Fake News, News, People, Politics, Social Media

Lies, lies and more lies. Out of an old Tacoma house, fact-checking site Snopes uncovers them

374272d8-cc2f-11e8-bed9-4cc6adde09f1-1560x1021.jpgSnopes CEO David Mikkelson says the fact-checking website really took off after Sept. 11. “Conspiracy theories were running rampant.” (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Snopes, the country’s most popular hoax-debunking site, is run by its founder out of a 97-year-old house in Tacoma. And is it ever busy, with 47 of its “Hot 50” posts having something to do with politics.

Here, in a 97-year-old frame house in the city’s North End, is the headquarters of America’s most popular hoax-debunking website.

The command center for Snopes.com is an upstairs bedroom with shelving and a laptop placed atop some books and a cardboard box.

These are busy times.

Is This a Photograph of Christine Blasey Ford with Bill Clinton? False.

Did Protesters Vandalize Brett Kavanaugh’s House? False.

Is This a Photograph of a Wasted Brett Kavanaugh? False.

Is This a Photograph of Christine Blasey Ford Partying? False.

All those viral hoaxes, spread by social media, have created a market for fact-checking sites, with Snopes, started in 1994, being the champ.

It gets 32 million visits a month on desktop and mobile, according to Similar.Web.com, an industry site that measures web traffic. Its closest competitors are The Straight Dope (4 million monthly visits) and FactCheck (3 million).

From his bedroom office, David Mikkelson, Snopes publisher and CEO, runs a site employing 16 people across the country, half of them fact-checkers and the rest on the business and web side.

Read more at The Seattle Times

By Eric Lacitis, Seattle Times staff reporter   Oct. 10, 2018

Education, Events, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media

UW Lecture Series on Media Literacy

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The University of Washington public lecture series, BUNK: The Information Series, brings an impressive lineup of speakers to Seattle.

  • Author and political scientist Cornell Clayton will speak October 9, “Off the Rails: Populism and Paranoia in American Politics.”
  • Renee Hobbs, a leader in the field of media literacy education, will speak November 28, “Mind Over Media: Teaching About Propaganda.”

The lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are required and you must act quickly to reserve a seat.

See the full schedule of speakers.

Media Literacy Week, November 5-9, 2018 — It’s less than a month away!

Media Literacy Week activities and events raise awareness about the importance of media literacy education for today’s students, and showcase the amazing work of educators, students, and organizations across the US. Now in its fourth year, Media Literacy Week is sponsored by the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE).

NAMLE has named Ethan Delavan, Action for Media Education (AME) board member, as Washington’s Media Literacy Week chair. AME is a NAMLE partner in this annual event.

For updates on Media Literacy Week in Washington, check the AME blogFacebook, or Twitter.

People, Politics

Great TEDx talk: How teachers can help kids find their political voices

Social justice belongs in our schools, says educator Sydney Chaffee. In a bold talk, she shows how teaching students to engage in activism helps them build important academic and life skills — and asks us to rethink how we can use education to help kids find their voices. “Teaching will always be a political act,” Chaffee says. “We can’t be afraid of our students’ power. Their power will help them make tomorrow better.”

Read more about this TEDx Talk here.

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media, Technology

Media Literacy Project: Why should we trust journalists?

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Professional journalists face more scrutiny in today’s crowded information marketplace because readers confuse them with bloggers and a cadre of online opinion scribes.

Journalism’s essence is a “discipline of verification,” according to Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute. This means that journalists pursue verification of facts as the first order of business. If the journalists do not follow these standards, their careers and reputations are on the line.

Readers should understand there are important differences between professional journalists and everyday bloggers. Journalists are held to higher standards. They are required to get specific training through journalism degrees and are held to employment standards that ensure they serve their audiences by providing relevant and reliable stories that matter to their communities.

Read more at The Free Press

By Kevin Krohn and Austin Moorhouse   July 14, 2017

 

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Resources

Information, propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation: A guide to evaluating information

hearing-clipart-hearing-ears-clipart-1.pngWhat’s the difference between propaganda and disinformation? Why is misinformation different from disinformation? Not completely sure?

Parents, teachers, and anyone interested in media literacy can sort out what’s coming at us in today’s news cycle with the help of this website from the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries.

