NYT article: How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth

SR1419

Senior Member.
This article confirms what we here at MB already know- there is no consequence for error on the internet. And its only getting worse:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/03/t..._th_20161103&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=25300769

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This article confirms what we here at MB already know- there is no consequence for error on the internet. And its only getting worse:
I think that the election is allowing people to get away with more simply because people are so incredibly invested in one side or the other. Truth has become a casualty.

But I'm optimistic that this will gradually improve after the election. Partly because that pressure to believe will be less, but also because Facebook, Twitter, and Google are trying to fight back against the tide of fake news with various initiatives like First Draft News:
https://firstdraftnews.com/about/
 

SR1419

Senior Member.
But I'm optimistic
Is this your comment on the article?

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
except for the losing party. unfortunately with 2 year election cycles in America it's basically always campaign or election time.
Yeah, but the pressure is released for most ordinary people after the election, at least for a few months.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Is this your comment on the article?

No, although I largely agree with it.
 

SR1419

Senior Member.
pressure is released for most ordinary people after the election,
I've been wondering about that- with the rhetoric and hyperbole heating up as the election draws near. The sabre rattling of militias and their muskets in the wake of a potential Trump defeat. I dont remember this level of rancor in the past but perhaps there is always an element of this with every election. The echo chamber becomes dangerous if it does not allow you to accept legitimate defeat.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
I dont remember this level of rancor in the past but perhaps there is always an element of this with every election.
i think the rancor is always there. But in the past , imo, conservative candidates shied away from those people as it hurts you with demographics outside of your party that you need to win the election. Plus people really really dislike Hillary and/or Bill, so this election is pretty unique on multiple levels. Throw in the Supreme Court issues, which are a major thing...

Not sure about MSM, but from what i see on social media sources (twitter etc) the bunk stats dont seem all that much different then before the election. To me it seems society in general is getting more and more 'accustomed' [?] to 'make believe' because more entertainment (ie make believe) is at our fingertips than ever before in history. [real] Technological advances (scifi tv) make more bunk seem very possible.

Bad quality news reporting has been evolving over the years, so I'm not sure people even remember a time when journalists and Newspapers prided themselves on accurate, unbiased reporting.
 

Graham2001

Active Member
It's not just the way bad quality news affects the US political process that is worrying, it's the way that these sites pick up on trending items and can quickly create the most sensationalist story possible to exploit it. And then there is the social damage that a constant stream of 'wacky crime' stories does to the affected social groups.

And finally there is at least one case (Which was covered by the Skeptics with a K podcast) of Mike Adams basing one of his rants on material that came from a fake news site.
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
I think that the election is allowing people to get away with more simply because people are so incredibly invested in one side or the other. Truth has become a casualty.

But I'm optimistic that this will gradually improve after the election. Partly because that pressure to believe will be less, but also because Facebook, Twitter, and Google are trying to fight back against the tide of fake news with various initiatives like First Draft News:
https://firstdraftnews.com/about/

the problem is this is not an American issue, nor even one that's entirely limited to the Internet

In the UK's national debate over the EU referendum, part of the reason why the "remain" campaign was so hamstrung was precisely because it was itself (or more accurately senior actors) guilty of spreading disinformation and outright lies

the examples are too numerous to mention, but one that springs to mind was a manufactured furore over "health tourism in the NHS", and it costing millions to the (wait for it) Tax Payer

it was a fantasy, the figures never supported that conclusion - but it was actively peddled by Theresa May no less

a Remain campaigner (and now PM)

David Cameron himself had peddled petty falsehoods about the EU for years - so people simply did not trust him

In many ways the political class where hoisted by their own petard in
 

Greylandra

Active Member
I don't belive there is any way back now. No way to force the toothpaste back into the tube, so to speak. Considering that the internet is just a web of nodes and connections between users, exactly what should/could be done to "correct" the: news, facts, information, etc? Since when are "wrong" opinions not protected speech? Even outright falsehood for that matter? Perhaps concepts and web pages like Metabunk is the way forward... (pure speculative question) Mick in your years of hosting this site would you say the "disinfo" and the "bunk" is getting reigned in or is it getting more out of control?
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I'm not sure people even remember a time when journalists and Newspapers prided themselves on accurate, unbiased reporting.
I'm a journalist (and fact checker!) and I think pretty much all of my colleagues pride themselves on being accurate. Bias is a trickier matter. You can be 100% accurate but still biased, simply by virtue of what you choose (or are instructed) to report on. Editors set the news agenda, so their personal bias is always likely to influence what gets published.
 

mrfintoil

Senior Member.
Just as an example of how easily things become distorted, and how easily people fall for it, I recently saw a tweet made by Minecraft creator Marcus Persson, aka Notch, where he seemed to blame Hillary for the recent Mississippi church burning by referring to an image compiled of two images of Hillary Clinton and Robert Byrd (pardon the profanity).
Capture.PNG
I'm not going into greater detail here, but Byrd was an actual member of the KKK in the 1940s, but reversed his notions completely in the following decade and eventually became a democratic senator fighting segregation and racism.

