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Felix Klein, Germany’s government commissioner on anti-Semitism, recommends that Jews in his country would be wise to avoid wearing yarmulkes [aka kippahs or skullcaps] in public to avoid being attacked by anti-Semites. He did not, however, advise Muslim women to avoid wearing hijabs [head scarfs] or niqabs [face coverings] to avoid being attacked by Islamophobes, the same white supremacists who would attack both groups.
In some ways it was a clash of cultures as well as political views.“I feel like there’s quite a lot of scorn about the way Queenslanders feel about environmental issues, and that doesn’t help,” said Susan Harris-Rimmer, a law professor at Griffith University in Queensland. “The predominant Queensland characteristic is pride and you can’t pour scorn on them.”She said doing so was a strategic mistake for politicians comparable to Hillary Clinton’s description of some Donald Trump supporters as “deplorables” during the 2016 United States presidential election.“You can’t trigger the pride response,” Ms. Harris-Rimmer said.
Democracy vs. The Putin-Nazis Off-Guardian
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Russia: Divide and divide some more
. . . technology
- NBC News’ Brandy Zadrozny published perhaps the most dystopian article we’ve included in this newsletter (and that’s saying a lot). In it, she reports on how a pair of mothers are infiltrating private Facebook groups where parents get tips on how to poison their autistic children to “cure” them.
- The European Commission criticized Google, Facebook and Twitter for not releasing enough transparent data about how their efforts have limited the spread of misinformation leading up to this month’s parliamentary elections. In October, the three tech giants took a voluntary pledge that they’d commit more resources to combating false information on their platforms.
- Speaking of Facebook, the company took down a network of fake accounts that sought to influence elections in Nigeria, Senegal and Angola. Interestingly, part of the network was linked to an Israeli political consultancy, Quartz reported.
. . . politics
- Last week, Alabama passed the most restrictive ban on abortion in the United States. And, as with most major news events, misinformation started circulating on social media almost immediately afterward. BuzzFeed News debunked some of the top hoaxes.
- Writing for Bloomberg, reporter Saritha Rai summarized the challenge Facebook faced in addressing misinformation ahead of the Indian election this week: “A new category of users, recently digital, believe almost whatever they receive — especially if it comes from family or friends. Hundreds of millions read in languages the American tech giants haven’t even begun to monitor.”
- U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), a 2020 presidential candidate, called a Daily Beast report claiming her campaign is backed by Russian sympathizers “fake news.” The incident is further proof that the term has been become a cudgel that politicians — and Kelly Clarkson — worldwide wield to condemn media reports that paint them in a negative light.
. . . the future of news
- In an analysis of 36 fact-checking projects worldwide, Daniel found that about 41% of fact-checking staffers are women — while about 71% of fact-checking sites are run by men. While stark, those numbers are in line with the gender breakdown of most American newsrooms.
- Election verification projects are very in right now. And in Argentina, a new initiative has set the bar even higher, uniting more than 80 publications and tech companies teaming up to debunk misinformation about the October election. Reverso will publish fact checks between June and December and train journalists around the country on verification skills.
- CNN reported on how a Finland anti-misinformation initiative teaches residents, students, journalists and politicians how to identify and counter false information online — and how it could serve as a model for other countries.
Each week, we analyze five of the top-performing fact checks on Facebook to see how their reach compared to the hoaxes they debunked. Read more about this week’s numbers, and how political parties in India are spreading voter fraud hoaxes, here.
- Factcheck.org: “Social Post Wrong About Obama’s Tax Returns” (Fact: 5.1K engagements // Fake: 8.2K engagements)
- Vishvas News: “Before the counting of votes, EVMs’ swapping of claims in Bihar is false.” (Fact: 2.8K engagements // Fake: 108K engagements)
- India Today Fact Check: “Truth behind the viral video that claims conspiracy by BJP to change EVMs” (Fact: 1.4K engagements // Fake: 148 engagements )
- Correctiv: “No, in 2017 there were not 95,000 acts of violence by refugees” (Fact: 592 engagements // Fake: 1.7K engagements)
- Aos Fatos: “Meme criticizing demonstrations for education uses photos of old protests” (Fact: 523 engagements // Fake: 8.2K engagements)
- Chequeado has built a tool that automatically transcribes YouTube videos.
- Al Jazeera suspended two journalists for producing a video that denied the facts of the Holocaust.
- Several mainstream news outlets reported on a survey about Americans bathing in pools last week. There’s just one problem: The survey was conducted online by a public relations firm that works with the chlorine industry.
- The pope is still warning people about misinformation.
- The AI Foundation has partnered with the Technical University of Munich to further develop technologies that automatically detect deepfake videos. Learn more about that research in this Poynter article.
- The Guardian outlined how Facebook’s efforts to combat misinformation don’t always translate to countries without strong civil society organizations. Exhibit A: Hungary.
- Meanwhile, The Guardian also profiled some of the fact-checkers debunking misinformation about the EU elections.
- Russia is creating a database of organizations that it deems to be “fake news,” The Moscow Times reported. The move comes only weeks after the country announced it would outlaw the dissemination of false claims, which critics say is just another attempt at censorship.
- WhatsApp has taken a few steps to limit the spread of spam and potentially false content on its platform. But Reuters reported that software costing as little as $14 helped some get around the controls in the lead-up to the Indian election.
- A new study from the University of Texas at Austin found that clickbait articles about partisan name-calling could lead readers to believe that mainstream news outlets are fake.