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OPLIN 4cast #516: Fake news

Posted in 4cast

In the search to find explanations for Donald Trump’s surprising victory in last week’s election, many people are pointing the finger of blame at Facebook for not doing more to suppress fake news stories in their News Feed. For librarians, who have long tried to explain to their users the difference between trustworthy information and suspicious search results, there must be some small sense of vindication. As Miguel Figueroa wrote on the Library of the Future blog, “Authenticity can be interpreted in a lot of ways – library professionals help people better understand that every day.” Will people assume this is just a one-time, Facebook/election problem and ignore it in a few weeks? Of course they will, but librarians now have an opportunity to inform people that fake news is really an everyday problem happening all around the world. This week we link to (authentic) articles from the United States, the Philippines, India, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Britain.

  • Facebook alone didn’t create Trump—the click economy did (Wired | Issie Lapowsky)  “In 2011, web traffic outfit Chartbeat published a study that showed a huge percentage of people who clicked on an article on Slate never even scrolled down the page. A vast majority only ever made it halfway. ‘They’re reading the headlines, getting an emotional reaction, and they’re passing them along,’ [author Jonah] Berger says. It’s a trend that feels tailor-made for a candidate like Trump, whose campaign was high on emotion but low on detail. Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, used fact-checking as its first line of defense. It seemed logical at the time. Online, most facts are findable, so why not use them? But it could be that all that work only served to heap more detail on an electorate that was scarcely making it through the headlines.”
  • Social media and fake news: How Trump bypassed hostile media to deliver his message (InterAksyon | Rob Lever)  “A Gallup survey this year found just 32 percent had confidence in the media’s ability ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.’ There is a growing sentiment among conservatives that ‘the mainstream press is left-of-center and that the conservatives should have their own platforms,’ [digital consultant Alan] Rosenblatt said. Many Trump supporters and conservatives turned to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to spread their messages and counter the news in traditional outlets. But much of the news on Facebook was fake, media watchers pointed out, compromising the platform as well as confidence in the media.”
  • Fake news and how it is killing democracy through social media timelines (Indian Express | Shruti Dhapola)  “Facebook and social media in general are just a source of news, but for a growing number of people these are the only sources. Homepage traffic is down across the world for websites, and this is true in India as well. People read more news shared by their friends on Facebook, rather than actually go to news websites. But the problem is that Facebook’s 1 billion plus reach means fake news gets amplified a lot stronger than it would say with a traditional news media outlet.”
  • Media fights back as invasion of fake news intensifies (fin24tech | Matthew le Cordeur)  “To combat fake news spreading, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the New York Times, BuzzFeed News, the Washington Post and CNN joined the First Draft Partner Network in September. This site, which was formed in 2015 with the backing of Alphabet’s Google, is for journalists who source and report stories from social media and require ways to authenticate real from fake news. From Trump’s victory to the state capture debate in South Africa, the war on fake news is a global issue.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library: