How Fake News Goes Viral

MikeG

Senior Member
yea if they debunk liberal bunk as well. Liberal leaning newspapers 'demonizing' [Conservatives] Trump and his supporters seems pretty par-for-the-course to me.
deirdre's comment at the start of the thread stayed with me after all these months. The article, written by Colin Dickey for the New Republic, speaks to the nature of the audience in determining how fake news spreads. [my emphasis]

New Republic.png

https://newrepublic.com/article/142977/new-paranoia-trump-election-turns-democrats-conspiracy-theorists

The article also provides a few interesting examples of CT believers who inhabit the political left.

Left CT.png
https://newrepublic.com/article/142977/new-paranoia-trump-election-turns-democrats-conspiracy-theorists
 

Birkenhead

New Member
just my 2 cents: i feel like this topic is getting too political by times. personally, i do not believe that fake news and ct are typically attributed to certain political opinions. in recent times, topics like the us election, trump's presidency, brexit or the european refugee crisis may have been a fertile soil for a lot of (far right) nonsense which has gone viral. however, many ct themes are (still) universal, not exclusively claimed by (or easy to blame on) one side of the political spectrum. there are many "leftists" who believe 9/11 was an inside job for example. the people who refuse to vaccinate their offspring are – in my old country – more than often wealthy and well educated left-hearted democrats ... you won't believe what kind of fake news these people are posting on twitter/fb every day.

p.s. i donate a lot of work for a debunking group on facebook, my topics are vaccines ("are evil"), fluorid ("in toothpaste is dangerous") and aluminum ("causes breast cancer") and i couldn't tell that the origins of all the post i have to deal with came from a certain political group.
 

Birkenhead

New Member
I agree with everthing you wrote, but here in America the term "Fake News" burst into existence (through mainstream media) as a political thing.
i agree. a lot of finger pointing is going on, though. from both sides.

more back on the topic: i really wonder, if some things the so-called "msm" published, could be considered as "fake news", too. for example, sometimes there are incorrect quotes (often wrong translations) or quotes out of context. the essence of such articles are broadly shared on the internet via social media, first with direct links, later with individual interpretations of the article's supposed message. it's in the nature of virality, that the original message will get distorted and over-exaggerated after a short time. taken this, perhaps the fake news aspect takes place with the spreading of a message, not by the original source. still, the question is, if the "mutation" of the message is calculated and intentionally.

example from yesterday: the imf has published the economic forecast for 2017/2018. one of the biggest german newspaper came up with the headline "imf prognosis downgraded: us economic growth will be low". if you read the iwf forecast, it says "us economic's growth is above the earlier forecasts. the estimation has been lowered by uncertain data regarding budgets and taxes to 2.1% for both forthcoming years, which is still well above the former growth rate of 1.6%". both the german headline and article didn't mention this. later that day you could read mocking posts on facebook claiming "us economic is totally f#&%ed up!", taking this article as a reference. the original article was quite misleading maybe, but it didn't really contain lies, yet the core message turned into wrong conclusions very quickly.
 

deirdre

Senior Member
i really wonder, if some things the so-called "msm" published, could be considered as "fake news", too. for example, sometimes there are incorrect quotes (often wrong translations) or quotes out of context.
well that's what Donald Trump's whole schtick is. :) But personally, I think Fake News should only be used to refer to out and out made up stories, like "CIA guy admits to blowing up WTC7" or there was one tied to Hillary Clinton where the supposed whistle blower guy never actually existed.


I think when people start calling everything "fake news" vs. just plain old bunk, satire or 'political spin', then the term becomes meaningless.
 

SR1419

Senior Member
I think Fake News should only be used to refer to out and out made up stories
Yes! there is a difference between "Fake News"- which is factually incorrect information- and biased or slanted coverage. Alas, "fake news" is now a meme to label and discredit anything someone doesn't agree with.
 

Toots

New Member
The article also provides a few interesting examples of CT believers who inhabit the political left.
Just a minor point - I have never heard of two of the three posted, but the third (Louise Mensch) in no sense inhabits the political left. She is a former MP for the Conservative Party who describes her political views as being close to those of George Osborne.

For the New Republic to describe her as a left-wing, as they indeed do in the article you linked to, bespokes either a low level of research into their topic, or a rather disturbing world-view in which 'left-wing' simply means 'opposed to Donald Trump'.


 
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MikeG

Senior Member
Just a minor point - I have never heard of two of the three posted, but the third (Louise Mensch) in no sense inhabits the political left. She is a former MP for the Conservative Party who describes her political views as being close to those of George Osborne.

For the New Republic to describe her as a left-wing, as they indeed do in the article you linked to, bespokes either a low level of research into their topic, or a rather disturbing world-view in which 'left-wing' simply means 'opposed to Donald Trump'.


