Posts Tagged ‘fake news’

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donald trumpPresident Donald Trump took to Twitter to complain that social media companies are discriminating against prominent conservatives, saying we won’t let that happen. He tweeted:

Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.

…..Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police. If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don’t watch at all.

The president later added:

….Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Who is making the choices, because I can already tell you that too many mistakes are being made. Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!

Trump in July said his administration will look into the practice of shadow banning on Twitter, or reducing the visibility of certain people or groups on the platform, which he alleged was happening to prominent conservative voices.

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dcsm fake news Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has been investigating disinformation and fake news following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and is claiming that the UK faces a democratic crisis due to the spread of pernicious views and the manipulation of personal data.In its first report it will suggest social media companies should face tighter censorship. It also proposes measures to combat election interference.

The report claims that the relentless targeting of hyper-partisan views, which play to the fears and prejudices of people, in order to influence their voting plans is a threat to democracy.

The report was very critical of Facebook, which has been under increased scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Facebook has hampered our efforts to get information about their company throughout this inquiry. It is as if it thinks that the problem will go away if it does not share information about the problem, and reacts only when it is pressed, the report said.  It provided witnesses who have been unwilling or unable to give full answers to the committee’s questions.

The committee suggests:

1. Social media sites should be held responsible for harmful content on their services

Social media companies cannot hide behind the claim of being merely a ‘platform’, claiming that they are tech companies and have no role themselves in regulating the content of their sites, the committee said.

They continually change what is and is not seen on their sites, based on algorithms and human intervention.

They reward what is most engaging, because engagement is part of their business model and their growth strategy. They have profited greatly by using this model.

The committee suggested a new category of tech company should be created, which was not necessarily a platform or a publisher but something in between.

This should establish clear legal liability for the tech companies to act against harmful and illegal content on their platforms, the report said.

2. The rules on political campaigns should be made fit for the digital age

The committee said electoral law needed to be updated to reflect changes in campaigning techniques.

It suggested creating a public register for political advertising so that anybody can see what messages are being distributed online political advertisements should have a digital imprint stating who was responsible, as is required with printed leaflets and advertisements social media sites should be held responsible for interference in elections by malicious actors electoral fraud fines should be increased from a maximum of £20,000 to a percentage of organisations’ annual turnover

3. Technology companies should be taxed to fund education and regulation

Increased regulation of social media sites would result in more work for organisations such as the Electoral Commission and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The committee suggested a levy on tech companies should fund the expanded responsibilities of the regulators.

The money should also be spent on educational programmes and a public information campaign, to help people identify disinformation and fake news.

4. Social networks should be audited

The committee warned that fake accounts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter not only damage the user experience, but potentially defraud advertisers.

It suggested an independent authority such as the Competition and Markets Authority should audit the social networks.

It also said security mechanisms and algorithms used by social networks should be available for audit by a government regulator, to ensure they are operating responsibly.

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headline in google newsIs there an internet equivalent of a Freudian slip? Well if so, Google obliged with this listing on its Google News service.Perhaps Google should have pointed out that such a ban false information will also usefully silence all politicians from all parties in the run up to elections.

Politicians in France have proposed introducing a new law to fight fake news in the run up to an election next year. The draft law, designed to stop what the government calls manipulation of information in the run-up to elections, will be debated in parliament Thursday with a view to it being put into action during next year’s European parliamentary polls.

The idea for the bill came straight from President Emmanuel Macron , who was himself targeted during his 2017 campaign by online rumours that he was gay and had a secret bank account in the Bahamas.

Under the law, French authorities would be able to immediately halt the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections. Social networks would have to introduce measures allowing users to flag up false reports, pass their data on such articles to authorities, and make public their efforts against fake news. And the law would authorise the state to take foreign broadcasters off the air if they were attempting to destabilise France – a measure seemingly aimed at Russian state-backed outlet RT in particular.