Two short videos, Evaluating Sources for Credibility, and Quick Check for your Sources: The TRAPP Method are a good place to start, and could generate lively classroom discussions.

Is someone trying to provoke you to a desired response, using information based in fact? Or is the information just wrong or mistaken? What if it’s a calculated, deliberate lie?

Find out now! Check out the guide from Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media

New WordPress policy allows it to shut down blogs of Sandy Hook deniers

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The crackdown on hate speech continues:

WordPress has taken down a handful alt-right blogs, according to several complaints from affected blog owners and readers who claim the sites were removed from WordPress.com, despite not being in violation of the company’s Terms of Service. Some site owners also said they were not notified of the shutdown in advance and have lost their work. The removals, we’ve learned, are in part due to a new policy WordPress has rolled out that now prohibits blogs from the “malicious publication of unauthorized, identifying images of minors.”

Yes, that’s right: the company has created a new rule to specifically handle the Sandy Hook conspiracists, and boot them from WordPress.com.

While some of the affected sites had already been flagged for other violations, many were hosting Sandy Hook conspiracy theories and other “false flag” content.

Read more at TechCrunch

By Sarah Perez    August 16, 2018

Education, News, Politics

Tom Steyer plans to register 100,000 millennials to vote

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Tom Steyer’s NextGen America organization is working to register 100,000 students in one month at college campuses across 11 states as part of its “Welcome Week” program launching this week.

Why it matters: This is the group’s biggest voter registration effort yet, focused specifically on the most crucial bloc of non-voters, and it’s happening just three months before the 2018 midterm election.

  • They’ve already registered 80,000 millennials, and now they want to register 100,000 more through mid-September.

By the numbers: NextGen will deploy 765 organizers to 420 campuses — including 135 community colleges and 14 historically black colleges and universities — to engage with students during “Welcome Week” as they’re headed back to school.

  • In 2016, their youth voter registration effort sent 500 NextGen organizers to 300 college campuses.
  • There are 70 million eligible voters between the ages of 18-35.
  • NextGen will pledge 40,000 young people to actually show up and vote in November.
  • The group is also launching a $250,000 digital ad campaign across these campuses.
  • The 11 targeted states include Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

What they’re saying: “Young voters … are essential to propelling progressives to victory in 2018 and beyond,” said NextGen America President Tom Steyer. “In November, young people can take back the House and take a stand against the divisive policies of Donald Trump.”

Be smart: Voter registration might be a non-partisan effort, but Democrats will certainly be the ones to benefit from this. Steyer has been an outspoken advocate of impeaching President Trump, and he’s now the biggest individual source of money and resources for Democrats.

 

From Axios

By    August 14, 2018   Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Net Neutrality, News, Politics, Social Media, Technology

FCC’s net neutrality DDoS claims debunked. Here’s what you need to know.

We finally have some answers on the alleged DDoS attack on the FCC’s commenting system

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Net neutrality may be dead, but questions remain about how seriously the Federal Communications Commission considered comments from the public. The FCC’s system for submitting those comments was a hot mess.

Two million of the 22 million comments submitted used stolen identities, some for people who were dead, including actress Patty Duke, who died in 2016. Nearly 8 million comments used email domains associated with FakeMailGenerator.com. About half a million were sent from Russian email addresses. And of the emails that came from legitimate email addresses, the vast majority were form letters originating from the same pro- and anti-net neutrality groups.

Then there was the controversy over a supposed cyberattack on the comment system that temporarily shut down the platform on exactly the same day thousands of net neutrality supporters responded to comedian John Oliver’s call to flood the agency with comments.

That supposed cyberattack, after more than a year of speculation, has been confirmed to be false, as a statement from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai revealed on Monday.…

FCC officials declined to comment for this story.

So what does it mean for the controversial repeal of net neutrality? Could the tainted public record on net neutrality help in efforts to restore the rules? To help you understand what really happened and what it all means, CNET has put together this FAQ.

Read more at CNET

By Marguerite Reardon  First published June 29, 2018  Update, Aug. 6, 2018

Education, News, Politics, Social Media

Teens are debating the news on Instagram

More teenagers are getting their information from so-called flop accounts.

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…Luna, a 15-year-old admin on @Flops.R.us, said that she and other teens use flop accounts as a space, away from parents, teachers, or people who don’t take them seriously, to discuss issues and formulate ideas. “Flop accounts are your place where you can get your or other people’s opinions out,” she said.

