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.

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, 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

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, News, Privacy, Social Media

If you’re not ready to delete Facebook, here’s how to limit the data you give it

sub-buzz-14990-1521577163-5.jpgAccording to reports by the New York Times and the Observer, a research firm called Cambridge Analytica collected millions of Facebook users’ personal information without their consent — and people are mad. Many don’t trust Facebook with their data anymore, and they’re threatening to delete their accounts.

But Facebook and its network of apps, including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, are important communication lines for a lot of people, so deleting your account might not be a realistic option. You can, however, dial back your use and reduce the amount of information you give the site. Here’s how.

Break your habit and limit your use of the platform.

Just by signing up for the service, you’ve agreed to let Facebook track your activity and constantly collect data about you. By reducing the time you spend on the site, interaction with posts, and content you upload, you are also reducing the amount of data Facebook is gathering from you. And remember, this data collection applies to Facebook — and everywhere you’ve signed in with Facebook, including Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as, to a lesser extent, third-party websites like Spotify.

Log out of Facebook before browsing the web.

Non-Facebook websites use what’s called the Facebook Pixel, a small piece of JavaScript code that tracks your browsing activity across the web and tells Facebook what you’re looking at when you’re not on Facebook’s site and apps.

Any page that has a Facebook Like button installed most likely uses a Facebook pixel. Even pages that don’t have a Like button can have a pixel. This means it’s possible that Facebook knows most of your web browsing history.

You can prevent this tracking by logging out of Facebook and using Facebook only in “incognito” or “private” browsing mode in your web browser. Once you’ve logged out, be sure to clear your cookies. In Chrome, select Chrome from menu bar > Clear browsing data > Time range: All time (Note: This will sign you out of most websites).

By Nicole Nguyen, March 20, 2018     Read more at BuzzFeed News

Image courtesy of Chesnot / Getty Images

Net Neutrality, News, Social Media, Technology

‘The dam is breaking,’ declare net neutrality defenders after first House Republican backs CRA

“The tide is turning. The pressure is mounting. The floodgates are open.”—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

Net Neutrality advocates rally.jpg“The dam is breaking, as it should.” That’s how Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s national political director, responded on Tuesday after Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado became the first House Republican to sign a petition to force a vote on a measure that would reinstate net neutrality protections that the GOP-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rolled back in December.

“Rep. Coffman’s support to undo FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s repeal of net neutrality shows that public pressure is continuing to build on this issue and cannot be ignored this November,” Shakir added. “Other House members should take heed of Coffman’s direction and stand by the overwhelming majority of their constituents, not corporate interests.”

Read more at Common Dreams  Image courtesy of @IndivisibleLNK/Twitter

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.

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.

News, Social Media, Technology

Seattle Town Hall event: How to fix the future, with Andrew Keen and Alex Stonehill

The Internet has morphed from a tool providing efficiencies for consumers and businesses to an elemental force that is profoundly reshaping our societies and our world.

Former Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen was among the earliest to write about the potential dangers that the Internet poses to our culture and society. Now he takes our stage with his new book How to Fix the Future, looking to the past to learn how we might change our future. Keen discusses how societies tamed the excesses of the Industrial Revolution, which—like its digital counterpart—demolished long-standing models of living, ruined harmonious environments, and altered the business world beyond recognition. Keen is joined onstage by Alex Stonehill, Head of Creative Strategy at University of Washington’s Communication and Leadership Program.

This event will be held Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. at University Lutheran Church.
Address is1604 NE 50th St, Seattle, WA 98105 in the Ravenna neighborhood.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.

For more information and to buy tickets visit the Town Hall website.

News, People, Social Media, Technology

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs raised their kids tech-free — and it should’ve been a red flag

Psychologists are quickly learning how dangerous smartphones can be for teenage brains.

Research has found that an eighth-grader’s risk for depression jumps 27% when he or she frequently uses social media. Kids who use their phones for at least three hours a day are much more likely to be suicidal. And recent research has found the teen suicide rate in the US now eclipses the homicide rate, with smartphones as the driving force.

But the writing about smartphone risk may have been on the wall for roughly a decade, according to educators Joe Clement and Matt Miles, coauthors of the recent book “Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse is Making Our Kids Dumber.”

It should be telling, Clement and Miles argue, that the two biggest tech figures in recent history — Bill Gates and Steve Jobs — seldom let their kids play with the very products they helped create.

“What is it these wealthy tech executives know about their own products that their consumers don’t?” the authors wrote. The answer, according to a growing body of evidence, is the addictive power of digital technology.

Read more at Business Insider.

