry reaction to fake news of apology to ex Neha Kakkar, says people think he is a ‘villain’ – Hindustan Times

Posted: at 1:56 am

Himansh Kohli took to Instagram stories last November to call out a video falsely claiming that he apologised to his ex-girlfriend, Neha Kakkar, after she married Rohanpreet Singh. In a new interview, he talked about what triggered his angry outburst and how he has been labelled as a villain.

I wonder when such manipulative content will be banned from social media. Who is benefitting from all this nonsense? Whats more upsetting is that people are sharing this actively. Please wake up and stop spreading the hatred and this fake post. Sudhar jao (Get back on track), was his sharp response to the fake news.

Talking to radio host Siddharth Kannan, Himansh said that many videos are shared on social media, with voiceovers telling tall stories. Usually, what happens is that the educated and sensible people can understand. But there are some people jo uss story ko real maan lete hai. Unko aisa lagta hai ki Himansh villain hai, bohot bura hai, humesha aise interviews deta hai jaake, woh humesha baat shuru karta hai ki usey Neha ka naam lena padega har interview mein (There are some people who believe these stories. They think I am the villain and I always mention Neha in every interview), he said.

Himansh said that though he does not normally pay heed to what happens on social media, everything was slowly accumulating. He added that while he is used to people calling him names, he got triggered when his family was dragged into it.

Also read: Rakhi Sawant claims her love-lapata with Abhinav Shukla was encouraged by Rubina Dilaik to rid him of boring tag

Mujhe lagta hai ki ek insaan ko toh blame lena hi hota hai life mein jab koi problem ho jaati hai (I think one person always has to take the blame whenever there is a problem), so let it be me only. Thats fine. What triggered me was log mere parents, mere sister ke baare mein ulta seedha likh rahe hai (people were writing all kinds of nonsense about my parents and sister), he said.

Himansh maintained that his family lives in Delhi and they have nothing to do with the film industry nor with his personal life. Agar meri life mein koi ladki aati hai toh woh mera decision hai, agar woh ladki jaati hai, toh bhi humara decision hai (If there is a woman in my life, it is my decision. If the woman is no longer in my life, then that is also our decision). That has nothing to do with my parents, he said.

Himansh and Neha broke up in December 2018, after being in a relationship for almost a year. She is now married to Rohanpreet.

Actor Himansh Kohli is fed-up of trolls sending him messages about his ex-girlfriend Neha Kakkars recent wedding. He said that messages and memes spoil his mood and he has this message for those who send him the messages.

By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2020 10:55 AM IST

Himansh Kohli said that though he was tempted to reply to ex-girlfriend Neha Kakkars social media posts with his own posts, he did not want to say anything against the woman he was once in love with.

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Himansh Kohli explains his angry reaction to fake news of apology to ex Neha Kakkar, says people think he is a 'villain' - Hindustan Times

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Shoeless sprinters, fake news and universal healthcare: Finland in the world press – Helsinki Times

Posted: at 1:56 am

Finnish sports enthusiasts have embraced a new trendrunning through snow wearing only socks and no shoes. The latest craze hit headlines across the world this week, with many marvelling at the phenomenon.

According to those who indulge in the practice, running without footweareven in snow that reaches depths of half a meterprovides a sense of freedom.

Proponents recommend wearing at least two thick pairs of woollen socks, ideally three, to protect against frostbite and ease movement.

Finland also received attention for its success in effectively tackling disinformation. Despite a flood of incorrect information about the COVID-19 virus, over 80 per cent of Finns are reportedly willing to take the jab.

Jussi Toivanen, chief communication specialist at the Finnish prime minister's office, credits the populations ability to discern fake news to the education system in the country.

Children are encouraged to develop media literacy right from kindergarten. Students are taught to critically analyse news reports and schools conduct mock debates focusing on current affairs.

New research by optical retailer Lenstore has found a strong link between overall happiness and universal healthcare, suggesting that Finland is consistently ranked the worlds happiest country owing to its healthcare system.

The study analysed 84 countries and concluded that those without universal healthcare registered an average happiness rating that fell 0.4 points below that of countries that offer it.