“Teenagers want an outlet to express their opinions with the same kind of conviction that they generally might not be able to express at home or other parts of their life,” said Hal, a 17-year-old admin on @toomanyflops_.

“Liberal flop accounts point out problematic behavior or spread liberal opinions,” said Bea, a 16-year-old in Maryland who founded the account @hackflops. “Conservative accounts post about feminism and whether the movement is good or bad, whether you can be conservative and LGBT, or Black Lives Matter and whether it’s better or worse than All Lives Matter … I’ve formed my opinions largely based upon what I see in the flop community…

Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media-studies professor at the University of Virginia, said he thinks flop accounts are a good thing. “You have people engaging directly with claims about the world and arguing about truthfulness and relevance in the comments. It’s good that that’s happening,” he said. “If young people are getting more politically engaged because of it, all the better.”

By Taylor Lorenz, July 26, 2018    Read more at The Atlantic

Image courtesy of INSTAGRAM / THANH DO / THE ATLANTIC

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media

The death of truth: how we gave up on facts and ended up with Trump

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Media literacy education teaches us how to evaluate sources and understand how information can be manipulated. This excellent article from The Guardian is well worth reading.

For decades now, objectivity – or even the idea that people can aspire toward ascertaining the best available truth – has been falling out of favour. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s well-known observation that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts” is more timely than ever: polarisation has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts. This has been exponentially accelerated by social media, which connects users with like-minded members and supplies them with customised news feeds that reinforce their preconceptions, allowing them to live in ever narrower silos.

Read more at The Guardian.

Education, Politics, Take Action

Take action: Opportunity to make Media Literacy a budget priority

Dear Media Literacy Advocates, Friends and Supporters,

Now is the time for us to take action! Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal is asking for your opinion about new priorities for school funding. This is an opportunity to influence funding for years to come!

Superintendent Reykdal wants to hear from us — teachers, students, parents and interested taxpayers.

  • The online survey asks you to rank budget priorities that OSPI should put forward to the Legislature for 2019.
  • Media literacy is not listed on the survey; you can use the write-in section.
  • The more times we can get media literacy mentioned in this survey, the better chance we have to ensure the funding of media literacy education.

To take the survey, please visit the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website below:

You can take the survey here on the State of Washington OSPI website.

The survey is open now through Friday, June 8.

It is available in nine languages in addition to English: Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Somali, Traditional Chinese, Khmer, Korean, Punjabi, and Tagalog. It takes just five minutes to complete and is completely anonymous.

Let’s make sure Superintendent Reykdal knows that media literacy education must be included in his list of priorities!

Education, News, Politics

Teachers are marching ahead of their unions, from Oklahoma to Arizona

Image courtesy of NPR

“I’m 54 years old and my paycheck is $1,980 [a month]. I can’t afford f****** health insurance.”

That’s one of the first things Larry Cagle says on the phone. He is spitting nails. The Tulsa English teacher is one of the leaders of a grassroots organizing group, Oklahoma Teachers United, that they say represents thousands of public school teachers around the state. His group, and both of Oklahoma’s teachers unions, support the walkout and rally happening across the state Monday in support of higher wages and more state revenue.

Teachers are striking even though state legislators passed a pay raise of about $6,000 last week. That vote followed earlier walkouts. The bill, if signed, would bring Oklahoma’s teacher salaries from among the lowest in the nation, to the middle of the pack.

The Oklahoma teachers are not the only ones unhappy.
Continue reading “Teachers are marching ahead of their unions, from Oklahoma to Arizona”

News, Politics, Privacy, Social Media, Technology

Facebook gave data about 57bn friendships

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Before Facebook suspended Aleksandr Kogan from its platform for the data harvesting “scam” at the centre of the unfolding Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media company enjoyed a close enough relationship with the researcher that it provided him with an anonymised, aggregate dataset of 57bn Facebook friendships.

Facebook provided the dataset of “every friendship formed in 2011 in every country in the world at the national aggregate level” to Kogan’s University of Cambridge laboratory for a study on international friendships published in Personality and Individual Differences in 2015. Two Facebook employees were named as co-authors of the study, alongside researchers from Cambridge, Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. Kogan was publishing under the name Aleksandr Spectre at the time.

