Author Topic: Identifying fake news stories  (Read 1324 times)

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2019, 08:40:30 PM »
Even firsthand reports by seemingly sincere people on social media may be fiction.  Here's an interesting "attempted child abduction" from my region, which seems to have been a mom who had a paranoid moment and then embellished the story for Facebook with all sorts of imaginary details.  The police have posted screencaps of the originals (which have now been deleted along with the mom's Facebook account), plus their description of how her story collapsed when they interviewed her.

Pasco Police, 9/17/19: JUST THE FACTS ABOUT THE WALMART LURING CASE

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...No attempted luring occurred. The original poster reported that they were alarmed by the number of men inside the Walmart on Friday evening, on their cell phones, who looked at the poster’s 12-year-old daughter. The poster implies that the men were part of a sex trafficking ring. In particular, the man described as following them around the store is actually shown on security video to be stationary, playing on his phone, glancing up at the poster and girl, stepping out of their way, and resuming standing there, playing on his phone. ...

The poster admitted “embellishing a lot” of the story when reinterviewed by police. The poster admitted lying about contacting the police because the poster feared being judged harshly by commenters if the poster did not claim to have already contacted the police. The call to the non-emergency line and the entire conversation the poster paraphrases never took place. ...

Offline Carver

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2020, 08:15:41 PM »
A lot of compelling arguments in this topic but not substantial information on how to identify fake news. It starts out with a list of sources that portray themselves as news, but aren't, or only partly. The lesson is to look at the source and make a judgement based on your opinion of the credibility of that source. I don't trust that method.

I learned distrust of "news" about the age of 14 when an event I was involved in was exaggerated in a news story for the purpose of teaching a lesson. It was a lesson that was a good one but it was made by telling a lie about what really happened. But the lie justified the lesson. I learned more from the lie than the lesson.

No news source is telling the truth; truth defined as that being a narrative that accurately describes an event as the next best thing as being there. The problem with that is that being there isn't a reliable source either. I've experienced being an eyewitness to an event to find out that I was dead wrong on what I thought had occurred.

So how do we process incoming information of what's happening? My current strategy is to try to put it into context of historical trends and possibilities. But that is solely based upon personal interpretation of what I have learned about it from what I consider tainted and biased sources and my knowledge of history and my ability to predict.

Almost any event of major proportions or consequences is quickly followed up by numerous intriguing and conflicting "tin-foil hat" conspiracy theories, and some sources are well known for spewing those theories and are routinely discredited and ignored. But if those theories are conceivable, are they possible? Do they contribute to constructing a description of a reality that occurred is will occur?

If there is one event that has me totally bamboozled it is the 9/11 attack. What really happened? The conflicting evidence cannot be resolved. For some it is the JFK assassination, or Pearl Harbor, or any number of red flag events. How does one know? I've come to the conclusion that I can't know and that the more important question to ask of myself is "why or how does it matter to me?". More often than not, the answer is "It doesn't", which I am not satisfied with.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2020, 10:11:27 PM »
A lot of compelling arguments in this topic but not substantial information on how to identify fake news. It starts out with a list of sources that portray themselves as news, but aren't, or only partly. The lesson is to look at the source and make a judgement based on your opinion of the credibility of that source. I don't trust that method. ...

When I started this thread (argh, May 2016 feels like ancient history!), the term "fake news" meant something different: stories that were fictional -- created for entertainment, or for screwing with people's heads for fun, or for making people look gullible.  You could protect yourself (a bit) by researching the source.

Nowadays, even the term "fake news" has become fake news.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2020, 08:18:17 AM »
It's far easier to go on the assumption that if it comes from mass media, it's fake news until verified by your own research.   ;D

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2020, 12:39:00 PM »
It's far easier to go on the assumption that if it comes from mass media, it's fake news until verified by your own research.   ;D

I figure, if a story is reported by mainstream media...
  • The basic facts they're reporting are, probably, approximately correct.
  • They've probably omitted a whole lot of other basic facts.
  • They have designed the story as clickbait.  The title and most of the story will emphazise anything that causes fear and/or outrage.
  • They will dig up "two sides" even when there is no controversy, in order to make better clickbait.  But "three sides" would be too confusing.
  • The "fair" reporting will always favor one side, and this will be based on who owns the media source and what they consider to be the most profitable viewpoint.

Offline Carver

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2020, 10:18:50 PM »
They call it fake news if it differs from their opinion. Difference of opinion = fake. Fake = a lie. Lies = hate speech.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2020, 05:57:08 AM »
Biased news is fake news.  Agenda driven news is fake news.  Even if the subject of the article is based on actual events.   Thats the difference between fake news and reporting.   

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2020, 07:51:44 PM »
BuzzFeed, 2/6/20: These Fake Local News Sites Have Confused People For Years. We Found Out Who Created Them.

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...In addition to being plagiarized, the content flooding his Google Alert results was often at least a year old. Adding to the confusion, it was published on websites that at first glance seemed like legitimate local news sites, with names like the Livingston Ledger, Denton Daily, and Hoback Herald. ...

