Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

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Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

Post by eddie on Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:49 pm

Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

The outgoing US president has lamented an age where ‘active misinformation’ can spread as quickly and easily as the truth. And he is not exaggerating...
~ Nicky Woolf in San Francisco


President Obama, facing the imminent handover to his bombastic successor, has plenty to be concerned about this week. But he took the time express his concern about the impact of fake news online when he spoke to reporters on Thursday.

Obama, who was described in a detailed New Yorker interview as being “obsessed” with the problem since the election, described the new ecosystem of news online in which “everything is true and nothing is true”.

“In an age where there’s so much active misinformation, and it’s packaged very well, and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television, where some overzealousness on the part of a US official is equated with constant and severe repression elsewhere, if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect,” he told reporters in Berlin on Thursday. “If we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.”

Obama is not exaggerating. Worse yet, in the last weeks of the US election campaign, according to an analysis by Buzzfeed News, fake news – whether claiming that the Pope had endorsed Trump, or that Clinton sold weapons to Isis – actually outperformed real news on the platform, with more shares, reactions and comments.

Another widely shared story used a young picture of Donald Trump with variations on a quote he reportedly gave People magazine in 1998. “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.”

Yet Trump never said that. It is not even possible to know how widely the quote was shared, with a new version created every time another is flagged, and removed. Memes like this replicate across the internet like a virus in this way, so the quote, tantalising in its plausibility, is pitch-perfect for quick sharing.

Facebook has faced many controversies in its 12 short years, but has fumbled with the gravity and impact of its editorial power in an age where 62% of US adults now turn to social media for some or all of their news, according to the Pew Research Centre.

In the early days of the election, Facebook was criticised for what was perceived as over-zealousness curation of its “trending topics” chart. When conservative outlets accused them of censoring right-leaning news stories, Zuckerberg fired the trending stories team and replaced them with an algorithm – which almost immediately began to distribute fake news.

The problem went unaddressed. Sources told Gizmodo that high-level meetings in Facebook have been underway since May, when a planned update to identify fake news to Facebook’s news feed was shelved after it was found to disproportionately impact right-wing sites, though Facebook officially denies this happened.

Part of the problem, experts say, is that many people share articles based on the headline alone and don’t even read the story – let alone apply any skepticism to the claims within.

More: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/nov/20/barack-obama-facebook-fake-news-problem

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Re: Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

Post by Ben Reilly on Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:44 pm

Truthiness lives!


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Re: Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

Post by Tommy Monk on Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:17 pm



Bookface has long stopped being a platform for friends to link up and chat etc... it is a platform for mass circulation of propaganda...

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Re: Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

Post by WhoseYourWolfie on Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:49 am

Razz

Personally, I blame those fuckwits who are so gullibly stupid, that they treat the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Instagram, YouTube and Wikipedia as their prime "news" sources...

Rather than having the sense as to differentiate between the different sources of information, entertainment and education out there..     Whatever happened to that "Old School" notion of people figuring some things out for themselves  ?


All that those various propagandists, lobbyists and advertisers are really doing here, is zeroing in on the way that a lot of lazy and unthinking slobs are taking the "easy" way out, and treating any rumour and innuendo as some kind of "truth".

Instead of blaming Zuckerberg for developing Facebook, maybe his critics should be looking at the defective education systems that are turning out so many unthinking and poorly-comprehending sheeple, all too ready and willing to be misled and misinformed..        sleaze

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Re: Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

Post by Tommy Monk on Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:12 pm

Sassy being a prime bookface believer...

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Re: Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

Post by Jules on Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:47 pm

Avenging Bae wrote:Truthiness lives!


Wow subtitles which are actually accurate?!! Shocked  Shocked  
Damn! This trend is removing all the fun from YT.  Mad

Subtitles written by robots used to crease me up  eg  'honorable' = 'owner rabble'.
They even 'translated' the names of people!!  >
eg 'Jemima Redmond-Pinkerton'  =  'jew man might read my pink at ten (oclock).'  Yes ok I made those up, but the reality is often far worse, far crazier. Robots don't know where one sentence ends and the next one starts either, so they put their punctuation in all the wrong places too.  
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Re: Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too

Post by Ben Reilly on Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:53 pm

Interestingly enough, the Macedonians who created all these fake pro-Trump sites tried to do the same thing with Clinton, but couldn't get Clinton supporters to circulate the stories enough on Facebook to make any money.

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