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Identifying fake news stories

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--- Quote from: LVWood on August 08, 2017, 02:14:31 PM ---NY Times is at it again with yet another fake news story about a climate change report.
The NY Times claims it was leaked a secret climate change report which it published amid fears President Trump would suppress it.

Trouble is, it wasn't leaked and had been online for anyone to see since December.

--- End quote ---
If saying something that has been publicly available for some time and is now suddenly "new" than Fox and most right wing media engages in fake news regularly...

Mr. Bill:
Some people make a game out of the most horrible tragedies.

Politico, 2/16/18: How white nationalists fooled the media about Florida shooter

--- Quote ---Following misrepresentations by a white nationalist leader and coordinated efforts by internet trolls, numerous researchers and media outlets spread a seemingly false claim that the man charged with killing more than a dozen people at a Florida high school belonged to an extremist group.

Law enforcement agencies say they have no evidence so far to support this claim, and the rumor appears to have been perpetrated by white nationalist trolls themselves. ...

On Wednesday, an anonymous 4chan user posted about receiving a message on Instagram from an ABC News reporter after making a joke suggesting he knew Cruz.

“Prime trolling opportunity,” another user replied.

“You have to take advantage of this,” a third chimed in. ...

This particular 4chan user seems to have sent the reporter a racist cartoon and was quickly blocked. Many on the forum ripped into him for missing a “a golden opportunity.”...

But the trolls now had a shared objective: disseminate disinformation about Cruz. It’s unclear when exactly they settled on a narrative that included Jereb and ROF.

In posts to a neo-Nazi Web forum called The Right Stuff, a user called “Jordan Fash” said the idea originated in a group chat on Discord, an app for gamers that is popular with white nationalists and the alt-right. ...
--- End quote ---

Mr. Bill:
How YouTube's recommendation algorithm promotes fake news.  Hint: it brings in more viewers.

HuffPost, 12/31/18: 5 Of The Wildest Conspiracy Theories YouTube Promoted In 2018

--- Quote ---...YouTube’s algorithm “is extremely biased toward conspiracy theories. It promotes a huge amount of false information ― literally the crazier the better for the algorithm to recommend it,” said Guillaume Chaslot, who worked at Google for three years and helped design YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, but left after he found management to have “very little interest” in developing tools to recommend balanced content.

“It’s all about maximizing watch time,” Chaslot explained. “The more watch time you have, the more ads you can show the user,” which translates to more money for Google. YouTube also incentivizes content creators to keep people watching: Those with at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch-hours in a one-year period can earn money from ads.

The video giant’s dominance in the media world lends undue legitimacy to conspiracy theorists when it recommends their content, Micah Schaffer, a former YouTube policy analyst and community manager, said at a content moderation conference...

“From the point of view of the algorithm, Flat Earth conspiracy theories are a gold mine,” Chaslot said. ...

When YouTube users started typing “California fire” into the platform’s search bar, the top suggestions were “conspiracy 2018,” “agenda 21,” and “laser beam”...

QAnon followers also spread rumors that Cemex, a Mexican cement company, owned a human trafficking site in Arizona. CNN informed YouTube in August that its top autocomplete result for the search term “Cemex” was “Cemex child trafficking,” prompting the video giant to derank those videos. ...
--- End quote ---

Mr. Bill:
Association for Psychological Science, 8/21/19: Fake News Can Lead to False Memories

--- Quote ---...The research was conducted in the week preceding the 2018 referendum on legalizing abortion in Ireland....

[The researchers] recruited 3,140 eligible voters online and asked them whether and how they planned to vote in the referendum. Next, the experimenters presented each participant with six news reports, two of which were made-up stories that depicted campaigners on either side of the issue engaging in illegal or inflammatory behavior. After reading each story, participants were asked if they had heard about the event depicted in the story previously; if so, they reported whether they had specific memories about it.

The researchers then informed the eligible voters that some of the stories they read had been fabricated, and invited the participants to identify any of the reports they believed to be fake. Finally, the participants completed a cognitive test.

Nearly half of the respondents reported a memory for at least one of the made-up events; many of them recalled rich details about a fabricated news story. The individuals in favor of legalizing abortion were more likely to remember a falsehood about the referendum opponents; those against legalization were more likely to remember a falsehood about the proponents. Many participants failed to reconsider their memory even after learning that some of the information could be fictitious. And several participants recounted details that the false news reports did not include. ...
--- End quote ---

Mr. Bill:
AP, 9/5/19: False Claims Blur Line Between Mass Shootings, 2020 Politics

--- Quote ---Minutes after media outlets identified the gunman who killed seven people in West Texas, a Twitter account that may be automated began spreading baseless information linking the shooter to Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.

"The Odessa Shooter's name is Seth Ator, a Democrat Socialist who had a Beto sticker on his truck," said the post, which also appeared on Facebook.

No such sticker was found on either of the vehicles, one a stolen mail truck, that Ator used during his rampage, according to Sgt. Oscar Villarreal, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Still, the groundless conjecture after the shooting was spread by thousands online...

The first tweet linking O'Rourke to the Odessa shooter appears to have come in shortly after 1 p.m. Central time on Sunday from an account with bot-like tendencies, said Nir Hauser, the chief technology officer for VineSight, which tracks viral misinformation trending online.

Twitter temporarily suspended the offending account Wednesday only to eventually reinstate it. ...

In the days since the shooting, the claim has continued to morph into new status updates and posts on social media. Some Facebook users posted a picture of a white truck with a "Beto 2020" sticker on the back window, saying it belonged to Ator.

That image actually came from an online retailer who sells campaign decals. ...

Unproven statements that the shooter was a "registered Democrat" also spread quickly on social media hours after the rampage. Texas voting records list the 36-year-old Ator registered as an unaffiliated voter in 2012, his most recent record. ...

In June, when 20-year-old Brandon Webber was fatally shot by U.S. marshals during an attempted arrest in Memphis, social media users erroneously circulated a photo of a man wearing a Trump shirt to claim he was the officer responsible for killing Webber. The image was actually a truck driver who frequently posts videos on YouTube. U.S. marshals have not named the officers involved in the incident. ...
--- End quote ---


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