Education, News, Places, Social Media, Technology

How Silicon Valley plans to conquer the classroom

00BIGED2-superJumboThey call it the “Church Lane Hug.”

That is how educators at Church Lane Elementary Technology, a public school here, describe the protective two-armed way they teach students to carry their school-issued laptops.

Administrators at Baltimore County Public Schools, the 25th-largest public school system in the United States, have embraced the laptops as well, as part of one of the nation’s most ambitious classroom technology makeovers. In 2014, the district committed more than $200 million for HP laptops, and it is spending millions of dollars on math, science and language software. Its vendors visit classrooms. Some schoolchildren have been featured in tech-company promotional videos.

And Silicon Valley has embraced the school district right back.

HP has promoted the district as a model to follow in places as diverse as New York City and Rwanda. Daly Computers, which supplied the HP laptops, donated $30,000 this year to the district’s education foundation. Baltimore County schools’ top officials have traveled widely to industry-funded education events, with travel sometimes paid for by industry-sponsored groups.

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

News, Social Media, Technology

AOL says farewell to AIM, its popular instant messenger service, after 20 years

1006-aim-coming-to-an-end-aol-instant-messenger-twitter-4AOL has posted their final away message in what could be considered the end of an era.

The tech company announced Friday it would be discontinuing its pioneering Instant Messenger chat platform after 20 years of service.

AOL’s website posted the statement saying AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) would be shutting down on Dec. 15. AOL said it was ending the service to better focus on “building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products.”

After Dec. 15., AIM users won’t be able to sign into their accounts.

The statement also paid homage to its success in the late 1990s, including being referenced in HBO’s “Sex and the City” and the 1998 film, “You’ve Got Mail.”

Read more at Fox News.

Image courtesy of Fox News.

News, Social Media

My week without Instagram

gram logoInstagram was my go-to app. It was the first thing I checked in the morning, and the last thing I scrolled through before bed. When I opened my phone, I immediately opened Instagram. It was my “compulsion loop,” as Bill Davidow writes in “Exploiting the Neuroscience of Internet Addiction.” And I wanted to quit—or at least change these behaviors.

I’m a high school teacher, and recently, as part of a media literacy unit specifically geared toward examining our use of (addiction to) social media, I asked my 75 sophomores to give up their self-defined most-used app. For my students, this meant primarily giving up Snapchat or YouTube; for me, it meant I had to delete Instagram.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

Fake News, News, Social Media, Technology

To test your fake news judgment, play this game

Fake news has been on Maggie Farley’s mind further back than 2016 when President Trump brought the term into the vernacular.

Farley, a veteran journalist, says we’ve had fake news forever and that “people have always been trying to manipulate information for their own ends,” but she calls what we’re seeing now “Fake news with a capital F.” In other words, extreme in its ambition for financial gain or political power.

“Before, the biggest concern was, ‘Are people being confused by opinion; are people being tricked by spin?’ ” Now, Farley says, the stakes are much higher.

So one day she says an idea came to her: build a game to test users’ ability to detect fake news from real.

Voilà, Factitious. Give it a shot. (And take it from us, it’s not as easy as you might think!)

Read more at NPR.

Image courtesy of NPR.

Fake News, News, Social Media, Technology

Twitter may introduce feature to let users flag ‘fake news’

Twitter is considering a feature that would let users flag tweets that are false or inaccurate, in an attempt to combat the spread of disinformation on the platform.

The new feature, reported by the Washington Post, would allow Twitter users to report a post as misleading, in the same way they can currently report individual tweets as spam, or abusive or harmful.

The move would follow Facebook, which introduced a way for users to report “fake news” in December last year. That tool allows US users of the site to report “purposefully fake or deceitful news” to the site’s moderators. In the UK, however, the same option only allows users to block or message the poster, offering no way to bring the posts to the attention of the administrators.

Read more at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

News, Social Media

Facebook now has two billion monthly users

mark zuck facebookIt’s official: Facebook now has two billion monthly users. In other words, more than 25 percent of the entire world’s population uses Facebook every month.

Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are no doubt already thinking about hitting three billion users, but the path to that number promises to be much, much harder.

For starters, much of the world still doesn’t have the internet, which is why Facebook is building things like internet-beaming drones and laying fiber cable in Africa. That’s going to take some time.

The second big obstacle is China, where Facebook is banned from reaching the county’s more than 700 million internet users. If Facebook ever gets into China, three billion could be here much quicker than expected.

Read more at Recode.