Finland scored 89.6 points based on the quality and accessibility of its healthcare. Despite ranking first in the World Happiness Report, it was beaten by Iceland (ranked fourth happiest), which came in first with a score of 93.6 for its healthcare services.

In other news, 240,000 Finns recycled the waste fats from Christmas cooking for the fifth time in a row this year as part of the Ham Trick.

The Ham Trick is an ongoing campaign organised by Finnish oil refining and marketing company Neste and is aimed at promoting a circular economy.

Meanwhile, the Finnish government plans to donate 4.3 million euros to help children in Lebanon. The donation will go to UNICEFs No Lost Generation programme.

The money will be used to combat child labour and marriage by increasing learning opportunities through informal training and skill development.

Finns take to running in snow without footwear

Fitness freaks in Finland have begun running in deep snow with multiple layers of socks instead of shoes. Adherents of this latest fad claim that the activity provides stimulation for the feet while also offering fitness benefits.

Barefoot running is a popular pastime in warmer weather, but the heavier than usual snowfall this winter has not hindered running enthusiasts in the country.

Woollen socks are now abundantly available, as a large number of Finns have reportedly adopted knitting as a hobby this winter.

Original story was published by New York Post on 16.02.2021 and can be found here.

Finland winning the fight against disinformation

Finland recently ranked first in an annual index that measures resilience to disinformation. Since 2014, schools in the country have included media literacy in their curriculum.

Children are taught to critically analyse news sources and identify propaganda from the age of 6. Schools encourage students to study how the media portrays various incidents and to question the effect that social media has on their attitudes and perceptions.

Finlands anti-disinformation campaign also extends to initiatives such as Faktabaari (Fact Bar)a volunteer-run NGO that offers fact-checking services.

Original story was published by The Telegraph on 16.02.2021 and can be found here.

Study claims Finland is the happiest country due to universal healthcare

New data from Lenstore suggests countries such as Finland and Iceland rank high on the UNs World Happiness Report due to the quality and accessibility of their healthcare.

Finland has topped the list of happiest countries for three years in a row. The World Happiness Report takes into account factors such as life expectancy, corruption levels and freedom of expression.

Despite being declared the fourth happiest country, Iceland beat Finland in Lenstores study by scoring 93.6 for its healthcare offerings. Finland scored 89.6, tying with Spain.

Original story was published by the Daily Express on 11.02.2021 and can be found here.

Record number of Finns recycle waste fats left over from Christmas

The Ham TrickNestes campaign to recycle waste fat and advocate a circular economyreached a new record for the fifth year in a row.

The campaign has drawn in more participants every year since it began, with an increased network of almost 350 collection points this year.

The waste fats collected via the Ham Trick are used to produce Neste MY Renewable, and can create enough renewable diesel to drive a car around the world up to 17 times.

Original story was published by Petrol Plaza on 12.02.2021 and can be found here.

Finland contributes 4.3 million euros to help children in Lebanon

The Finnish government plans to donate 4.3 million euros towards supporting the wellbeing of children in Lebanon. The money will go to UNICEFs No Lost Generation programme, which focuses on supporting children in crisis-hit countries.

The ongoing pandemic and economic crisis in Lebanon have had a highly damaging effect on childrens living conditions, depriving them of proper education and facilities.

Original story was published by The961 on 18.02.2021 and can be found here.

Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times

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Opinion | Dont Go Down the Rabbit Hole – The New York Times

Posted: at 1:55 am

Think about YouTube conspiracy theorists or many QAnon or anti-vaccine influencers. Their tactic, as Mr. Caulfield noted, is to flatter viewers while overloading them with three-hour videos laced with debunked claims and pseudoscience, as well as legitimate information. The internet offers this illusion of explanatory depth, he said. Until 20 seconds ago, youd never thought about, say, race and IQ, but now, suddenly, somebody is treating you like an expert. Its flattering your intellect, and so you engage, but you dont really stand a chance.

What he described is a kind of informational hubris we have that is quite difficult to fight. But what SIFT and Mr. Caulfields lessons seem to do is flatter their students in a different way: by reminding us our attention is precious.