Read more from The Guardian. Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Net Neutrality, News, Politics, Technology

FCC plans December vote to kill Net Neutrality rules

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission next month is planning a vote to kill Obama-era rules demanding fair treatment of web traffic and may decide to vacate the regulations altogether, according to people familiar with the plans.

 The move would reignite a years-long debate that has seen Republicans and broadband providers seeking to eliminate the rules, while Democrats and technology companies support them. The regulations passed in 2015 bar broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. from interfering with web traffic sent by Google, Facebook Inc.and others.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, chosen by President Donald Trump, in April proposed gutting the rules and asked for public reaction. The agency has taken in more than 22 million comments on the matter.

Pai plans to seek a vote in December, said two people who asked not to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public. As the head of a Republican majority, he is likely to win a vote on whatever he proposes.

Read more at Bloomberg.

Video courtesy of Bloomberg.

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News, Politics, Technology

Success! Mattel announced that they were canceling the release of Aristotle

From Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

On October 4, Mattel announced that they were canceling the release of Aristotle. Thank you to the thousands of parents, caregivers, and experts who spoke out in support of kids’ privacy and well-being! We commend Mattel for doing the right thing and putting kids first. 

From The New York Times:

Mattel announced on Wednesday that it was canceling plans to bring to market a smart device called Aristotle, which was aimed at children from infancy to adolescence and was set to hit stores in 2018. The decision came after child advocacy groups, lawmakers and parents raised concerns about the impact the artificial intelligence device could have had on children’s privacy, development and well-being.

A petition asking Mattel not to release Aristotle, started in May by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Story of Stuff Project, garnered more than 15,000 signatures and argued that babies and older children shouldn’t be encouraged to form bonds with data-collecting devices.

Read more at The New York Times.

News, Politics, Technology

Mobile app gives felons a fresh start

Junior Castañeda spent most of the past decade addicted to methamphetamines and suffering through stints of homelessness. After racking up five misdemeanors, including three DUIs, he cleaned up a couple of years ago and entered community college with dreams of attaining an advanced degree in business.

To finance his education, Castañeda sought part-time employment this spring as a ticket-taker for the Oakland A’s. He thought the job interview went well, but a few weeks later Castañeda received a rejection letter denying him employment based on his prior criminal convictions.

Then, in March, Castañeda found out about a mobile app called Clear My Record. The platform helps people reduce or dismiss nonviolent convictions by submitting crime information to public defenders, streamlining a process that can take months and multiple visits to a county courthouse.

“All these companies have you run a background check,” said Castañeda. “Well, I’ve changed. I’ve reformed from my old life and I can be a productive member of society. I can be an asset to any company.”

Read more at KQED.

Advertising, News, People, Politics

Advertisers, afraid to offend, weigh in on Shakespeare and Megyn Kelly

Delta Air Lines and Bank of America drew headlines this week for pulling their support from New York’s Public Theater in response to criticism about its production of “Julius Caesar,” in which the titular character — made up to look like Mr. Trump — is assassinated. Then, on Monday, JPMorgan Chase temporarily halted its ads on NBC News because of Megyn Kelly’s coming interview with Alex Jones, who operates the far-right site Infowars and has become more prominent because of his relationship with Mr. Trump. In both cases, the advertisers’ decisions were cheered by some and deplored as censorship by others.

“A lot of sponsorships that wouldn’t have garnered a lot of attention a year ago are now coming under greater scrutiny because people are wondering what that says about a business’s political stance,” said Kara Alaimo, who teaches public relations at Hofstra University. “Brands are going to be asking a lot more questions moving forward about the content of theatrical productions and potentially even of news outlets, which is sort of the more frightening prospect to me.”

Read more at The New York Times.

Education, News, People, Politics

How media literacy can help students discern fake news

Recognizing bias in news stories is one form of media literacy. Spotting when the news is totally fabricated is something else entirely. How can teachers help students tell fact from media fiction? Educators and media literacy advocates in Washington state are working together with legislators to address the problem.

Special correspondent Kavitha Cardoza of Education Week reports in the June 6, 2017, edition of PBS NewsHour, featuring AME member Claire Beach and Washington State Senator Marko Liias (D) speaking in the weekly series Making the Grade.

Read the full article here.

