Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Facebook and fact-checkers: baby steps

FOR SOME REASON THIS POST DISAPPEARED FROM FORBES:  But fortunately the MEdia Dragon and Internet is forever

Tree Mountain is a man-made mountain 125 feet high covered in 11,000 trees planted in a configuration according to the Golden Ratio. This art installation was conceived and built by artist Agnes Denes in Finland and is designed to endure for 400 years.
Tree Mountain

February 08, 2018

Nothing's As Delicious As Rich People Behaving Badly
I have a yen for books featuring rich people behaving badly, from modern novels like Kevin Kwan’s CRAZY RICH ASIANS and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s BITTERSWEET to classics by Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The accoutrement of the wealthy might change, but so much remains the same: the impenetrable social hierarchies, the power struggles, and, of course, the outsider trying to gain acceptance to an elite crowd they both loathe and pine for.

PRIVACY: Your smart TV may be prey for hackers and collecting more info than you realize, ‘Consumer Reports’ warns.
Consumer Reports just analyzed smart TVs from five big U.S. TV brands — Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL and Vizio — and found several problems. All can track what consumers watch, and two of the brands failed a basic security test.
How bad is the security? So poor, according to its report, that hackers were able to take over complete remote control of the TVs from Samsung and TCL’s branded Roku TV, which included changing channels, upping the volume, installing new apps and playing objectionable content from YouTube.
“What we found most disturbing about this was the relative simplicity of” hacking in, says Glenn Derene, Consumer Reports’ senior director of content.
The non-profit, which publishes a magazine and a website, partnered with a firm called Dissconnect to do the hack tests.
It was easy to break in, Derene said, because “basic security practices were not being followed.”

We own two smart TVs, because it’s impossible these days to buy something with a quality screen which isn’t “smart.” But neither one has any apps installed or is connected to the wifi, and both are used as dumb monitors for TiVo and Apple TV.
Even so, since both are wifi-equipped I have no idea what access third parties might be able to gain.

Facebook and fact-checkers: baby steps

Hey! Alexios here. Facebook and its third-party fact-checking partners met at FB headquarters in Menlo Park on Tuesday after a rocky 14 months of working together. (Daniel Funke had written about the fact-checkers’ concerns.)

My general takeaway is that Facebook is stepping up its commitment to this partnership by investing a lot more internal resources in the third-party fact-checking product. When it comes to transparency, there's still a ways to go. Data shared in the meeting was under an NDA, but we were reassured that it would soon be shared publicly. Plus, Facebook seems set to address key limitations of the fact-checking tool that have been criticized publicly. We'll see.

Now, back to usual programming...

Research you can use

  • Even the most popular fake news sites in France and Italy aren’t being read or shared as much as some might think, according to preliminary findings from a group of researchers with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. (You can also find it in the new fact-checking research database from Poynter.)
  • Denying facts and ignoring scientific evidence isn’t just the purview of climate change deniers. It also applies to people who believe feral cats should be protected, no matter how many billions of birds they kill.
  • New York TImes media columnist Jim Rutenberg examines “How Fake News Changed The New York Times - and didn’t,” published this week in the Wilson Quarterly.
(Lefteris Partsalis/InTime News via AP) 

This is how we do it

  • How big was that crowd? Depending on who you believe, there were either 140,000 or 1.5 million people protesting in Athens this week over a potential compromise in the naming dispute between Greece and Macedonia. (See a new Poynter video that will help you estimate crowd size.)
  • Are the people at Climate Feedback fact-checkers or not? They’re not sure they are, but when you read their process for verifying information in buzzy science articles, you might agree the world could use more fact-checking operations like this.
  • WhatsApp might be a notorious purveyor of misleading information, but it’s also one of the tools fact-checkers in Brazil are using to help fight fake news leading up to this year’s elections.

This is bad

  • A Twitter user created a fake Donald Trump tweet and professed shock when the tweet went viral. He then tweeted a photo of a book he’s trying to sell, and then the name of the app he used to make the fake tweet. News outlets characterized the incident as an innocent joke gone awry. We think not.
  • Here’s what Newsweek says is the biggest fake news story of 2018 (so far) and it could soon be followed by the Amtrak crash conspiracy theories.
  • Another former Facebook executive has spoken out against the company’s current business practices, arguing that they directly enable electoral interference.

This is fun

  • That “Lady Doritos” thing? It was “too good to fact-check” and apparently not true
  • Matt and Maht, The New Yorker’s “ambassadors from the Russian Ministry of Sport and Culture,” speak out against the fake news floating around their country’s Olympic team.

A closer look

  • This is why Facebook’s plan to make users responsible for identifying fake news on the platform just won’t work.
  • You saw Matt Damon’s  Super Bowl ad about clean water. Now read the fact-check.
  • PolitiFact hired two reader representatives, one Republican and one Democrat, and then fired one of them.

Quick fact-checking links’s got some Groundhog Day fact checks — but they’re not about groundhogs.   //  A report from “Hope Not Hate” examines some bots with an anti-Muslim message.  //  Africa Check says Nigeria needs a larger dose of fact-checking.  //  Las Vegas editors ordered lie detector tests for story sources.  //  More fact-checking of “The Post.” (Can’t anyone just enjoy a movie anymore?)  //  Hearst television stations say they’ll increase political fact-checking for the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.  //  This license plate. No.  //  A fake advertisement for a fake news story on a fake web site.  //  The “fake news” billboard in Times Square was removed, and here’s why.  //  Bing search has a fake news problem too.  //  Turkish fact-checkers want you to know this video is not a military operation. It’s a video game.  //  Despite what this billboard says, 90 percent of babies with Down’s Syndrome are not aborted in Britain.  //  Windfalls for fact-checking operations: The London-based startup Factmata gets $1 million in seed money and the crowd-sourcing Our.News raises $100,000.

via Jane, Alexios and Daniel