News, Places, Social Media

Bellevue, WA girl bullied at school asks for help, Facebook post goes viral

Bellevue fourth grader says she has been bullied since school started in September. After months of telling teachers, administrators and the district, she was feeling desperate and posted a video on Facebook to get help for herself and other students who are bullied.

The video was shared more than 17,500 times and reached more than 670,000 people.

Nasir Andrews, 9, is finishing fourth grade at Ardmore Elementary School in the Bellevue School District.

Andrews, who is black, said other students have called her “Nutella” and “servant”.

Read more at KOMO News or watch the video below.

Video courtesy of KOMO News.

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Entertainment, News, Social Media

‘Lean Back’: Facebook looks to woo viewers and brands with TV-like content

Facebook wants users to “lean back.” No, that’s not the sequel to Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In”; it’s how people watch TV, unlike the way they scroll through the News Feed.

For months, Facebook has been talking to its biggest media and publishing partners to introduce TV-worthy programming to the social network. Last week, names of new reality and scripted shows were reported in The Hollywood Reporter — the competition series “Last State Standing” and the comedy “Loosely Exactly Nicole,” late of MTV.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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Advertising, News, Social Media

Facebook names the ad campaigns that best used Facebook

If an agency wants to win Facebook’s own ad awards, it doesn’t hurt to use the platform’s latest formats and technology. Aside from celebrating innovation, after all, the company is trying to showcase what marketers can achieve on Facebook and its Instagram unit.

The Facebook Awards winners revealed Thursday included campaigns that adopted innovations like vertical videos in Instagram Stories and live 360 video. One winning campaign featured a chatbot built to talk with Brazilian teens about alcoholism on Facebook Messenger. Bacardi USA created a DJ experience using Instagram Stories controls.

“We’ve seen those creative spaces come alive this past year,” said Andrew Keller, global creative director at Facebook Creative Shop. “Advertisers are experimenting with telling stories in different ways.”

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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News, People, Social Media, Technology

Wary ‘silver surfers’ embrace social media

Record numbers of older people are embracing social media and smart technology, according to a report from watchdog Ofcom.

But many of them remain wary of about using the internet, with a fifth of over-65s saying they are not confident online.

Despite that, four in 10 baby-boomers – aged 65 to 74 – use a smartphone.

And nearly half of net users in the same age group now have a social media profile.

About nine in 10 of those opt for a Facebook account, with only 6% choosing WhatsApp and 1% signing up for Instagram.

Meanwhile, most of the older age group – over-75s – say they have no plans to go online.

Read more at BBC News.

Image courtesy of BBC News.

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Advertising, Social Media

Evian babies swim in adult-size clothes in latest ‘Live Young’ outing

Evian’s latest outing for its “Live Young” babies puts the adorable tots into oversized adult clothes.

The new campaign, by BETC, shows the babies swamped by the grown-up outfits. This time there’s no TV ad; instead the images are running as print, outdoor and on social media including Snapchat and Instagram. Video clips feature Evian sport spokespeople Madison Keys, Stan Wawrinka, Lucas Pouille, Lydia Ko and Maria Sharapova, who drink Evian and then turn into baby versions of themselves.

The campaign, running in the U.S., U.K., France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, will include a limited edition Snapchat lens filter. Launching on June 10, it’ll be available for 48 hours to all Snapchat users around the world and will then be available for three months through a Snapcode on Evian bottles.

Read more at Creativity.

Image courtesy of Creativity.

News, Social Media

‘The internet is broken’: @ev is trying to salvage it

evam williamsEvan Williams is the guy who opened up Pandora’s box. Until he came along, people had few places to go with their overflowing emotions and wild opinions, other than writing a letter to the newspaper or haranguing the neighbors.

Mr. Williams — a Twitter founder, a co-creator of Blogger — set everyone free, providing tools to address the world. In the history of communications technology, it was a development with echoes of Gutenberg.

And so here we are in 2017. How’s it going, Mr. Williams?

“I think the internet is broken,” he says. He has believed this for a few years, actually. But things are getting worse. “And it’s a lot more obvious to a lot of people that it’s broken.”

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

Entertainment, News, People, Social Media

Fans manage to will a Lupita Nyong’o-Rihanna buddy movie into existence

A Tumblr post. A tweet. A Netflix deal.

It’s not the normal Hollywood production pipeline, but it’s real: The people of the Internet have managed, through determination and enthusiasm, to bring a movie project into being — one written, directed by and starring black women.

This is a short story, so we’ll get right to it. Here’s the Tumblr post, featuring actress Lupita N’yongo and singer Rihanna, both fashion icons in their own right, looking fabulous at a Miu Miu show in 2014.

Read more at NPR.

Image courtesy of NPR.

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