The government claims measures will be built into the law to protect freedom of speech, with only reports that are manifestly false and that have gone viral – notably with the help of bots – taken down.

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Facebook logoTell someone not to do something and sometimes they just want to do it more. That’s what happened when Facebook put red flags on debunked fake news. Facebook’s red warning flags only made the post more interesting and more likely to be shared.

So Facebook ditched the red warning and replaced them with links to articles where the supposed fake news is debunked.

Now Facebook has dreamt up another couple of wheezes.

Posts
Amber Rudd MP Amber Rudd MP
I was not aware of Home Office removals targets
BBC logo BBC News
Amber Rudd claimed she was not aware of Home Office removals targets… but a memo leak suggests otherwise

First, rather than call more attention to fake news, Facebook wants to make it easier to miss these stories while scrolling. When Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers verify an article is inaccurate, Facebook will shrink the size of the link post in the

News Feed. Facebook will also downrank the news to make it less likely that it will appear in news feeds at all.

Second, Facebook is now using machine learning to look at newly published articles and scan them for signs of falsehood. ‘Fact checkers’ will then prioritise high scoring articles so as to make more efficient use of their time.

Facebook now says it can reduce the spread of a false news story by 80%.

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babylon bee logo Facebook has revealed just how shoddy its ‘fake news’ and censorship process is when it censored an obvious joke after it passed through the censorship system without anyone at Facebook noticing how stupid they were being.thefederalist.com explains:

The Babylon Bee set off Facebook’s alarm bells by publishing a satirical piece stating that CNN had purchased an industrial-size washing machine to spin news before publication. This is obviously a joke and is clearly marked satire and is published on a site entirely devoted to satire.

But the uptight jerks over at Snopes decided to fact check the Bee’s claim, to ensure that no one actually thought that CNN made a significant investment in heavy machinery.

The article was duly confirmed as fake news resulting in Facebook saying that it would censor The Babylon Bee by denying them monetisation.

And as per the normal procedure, when alerted about stupid censorship, Facebook admitted it was a ghastly mistake and apologised profusely. Fair enough, but in passing it still shows exactly how shoddy the process is behind the scenes.

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Facebook logoFacebook has unveiled more changes to the News Feed of its 2 billion users, announcing it will rank news organizations by credibility based on user feedback and diminish its role as an arbiter of the news people see.

In a blog post accompanying the announcement, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote:

Facebook is not comfortable deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a world with so much division. We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.

The new trust rankings will emerge from surveys the company is conducting. Broadly trusted outlets that are affirmed by a significant cross-section of users may see a boost in readership, while less known organizations or start-ups receiving poor ratings could see their web traffic decline significantly on the social network.

The company’s changes also include an effort to boost the content of local news outlets, which have suffered sizable subscription and readership declines as news consumption migrated online.

On Friday, Google announced it would cancel a two-month-old experiment, called Knowledge Panel, that informed its users that a news article had been disputed by independent fact-checking organizations. Conservatives had complained the feature unfairly targeted a right-leaning outlet.

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emmanuel macronEmmanuel Macron has vowed to introduce a law to censor ‘fake news’ on the internet during French election campaigns. He claimed he wanted new legislation for social media platforms during election periods in order to protect democracy.For fake news published during election seasons, an emergency legal action could allow authorities to remove that content or even block the website, Macron said. If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must be strong and have clear rules.

He said France’s media censor, the CSA, would be empowered to fight against any attempt at destabilisation by TV stations controlled or influenced by foreign states. Macron said he wanted to act against what he called propaganda articulated by thousands of social media accounts.

Macron has an axe to grind about fake news, during the election campaign in spring 2017 he filed a legal complaint after Le Pen, the Front National leader, referred to fake stories about him placing funds in an offshore account in the Bahamas. Also a bogus website resembling the site of the Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported that Saudi Arabia was financing Macron’s campaign. Le Soir totally distanced itself from the report.