The goal of SIFT isnt to be the arbiter of truth but to instill a reflex that asks if something is worth ones time and attention and to turn away if not. Because the method is less interested in political judgments, Mr. Caulfield and Ms. Ladam noticed, students across the political spectrum are more likely to embrace it. By the end of the two-week course, Ms. Ladam said, students are better at finding primary sources for research papers. In discussions theyre less likely to fall back on motivated reasoning. Students tend to be less defensive when confronted with a piece of information they disagree with. Even if their opinions on a broader issue dont change, a window is open that makes conversation possible. Perhaps most promising, she has seen her students share the methods with family members who post dubious news stories online. It sounds so simple, but I think that teaching people how to check their news source by even a quick Wikipedia can have profound effects, she said.

SIFT is not an antidote to misinformation. Poor media literacy is just one component of a broader problem that includes more culpable actors like politicians, platforms and conspiracy peddlers. If powerful, influential people with the ability to command vast quantities of attention use that power to warp reality and platforms dont intervene, no mnemonic device can stop them. But SIFT may add a bit of friction into the system. Most important, it urges us to take the attention we save with SIFT and apply it to issues that matter to us.

Right now we are taking the scarcest, most valuable resource we have our attention and were using it to try to repair the horribly broken information ecosystem, Mr. Caulfield said. Were throwing good money after bad.

Our focus isnt free, and yet were giving it away with every glance at a screen. But it doesnt have to be that way. In fact, the economics are in our favor. Demand for our attention is at an all-time high, and we control supply. Its time we increased our price.

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Opinion | Dont Go Down the Rabbit Hole - The New York Times

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Min cautions against fake news after ‘assault’ – The Shillong Times

Posted: at 1:55 am

MAWKYRWAT, Feb 23:Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, on Tuesday, warned school students against being misled by fake news as he highlighted the recent incident where a survey team was allegedly assaulted by miscreants who claimed that they (survey team members) intended to mine minerals.The incident took place on February 13 at Sohparu in West Khasi Hills.The team was undertaking a survey and soil testing for setting up of the Eklavya Model Residential School when they were reportedly attacked.Rymbui was speaking as the chief guest during the inaugural programme of Horirai Syiemlieh Memorial Higher Secondary School at Photjaud Ranthong village, South West Khasi Hills, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the Supporting Human Capital Development Project.Dont be confused by such news circulated on social media, which, in many cases, have misled people. If you hear anything, get proper information from the district administration as people will come to conduct survey in Mawkyrwat area before setting up of the Eklavya Model Residential School, he said.Informing that there were 117 schools in the state, which were built through the ADB project, he said that the main objective of the project is to provide feature-packed school building for students coupled with training for teachers.Mentioning that the school has smart classrooms and connectivity which will enable students to access education not only from the teachers but also the internet, he expressed happiness.It may be mentioned that the Horirai Syiemlieh Memorial Higher Secondary School was built at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore.Besides this school, three other schools from South West Khasi Hills were also funded by the ADB.

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Min cautions against fake news after 'assault' - The Shillong Times

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Is Facebook responsible for launching the concept of "fake news"? Film Daily – Film Daily

Posted: at 1:55 am

In the last couple of years, Facebooks CEO Mark Zuckerberg has found himself in the middle of more than one political controversy. BuzzFeed News has yet again recently got their hands on a stack of internal company documents that reveal more information about Mark Zuckerbergs politically motivated policy decision within the company.

According to BuzzFeed News, these new documents contain interviews with fourteen current & former Facebook employees that depict Facebooks policy team in quite a negative light. The documents contain allegations that Facebooks policy team which is headed by Joe Kaplan, the Vice President of Global Public Policy have intervened on behalf of prominent conservative figureheads who allegedly violated Facebooks rules, but were allowed to continue operations unhindered.

Among the allegations include suggestions that Kaplans policy team removed penalties for the dissemination of misinformation at the hand of right-wing conservative pages, bowing down and ignoring behaviors that violate user guidelines to avoid political pressure from right-wing heavy hitters, and even blocking a proposal to stop recommending political groups ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.

It has been suggested that by allowing these figureheads to continue operating on the Facebook platform unhindered, Facebook is actively contributing to the dissemination of fake news. Here is everything we know about the Facebook drama.