Fair point.

Regardless of her past politics, the crux of her current conspiracies skew toward the left. The New Republic article notes:
https://newrepublic.com/article/142...election-turns-democrats-conspiracy-theorists

Her most "famous fan" is Ted Lieu, a California Democrat.
https://ballotpedia.org/Ted_Lieu

And he serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mensch.png
Source: https://twitter.com/tedlieu/status/843143969261289472
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member
Chomsky and Hermann have thoroughly debunked the myth of 'the Liberal Media' a long time ago.
Traditional definitions of "liberal" have become useless. So has any understanding of the "media" from more than a few years ago. The internet has changed things about how the "media" functions and reacts.
 

deirdre

Senior Member
Guys, no need to go completely off-topic here. My statement was in response specifically to the OP, which linked only The New York Times (of this decade, not their coverage of Watergate, the Vietnam War or whether their readers didnt like them using the word "torture" with the US as perpetrators as per Chomsky and Hermann) and the Washington Post.

Although, I think the NYT did call out the WP a couple times for bunk/fake news this year (Propornot etc).

But then they did post that fake news bit about Palin. (and by fake news, I mean news they knew was fake when they wrote it because they were one of the ones who debunked it in the first place). and the WP called them out :) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/06/15/the-bogus-claim-that-a-map-of-crosshairs-by-sarah-palins-pac-incited-rep-gabby-giffordss-shooting/?utm_term=.df7f22e05a1e
 

qed

Senior Member
But personally, I think Fake News should only be used to refer to out and out made up stories, like "CIA guy admits to blowing up WTC7" or there was one tied to Hillary Clinton where the supposed whistle blower guy never actually existed.

I think when people start calling everything "fake news" vs. just plain old bunk, satire or 'political spin', then the term becomes meaningless.
I think we need to also distinguish "mistaken news, followed up by apology" from "fake news". Journalists make mistakes. While bad on many levels, mistakes are not "fake news", unless done on purpose of course.
 

deirdre

Senior Member
Regardless of her past politics, the crux of her current conspiracies skew toward the left
maybe the inclusion of the word "past" is unfair. I always thought (and still do somewhat) that some of Trump's lackeys seem like the types to 'collude' with the Russians. I've been suspicious of Jared from the start.. I wont go into why.

So just saying, just because a conservative agrees with the libs on certain issues doesn't make them Libs per say. Personally I see Trump as a Libertarian more than a "conservative", but that may just be my bias trying to distance myself from him.
 

Marin B

Active Member
Real interesting conversation on this topic in one of today's segments of "On Point with Tom Ashbrook". His guests were Clint Watts, a Senior Fellow at the Center For Cyber and Homeland Security at The George Washington University, and Sam Woolley, Director of Research of the Computational Propaganda project, at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford.

Summary of segment:

Here's a link to the podcast.

Maybe a transcript of the intro will entice you to listen...
Edited to note that MikeG in post #74, quoted an article that quotes Clint Watts, who was one of the guests on today's podcast.
 
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Critical Thinker

Senior Member
Link to story in Washington Post "Trump backers’ alarming reliance on hoax and conspiracy theory websites, in 1 chart"

 

Rory

Senior Member
I mean, even the coverage of fake news is “fake.” Paul Horner, the creator of many hoaxes on Facebook, claims he was the reason Trump won the 2016 presidential election. His contention is now carried by news outlets everywhere (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and so on). The story is its own kind of fake news because there’s absolutely no evidence to back up Horner’s claims that he had any effect on the outcome of the presidential election. He is only important because his story confirms the professional Left’s notions about Trump voters.
Paul Horner is apparently dead:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41422827
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member
A recent story in the NYTimes: She Warned of ‘Peer-to-Peer Misinformation.’ Congress Listened. By SHEERA FRENKELNOV. 12, 2017




 
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
“So by Facebook suggesting all these accounts, they were essentially creating this vortex in which conspiratorial ideas can just breed and multiply,” Ms. DiResta said.
I absolutely agree with that. Three or four years ago I set up a Facebook account to look at conspiracy stuff (I wanted to keep it separate from my main account). The more I looked at, the more extreme and crazy the recommendations that FB served up to me.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I absolutely agree with that. Three or four years ago I set up a Facebook account to look at conspiracy stuff (I wanted to keep it separate from my main account). The more I looked at, the more extreme and crazy the recommendations that FB served up to me.
It's like Facebook is actually guiding you down the rabbit hole. Not intentionally of course, but the recommendation algorithms essentially detect your trajectory, so once you start going in a certain direction it looks for recommendations that are in that direction.
 