In fact, the plagiarized sites are part of an operation run by a North Carolina man with a background in the financial information industry. And the motivation is simple: money.

A BuzzFeed News investigation has identified a network of roughly 100 sites dating back to at least 2015 that have been plagiarizing stories from major news organizations, masquerading as local news and financial outlets, and manipulating Google News and search results to earn money through ads, through financial email subscriptions, or by referring people to dubious investments. ...

These sites show how easy it's been to bypass the procedures Google uses to keep low-quality sites out of Google News. In November, Tara Calishain, an author and professional researcher who runs researchbuzz.me, warned that ”junk news” sites had infiltrated Google News. They were so prevalent in results that she had to reconsider her assumption that sources included in Google News “have been vetted to a certain extent.”

The McGorty sites are also the latest example of how online local news has become polluted by ad fraudsters, political hucksters and operatives, and Russian trolls. These impostors trade on the trustworthiness of local journalism by adopting names that evoke small-town newspapers. Some even adopt the names of now-shuttered outlets that once served communities. ...

Their strategy appears to be to seed the sites with plagiarized content to make them appear real. This helps them get accepted into Google News. Once accepted, the sites reprint press releases or content provided by a partner, with an aim at attracting traffic via Google News, Google Alerts, social shares, and search engine optimization. The sites monetized this traffic with ads placed via the Google AdSense network, and referral fees for helping drive sign-ups for a financial information newsletter. ...

[A] Miami Herald reporter, said that once accepted into Google News, the sites could have altered the content of her stories to mislead people or spread false information to a large audience.

“Thankfully, it was just copy-and-pasted [content], but it could easily be distorted and warped into whatever it is that that individual wants to convey to the world,” she said. ...

Offline Carver

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2020, 09:35:19 PM »
Quote
Reply #37 on: Today at 07:51:44 PM

Very interesting.

Offline Carver

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2020, 09:41:23 PM »
Is any major news event of a catastrophic nature immune to conspiracy theories?
A different version of that question:
What conditions are favorable to generate a conspiracy theory of a news event?

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2020, 01:19:26 PM »
Is any major news event of a catastrophic nature immune to conspiracy theories?
A different version of that question:
What conditions are favorable to generate a conspiracy theory of a news event?

Huh.  That's an interesting question.  People have been incredibly inventive with theories.  Maybe I should set up a website to collect the world's most unexpected conspiracy theories.

I mean, you can hardly get much more unexpected than linking Comet Ping Pong pizzeria to a Democrat pedophilia and Satanic ritual abuse network.

As for catastrophic events, I'd say that 99.99% of them can get a conspiracy theory explanation within a day or two.  Whether those explanations go viral or not, that's a lot harder to predict.

Offline Carver

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2020, 02:57:41 PM »
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People have been incredibly inventive with theories.
I recognize when I embrace theories because they coincide with my politics and reject others that do not. What unnerves me is when I cannot resolve conflicting facts supporting opposing ideological theories. 

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2020, 07:19:35 PM »
Fake-news tweets about coronavirus.  Is it the Chinese or the Russians?  Or someone else?

NPR, 5/20/20: Researchers: Nearly Half Of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are Likely Bots

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...Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.

It is too early to say conclusively which individuals or groups are behind the bot accounts, but researchers said the tweets appeared aimed at sowing division in America.

"We do know that it looks like it's a propaganda machine, and it definitely matches the Russian and Chinese playbooks, but it would take a tremendous amount of resources to substantiate that," said Kathleen Carley, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who is conducting a study into bot-generated coronavirus activity on Twitter that has yet to be published. ...

Using a so-called bot-hunter tool, researchers flagged accounts that tweet more than is humanly possible or claim to be in multiple countries within a few hours' period. Researchers say they examine a Twitter account's followers, frequency of tweeting and how often the user is mentioned on the platform in determining whether the tweeter is a bot account.

"When we see a whole bunch of tweets at the same time or back to back, it's like they're timed," Carley said. "We also look for use of the same exact hashtag, or messaging that appears to be copied and pasted from one bot to the next." ...

Never let a good crisis go to waste, right?

You know, we give serious thought to all sorts of conspiracies involving people using the COVID-19 crisis for their own advantage.  Bill Gates is trying to immunize and microchip us.  The elites are trying to cull the world's population.  Fauci is trying to make more billions.  But how about the old-fashioned conspiracies conducted by our long-term adversaries in China and Russia?  Who stands to gain most by having the US economy ruined, US citizens in constant fear, and total social disruption as we go for each other's throats over whether it's patriotic to wear masks or not?

Offline Carver

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Re: Identifying fake news stories
« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2020, 08:00:01 PM »
But how about the old-fashioned conspiracies conducted by our long-term adversaries in China and Russia?  Who stands to gain most by having the US economy ruined, US citizens in constant fear, and total social disruption as we go for each other's throats over whether it's patriotic to wear masks or not?

This book is fundamental to understand what is going on today in the media: https://www.amazon.com/Disinformation-Strategies-Undermining-Attacking-Promoting-ebook/dp/B01ED2THK4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=disinformation&qid=1590112902&sr=8-1

Offline lonesurvivor200

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