The image on the right suggests that Byrd was still a member of the clan until old age, but the image is photoshopped.
Untitled-1.png

This thread is not about Notch, but what strikes me is how easy this one is to debunk, yet Notch being such a public person, and I presume intelligent bloke as well, should know better than to go on Twitter arguing about politics using strong words with a photoshopped image as the only source. Even Trump got similar photoshop treatment, you find this on both sides of the field.

I blame it on the appeal of imagine yourself knowing "the truth" that few others know. It's an ego thing, and it's infectious.
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
sections of the media managed to convinced people that John Kerry, war veteran and receiver of numerous bravery awards/citations (purple hearts etc) was a liar and a coward

what chance does anyone have
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
`
Bad quality news reporting has been evolving over the years, so I'm not sure people even remember a time when journalists and Newspapers prided themselves on accurate, unbiased reporting.
I'm watching a documentary on Kitty Genovese, which was the murder back in the 60s when supposedly an entire aprtment building of people watched her get murdered and dying over half an hour but noone did anything or called the police.

Sounds like "media" was exactly the same back then as now. basically the original 'spin bunk spreader' had an agenda and other journalists picked up the story (exaggerating it a bit at times) and went with it because the original reporter was "respected" and the paper he worked for , The NY Times, had "clout".

Pretty interesting. The spread of bunk in days of old.
mw.JPG

upload_2016-11-4_19-11-53.png
 

mrfintoil

Senior Member.
We all know that sensationalism and controversy sells, it always has. The core principle hasn't change, but the way social media works have really pushed this phenomenon to extremes.

For example, Esquire Magazine recently published an article about how a couple of tech-savvy youngsters in Macedonia are running over 140 politically oriented "news sites" tailored for Trump supporters. The "news" often consists of rumors, half-truths and speculation:

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a50320/trump-misinformation-facebook-macedonia/


Politics is not the only subject that suffers this exploitation. Ever noticed those health blogs where every headline is clickbait? That's the same thing, except you exploit people with various degree of orthorexia. I think I've seen sites with religious content too.

This is a bizarrely sad aspect of our modern society, because it surely won't help people understand things better.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
From the OP article:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/partisan-fb-pages-analysis?utm_term=.ci2vAWYaq#.nf3aOYz8l
20161105-150119-flmsv.jpg
20161105-145958-xi9d2.jpg

At least the Mainstream news does pretty well there.

It would be interesting to see how this changed over time, and also how the audiences have shifted in what they consume. The internet has allowed people to live much more in bubbles than in the past (when news sources were limited, and hence broader).

It's promising that it has not gone unnoticed, and the largest internet companies (Facebook, Google, Twitter) seem like they want to do something about it.
 

Withheld

New Member
actually those numbers are alot lower than i would have guesstimated. Guess i'm reading the wrong sites.
Wait wait wait - you are on a site which debunks things and you are just going to take Buzzfeed's analysis, one of the most SJW feminist progressive places on the net bar Huffington on blind faith?

This must be exactly like your polls, huh?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I don't know what constitutes a permaban here
calling me a feminist doesnt help (just kidding)

one thing is if you consistently say accusatory things without backing them up. I'm referring to your Zuckerberg statement, Twitter eliminating people, etc

Please read our posting guidelines. Metabunk is a fact based/evidence based website/forum. We're gonna need to see some evidence vs. you (or anyone) 'just saying stuff'
https://www.metabunk.org/posting-guidelines.t2064/

https://www.metabunk.org/metabunks-no-click-policy.t5158/
 

Graham2001

Active Member
Just been doing some digging over on Sharon Hills site and found her post from February 2014, which covers the first 'fake news' site I was aware of "Cryptozoology News"

http://doubtfulnews.com/2014/02/cryptozoology-news-its-fake/

And there are posts about similar 'clickbait' tactics amongst the Bigfoot community (Most famously the Georgia Bigfoot) going back a few years before that.
 
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