Tuesday, May 29, 2018

National Geographic fact-checks Hawaii’s volcanic eruption

Story image for carr china from The Sydney Morning HeraldBob Carr enlists Labor in new China influence row

Will Labor defend our democracy against the Chinese dictator?

Tony Abbott calls for expulsion of Russian ambassador over MH17 – politics live
Tony Abbott asks for guarantee the policy will come back for discussion before sign off. All the day's events, live.
Russian ambassador rejects push for compo for MH17 victims' families
The Russian Ambassador does not accept Australia's demand for compensation for the families of the MH17 victims, and accuses the Joint Investigation Team of ...

Tax Consequences Of The $130,000 Payment To Stormy Daniels

French chateau worth millions goes up for grabs for under $14 RT  If someone from the readership wins, I hope I get an invite

How historically accurate is The Big Short? | Film | The Guardian

Analysis – China, Russia among countries embellishing GDP data

Center for Data Innovation – referencing this Washington Post article: Exposing Faked Economic Data – “Louis Martinez, a professor at the University of Chicago, has published an analysis of 25 years of satellite data that suggests China, Russia, and other authoritarian countries routinely falsify their gross domestic product (GDP). Martinez analyzed changes in nighttime light levels in satellite imagery, which can serve as a measure of economic activity, and found that in free democracies such as the United States and Canada, a 10 percent increase in average nighttime light intensity in a year correlated with a 2.4 percent increase in GDP for that year.

How can journalists stop providing oxygen to trolls and extremists? - Columbia Journalism Review: “Are journalists partly to blame for the rise of the alt-right and the outcome of the 2016 election? A new report from the New York–based research institute Data & Society looks at the ways in which journalists help to popularize extremist views, in some cases accidentally. The paper—written by Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, and entitled “The Oxygen of Amplification”argues that alt-right and other groups were aided and abetted by the media, which helped promote their views and thereby exposed their ideas to new audiences…”

Forbes:  Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, Giuliani, Trump & Taxes, by Robert W. Wood:
At first it appeared that Michael Cohen had paid off Stormy Daniels with his own money, and without President Trump's knowledge. Then, Rudy Giuliani said President Trump had reimbursed him. Then, there was some reshuffling about who knew what when. There were some awkward questions about whether President Trump knew of the deal at the time, or only learned of it later. The timing and mechanics of the reimbursement seem a little confused. From a tax viewpoint—which surely isn't the most important part of this story--many of these details may not matter. Even so, the tax issues are an interesting side show. Just about every kind of payment has tax consequences, to both the recipient and to the one who paid the money.

Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman (Paris School of Economics), The Elephant Curve of Global Inequality and Growth:
We present new evidence on global inequality and growth since 1980 using the World and Wealth Income Database. We plot the curve of cumulated growth from 1980 to 2016 by percentile of the global distribution of income per adult. This curve has an elephant shape due to high growth rates at the median (fast growth in China and India), modest growth rates above the median, and explosive growth rates at the top. We project the evolution of global inequality between now and 2050 combining projected macro growth rates and within country inequality evolution based on past trends.


Fact-checkers under attack in Brazil

Facebook’s fact-checking tool was rolled out in Brazil last week in partnership with Aos Fatos and Agência Lupa. A flood of accusations of “censorship” and “extreme-left bias” followed. More worrying still were personal attacks and heavy insults levelled against fact-checkers on social media.
As the IFCN’s Alexios Mantzarlis wrote for Folha on Friday, in Brazil, polarization seems to be getting in the way of a possible solution to misinformation. (Read the op-ed in English here). Just a year ago, fact-checkers at Agência Publica's Truco had received a photo of a rubber penis stamped with “Check This” from MBL, the same group behind a lot of last week’s attacks. The way forward seems to be to double down on transparency — all stories flagged by Lupa are accessible here, by Aos Fatos here — and to push back on falsehoods.
The tense situation will continue. According to researchers at the Fundação Getulio Vargas who analyzed 45,000 tweets, this debate is just the opening salvo of a “virtual guerrilla” set to last until the elections. The Brazilian Parliament was already discussing 20 draft bills on fake news — and announced an unspecified “front against fake news” on Wednesday.
Related: While questioning Mark Zuckerberg at the European Parliament, lead Brexiteer Nigel Farage asked the Facebook boss, “Who are these third-party fact-checkers? Who are these people?” (Nigel, if you’re reading us: Here are those people.)
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

This is how we do it

  • National Geographic fact-checks Hawaii’s volcanic eruption, and teaches us the difference between lava and magma.
  • Africa Check has launched an election promise-tracker that’s following 10 key promises in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. Africa Check also has changed the layout of its reports.
  • For people in rural areas with limited — or very expensive — WiFi connections, radio is often still a major form of communication. So these fact-checkers are bringing their work to the Kenyan airwaves.

Research you can use

  • A Data & Society report looks at how people interpret the news the same way they interpret the Bible — a process the researcher calls “scriptural inference.”
  • Northwestern University’s Knight Lab is working on an automated fact-checking project, starring Alexa.  
  • Over the course of a decade, this new study analyzed 560 YouTube videos spreading misinformation about vaccines and autism.

This is bad

This is fun

  • Characters in the “Murphy Brown” television reboot will feature fake news and “alternative facts.”  
  • Depending on your perspective (and your gag reflex), this story might be fun. Or not.
  • Originally published for International Fact-Checking Day on April 2, here’s a cartoon with seven tips for verifying online information.

A closer look

  • Want to stay in the know about misinformation in and about Europe? Here’s a fortnightly roundup with the most important news you need to know.
  • BuzzSumo published a meta report on how news about fake news took off after the 2016 U.S. election.
  • PBS NewsHour goes inside Facebook’s effort to separate news from junk.

If you read one more thing

In “If Social Media Sites Acted Like Publishers, Fake News Would Vanish,” a former newspaper editor explains how the U.S. Communications Decency Act messed up everything.

12 quick fact-checking links

  1. The IFCN’s “Fact Forward” innovation fund was awarded to Check News.
  2. Malaysia’s new communications minister says he’ll revoke the country’s “Anti-Fake News Act.”  (Channel NewsAsia)
  3. Misinformation researcher Brendan Nyhan is moving from Dartmouth College to the University of Michigan.   
  4. At least 19 countries around the world have now taken action against misinformation. Check out Poynter’s updated guide.
  5. Facebook hires the Atlantic Council to help fight fake news globally. (Mother Jones)
  6. You might want to get familiar with the term “dissociation” — it’s happening a lot lately in U.S. politics. (The Seattle Times)
  7. Latest ABA Legal Fact Check: Can a prosecutor really just “step aside” in an ongoing case?
  8. A California 16-year-old presented his award-winning study on fake news and visual “flags” at last week’s Intel science fair.
  9. To provide people with “authentic information,” Twitter will soon roll out its new profile labeling for candidates for public office. (The Associated Press)
  10. On Wednesday, Facebook announced some more details about an academic commission charged with studying the volume and effect of misinformation on the platform. Oh, and the company also created a short film about their behind-the-scenes efforts.
  11. Major Italian media outlets picked up a likely fake story about an 88-year-old woman leaving her €3 million inheritance to former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. 
  12. Elon Musk may or may not be starting a fact-checking project.