Joe Kaplan is no stranger to the world of conservative politics. Prior to joining Facebook in 2011, Kaplan was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and more notably served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush. Kaplan joined Facebook in 2011 to oversee its DC operations.

In 2014, Kaplan was promoted to the position of Vice President of Global Public Policy. This meant Kaplan was now responsible for Facebooks government relations all around the world in addition to the companys content policy team.

Kaplan was instrumental in advising Facebook not to intervene during Donald Trumps election campaign and subsequent earlier years of his presidential terms. Trump used the Facebook platform to spout many racists ideas during that period, including a post where he called for a total ban of Muslims entering the U.S. Kaplan advised that, even though policies against this type of user behavior exists, Facebook should do nothing.

When Facebook refused to act when Donald Trump posted the now-infamous when the looting starts, the shooting starts post during the George Floyd protests in 2020, company employees spoke out against Kaplan again then, too. Employees expressed concern that Kaplan had too much power, to which Zuckerberg dismissed immediately.

Samidh Chakrabarti, the lead of Facebooks Civil Integrity Team spoke out against the current policy decisions being made, stating that Facebook employees feel compelled to only make recommendations that align with the interests of policymakers. The Civil Integrity Teams sole purpose was to diminish abuse and election interference on the Facebook platform.

Despite the election being over, both former & current Facebook employees continue to express concern over Kaplans influence on Facebooks decision, citing a conflict of interest as the reason for their concern. Zuckerberg continues to support Kaplans position within the company.

In the lead up to the 2020 U.S election, an internal company report determined that Facebook users were being polarized into political discussion groups that were spreading misinformation and hate. Although Facebook did make attempts to address this issue, the Facebook Policy Team raised concerns over right-wing retaliation.

A Facebook Data Scientist, who spent five years with the company before leaving in the latter half of 2020 said the fear of antagonizing powerful political actors became a key factor for the Facebook Policy Teams decisions not to act on inciting and hateful political content. The company frequently allowed prominent political users to violate policy if the user was deemed sensitive or likely to retaliate.

Some of these users which Facebook definitely turned a blind eye towards include conservative radio talk show host Charlie Kirk, right-wing news publication Breitbart News, Prager University, and then sitting president, Donald Trump.

In 2019, the Facebook team was in the middle of preparing to ban Infowars founder Alex Jones. Facebook considered Alex Jones to be one of the worst spreaders of misinformation and hate within the Facebook domain. Before the company could complete the ban and make it official, Zuckerberg stepped in and put a stop to the initiative.

Jones used Facebook to say that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, that the survivors speaking out against the Parkland massacre were actors, while also using the platform to spread violent hate speech against Muslim and trans people. This behavior qualified Jones to be removed from the Facebook platform, as well as any content that showed support for said hate speech.

Zuckerberg basically took the decision that he did not want to use this policy against Jones because he did not personally think he was a hate figure, said a former Facebook Policy Team employee.

There are known links between Alex Jones and right-wing extremist groups Oath Keepers & Three Percenters. Because of the changes that Zuckerberg required the policy teams to implement, Facebook employees were less able to monitor the actions of these groups on their platforms. Both groups were instrumental in the attack on the U.S Capitol on January 2, 2021.

The Justice Department and the FBI are currently investigating the links between these two groups and Alex Jones.

In a recent BuzzFeed News report, Facebook employees shared their feelings candidly on what they believe is failing company leadership.

I think the people working in these areas are working as hard as they can and I commend them for their efforts. However, I do think our leadership isnt doing enough. said one employee.

A content policy employee who made the decision to leave the company just weeks after the election said, Ideology is not, and should not be, a protected class. White supremacy is an ideology; so is anarchism. Neither view is immutable, nor should either be beyond scrutiny. The idea that our content ranking decisions should be balanced on a scale from right to left is impracticable . . . and frankly can be dangerous, as one side of that scale actively challenges core democratic institutions and fails to recognize the results of a free and fair election.

Others that spoke out agreed that while Kaplan is indeed a problem for the future of the company, they believe the real issue is Mark Zuckerberg himself. At the end of the day, Zuckerberg has the power, regardless of policies that may or may not already exist.

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Is Facebook responsible for launching the concept of "fake news"? Film Daily - Film Daily

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