deirdre

Senior Member
It's like Facebook is actually guiding you down the rabbit hole.
They all do that. Google/Youtube, even Netflix. What's even weirder is they seem to be doing it now by IP addresses vs. specific computers.. so when I go visiting and use someone elses IP, I get to see all the shopping items/youtube views my host has been browsing recently. It's bizarre and annoying. So don't Christmas shop for your wife online! :)
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
They all do that. Google/Youtube, even Netflix. What's even weirder is they seem to be doing it now by IP addresses vs. specific computers.. so when I go visiting and use someone elses IP, I get to see all the shopping items/youtube views my host has been browsing recently. It's bizarre and annoying. So don't Christmas shop for your wife online! :)
Yes, but it's done by Google accounts too. If I search for something on my work computer I get ads for the same thing on my home computer and my mobile. It's kind of annoying as I have to do a lot of price checking etc at work so I get ads for things I have no personal interest in at all.
 

qed

Senior Member
They all do that. Google/Youtube, even Netflix. What's even weirder is they seem to be doing it now by IP addresses vs. specific computers.. so when I go visiting and use someone elses IP, I get to see all the shopping items/youtube views my host has been browsing recently. It's bizarre and annoying. So don't Christmas shop for your wife online! :)
Has anyone also had this experience? I have purposely been watching for such activity. I have seen no bleeding of info among the members of the family. Each uses a different computer but share an IP address. Similarly there is no bleeding between work browsers.

But my browser at work behaves differently to my browser at home.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
There is a recent News Feature in PNAS:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/11/15/1719005114.full
Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 11.59.26.png

The PDF is attached, in the case this is not an Open Access Article.
 

Attachments

Critical Thinker

Senior Member
People that have been concerned with creation and dissemination fake news and the efforts being made to foment distrust of the Mainstream Media, have been giving thought on how to combat those propaganda efforts. I found out about this 'game' created at Cambridge University "That Aims to "Vaccinate" People Against Fake News".

I found about it at ScienceAF: Cambridge University Releases Game That Aims to "Vaccinate" People Against Fake News

game.JPG


The about the game:

Link to the 'game'
 
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Rory

Senior Member
I really wonder if some things the so-called "MSM" published could be considered as "fake news" too. For example, sometimes there are incorrect quotes (often wrong translations) or quotes out of context.
Personally, I think Fake News should only be used to refer to out and out made up stories, like "CIA guy admits to blowing up WTC7". I think when people start calling everything "fake news" vs just plain old bunk, satire or 'political spin', then the term becomes meaningless.
I think we need to also distinguish "mistaken news, followed up by apology" from "fake news". Journalists make mistakes. While bad on many levels, mistakes are not "fake news", unless done on purpose of course.
There is also "selective news", which is maybe what @Birkenhead was suggesting - for example, "scientists say flu could kill between 100 and 10 million people" and headline becomes "Up to 10 million may die!"

And then there was plain old simple "fakery", such as The National Enquirer or The Sunday Sport pioneered, mostly for a laugh. But few thought it was "news".

So "Fake News" is "fakery" + "something masquerading as news". I guess the question is, is it done sincerely - and therefore "bunk" - or is it done consciously, for clicks and money and whatever else, and therefore this new-fangled invention: "Fake News"?
 

Agent K

Active Member
I think we need to also distinguish "mistaken news, followed up by apology" from "fake news". Journalists make mistakes. While bad on many levels, mistakes are not "fake news", unless done on purpose of course.
What if the mistakes are always biased in one direction, like if your grocery store sometimes overcharges you and apologizes when it gets caught, but it never undercharges you.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member
People that have been concerned with creation and dissemination fake news and the efforts being made to foment distrust of the Mainstream Media, have been giving thought on how to combat those propaganda efforts. I found out about this 'game' created at Cambridge University "That Aims to "Vaccinate" People Against Fake News".
8.159... is that good?
 

qed

Senior Member
What if the mistakes are always biased in one direction, like if your grocery store sometimes overcharges you and apologizes when it gets caught, but it never undercharges you.
I think we need to also distinguish "mistaken news, followed up by apology" from "fake news". Journalists make mistakes. While bad on many levels, mistakes are not "fake news", unless done on purpose of course.
Then that would be true fake news, of course.
 

qed

Senior Member

Particularly interesting around 10:00. Creatives make the fake content and pass it to the targeting team.
 

Leifer

Senior Member
That C.A. stuff is gonna get big (bigger).
It's gonna change careers.... and it's a huge hit on the "marketing community"...... and it's gonna create more public doubt on media truth.
But this can also have it's ups......"don't believe everything you hear".
(or that you find on the screen in front of you)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
All I know is.....
In celebration and solidarity of National Bee Day (tomorrow), I will spend the next month, replacing my use of the word "be".... to "bee".

I hope you will bee with me.
 
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Critical Thinker

Senior Member
From ScienceAlert: Fake Facebook Accounts And Online Lies Multiply in Hours After Santa Fe School Shooting



 
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