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Fake News, News, People, Politics

CNN refuses Trump campaign’s ‘fake news’ ad

The head of President Trump’s re-election campaign accused CNN of “censorship” on Tuesday afternoon after the broadcast network refused to run the group’s latest advertisement.

CNN said it would run the 30-second television spot, a celebration of Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office, only if the campaign removed a section that featured the words “fake news” superimposed over several TV journalists, including Wolf Blitzer of CNN, and others from MSNBC, PBS, ABC and CBS.

CNN defended the decision in a statement on Twitter.

“The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false,” the network said. “Per our policy, it will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted.”

Read more at The New York Times.

 

Net Neutrality, News, Politics, Privacy, Take Action

Verizon accuses net neutrality advocates of lying to rile their base

Net neutrality is under threat and advocacy groups such as Free Press, Fight for the Future and others are pushing to save it. That’s not how Verizon, one of the Internet Service Providers hoping for a reversal of Federal Communications Commission rules enabling net neutrality, sees it.

“You gotta understand, there are a lot of advocacy groups out there that fundraise on this issue,” said Craig Sillman, executive VP-public policy and general counsel at the telco giant. “So how do you fundraise? You stir people up with outrageous claims. Unfortunately, we live in a time where people have discovered that it doesn’t matter what’s true, you just say things to rile up the base.”

Sillman spoke in a PR video released by Verizon on Friday in which he is interviewed by an apparent Verizon employee who calls himself “Jeremy.” Sillman argued the FCC is not planning to kill off net neutrality, it’s merely altering its legal footing.

View the video below, or read more at Ad Age.

Net Neutrality, News, Politics, Take Action

Net neutrality: Free Press Action Fund project

Net Neutrality is essential for online activism.We’re working with our allies to mobilize people against the recent rulings on Net Neutrality. We’ll be organizing more creative disruptions and big protests at the FCC. We’ll be correcting the record in the press and doing economic research and legal work to expose and challenge what Pai and Trump are trying to do. People across the country are already speaking out, and there will be many opportunities in the weeks ahead to get involved.

To take action on this issue and save net neutrality, please consider donating to the Free Press Action Fund.

The Free Press Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization fighting for your rights to connect and communicate. The Free Press Action Fund does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Learn more at www.freepress.net.

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Bill Update, News, Places, Politics, Privacy

House Bill 2200: A bill to create internet privacy protections

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Washington State is trying to pass a bill that would create internet privacy protections.

Check out this bill here!

The bill would create new internet privacy protections enforceable under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, including:

  • Compelling transparency by making ISP privacy policies available to customers so they know what to expect.
  • Protecting privacy by prohibiting ISPs from selling or using private information (such as a person’s browsing history) without consent.
  • Requiring ISPs to report to customers when they have been hacked and personal data has been breached so customers can protect themselves.
Please consider supporting this bill. It is important that consumers should have the option to keep their personal browser history private!
Net Neutrality, News, Politics, Privacy, Social Media

Silicon Valley is beginning to fight the Trump administration’s net neutrality plan

A lobbying group representing Facebook, Google, Twitter and other web giants told the U.S. Federal Communications Commission yesterday that it shouldn’t weaken net neutrality rules — an early warning shot at the ideas contemplated by the agency’s new Republican chairman, Ajit Pai.

Under Pai’s draft plan, which he has not yet presented publicly, internet providers like AT&T, Comcast*, Charter and Verizon could soon escape tough regulation: They would only have to promise in writing that they won’t block web pages or slow down their competitors’ traffic, sources have said.

Read more at Recode.

Image courtesy of Recode.

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Bill Update, Events, News, Politics

New 2017 Law Promotes Media Literacy for students in WA Schools

On Thursday, April 20, our bill became a law! Governor Jay Inslee signed it with AME representatives Barbara Johnson, Nick Pernisco and Marilyn Cohen present. The law will go into effect on July 23.

This bill, ESSB 5449, is a follow up to SSB 6273.  That bill made us the first state in the country to pass media literacy legislation, making Washington the model state. Read more about our success passing SSB 6273 here.

Now media literacy legislation has moved still another step forward in Washington with the passage of a second bill ESSB 5449 in 2017.

In speaking with the group, Governor Inslee noted how this bill was addressing an important subject.

Multiple news articles have come out to coverage the passing of this bill:

View images from the bill signing below.