There were so many uncertainties in the lead up to the 2016 US election result, but one thing is clear: journalism, just like the pollsters, failed.
Stuck in their offices in Washington and New York, American reporters failed to understand what drove Donald Trump’s popularity. They largely failed to ask the right questions, to provide the context and to properly scrutinise the extraordinary campaign run by the new president-elect.
Instead, buoyed by his clickable soundbites, the media gave Trump’s shocking misogynistic and racist imperialism a platform, then failed to take his growing support seriously. As Margaret Sullivan, media correspondent for the Washington Post wrote this morning: “Make no mistake. This is an epic fail.”
Death of print journalism
But the problem, worryingly, goes far deeper than newsrooms’ failure to fulfil their democratic duty to properly monitor Trump. That failure could at least, with a lot of self-examination, be fixed for next time around. The real issue is much harder to fix.
At the heart of divided societies in both the US and Britain is a newspaper industry in precipitous decline. The true “epic fail” is of the journalism industry as a whole: that the sector has been unable to find an alternative commercial model to the one that has sustained it for so long. As print readers migrate online, few newspapers have been able to persuade them to continue contributing to the cost of producing news; and neither have they been able to convince advertisers that their online versions are as worthy of investment as their print products.
Trump and Brexit as entertainment
One of the most egregious failings of the media in the US election was their chase of audience share at the expense of substantial reporting. Struggling with ever-declining advertising revenues, newspapers chased the stories that brought them the clicks.
As happened in the UK in the run up to Brexit, lots of American media outlets treated Trump as entertainment – his soundbites, as shocking as they were, provided fantastic content on social media. For months, many newspapers allowed Trump to get away with making blatantly untrue statements – and elevated those untruths to their front pages.
Mass job losses
Also worth mentioning here is that the failure to find a new commercial model has led to a shocking reduction in journalists. As reported by media commentator Roy Greenslade earlier this year, the number of people employed in the US newspaper industry has fallen by almost 60% since the dawn of the internet age – from nearly 458,000 in 1990 to about 183,000 in 2016. It is a similar picture in the UK.
This loss has been felt most seriously among regional papers which have either cut their newsrooms right back to the bone or shut up shop altogether. With the firing of so many regional reporters, a crucial understanding of both countries has disappeared.
Yes, the big media platforms flew thousands of journalists all over the US to interview supporters pitching up to rallies, but these reporters rarely got out of the campaign bubbles. They had not lived among the many communities that voted for Trump.
The real-life Biff Tannen
Locked up in their ivory towers, these journalists failed to believe that Trump would make it all the way to the White House because they did not know and understand the people that got him there. They reported on the phenomenon of the presidential race, Trump’s outlandish statements and Hillary’s failings, but they largely did not report on the frustrations that built such fervent support for the real-life Biff Tannen.
As for Trump, he holds journalists in contempt; regularly sneering at them throughout his campaign and pointedly describing them as “horrible people.” He decided from the outset to find an alternative way to his supporters – with great success, thanks to the very platforms that have been cutting into the revenues of newspapers. On Twitter, Trump has over 13 million followers; the New York Times’ total circulation is about 2 million.
As we reflect on what went so horribly wrong, for the sake of democracy it is crucial that we also ask whether we can make journalism great again. We have to hope the newspaper industry finds a new way to sustain its existence. But we must also look to new models – of which not-for-profit news organisations like the Bureau of Investigative Journalism are one.
Philanthropically-funded journalism is not a silver bullet. It cannot plug all the gaps left by the storm that has battered traditional media for the past decade. But it is a force for good and it has to become a valued part of the news landscape.
The Bureau, with a small team of journalists but with the privilege of time to properly report our stories, has continually held power to account through our near seven years of existence. We have investigated the influence of money in politics, we have forced Washington to become more transparent about its covert drone war, we have reported on immigration in Europe, we have revealed many failings of our own government, we have shown how powerful PR companies have manipulated the news, and we have documented social failings in housing, in care and in police investigations.
Holding power to account
We have also striven to plug some of the blatant gaps in our industry. In 2017 we will launch a project that will deliver data journalism to our struggling local press. And with the National Council for the Training of Journalists we are also encouraging a more diverse industry by launching a Diversity Fellowship.
Every member of the Bureau understands the important part investigative journalism must play in the years to come. Now more than ever, we need strong, independent, fearless and deep reporting that holds power to account. We need journalists who have the time and the resources to properly investigate the stories that matter. On a day when many people around the world are feeling fearful of what lies ahead, we pledge to at least do that.
Donald Trump and the media’s ‘epic fail’ November 9, 2016 Rachel Oldroyd The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Chris Arnade, an independent journalist who has spent the past four years traveling the US to document the opioid crisis, was one of the few who weren't surprised. After traveling tens of thousands of miles in working-class communities along the Rust Belt and elsewhere, he found one constant.
"Wherever I saw strong addiction and strong drug use," Arnade told Business Insider, he saw support for Trump.
Official voting data has suggested a similar correlation. Since the November 8 election, Shannon Monnat, a rural sociologist and demographer at Pennsylvania State University, has dug into the results. She found that counries that voted more heavily for Trump than expected were closely correlated with counties that experienced high rates of death caused by drugs, alcohol, and suicide.
The revenge of the 'Oxy electorate' helped fuel Trump's election upset Harrison Jacobs Nov. 23, 2016
Donald Trump’s Lies About the Popular Vote THE EDITORIAL BOARD NOV. 28, 2016
The Challenge of Covering a President Who Lies in His Tweets Mathew Ingram
The Challenge of Covering a President Who Lies in His Tweets Mathew Ingram
The CEO of one of the most popular social media websites, Reddit, is facing heavy criticism from users after he admitted to secretly altering comments on a pro-Donald Trump message board.
Steve Huffman admitted to changing the content of the posts, which were directed at him, to instead show the names of the moderators of the subreddit r/The_Donald, a community within Reddit where users share images, news stories and other material related to the president-elect.
Huffman said the posts were abusive to him and he only changed them as a joke, not to censor them. The posts were later restored to their original form.
Reddit is a massive message board broken up into smaller communities called subreddits in which users can discuss and share information about a variety of topics. The pro-Trump subreddit has more than 300,000 active subscribers. The pro-Hillary Clinton subreddit, in contrast, has around 33,000 subscribers.
Huffman's clash with r/The_Donald subscribers came after the website earlier this week banned a community called r/Pizzagate, which was made up of people who believe Hillary Clinton and her close associates are running a child sex ring out of a pizza shop in Washington, D.C.
The Pizzagate conspiracy centers on emails that were stolen and made public by WikiLeaks in which Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta and others discuss pizza. According to the theory, talk of pizza is code for pedophilia. There has been no solid evidence backing up any of the accusations against Clinton or her associates.
Reddit said it banned the community because members repeatedly posted personally identifiable information of people they accused of being involved in the pedophile ring, which is against the site’s terms of service.
James Alefantis, the manager of pizzeria Comet Ping Pong, said he has been receiving hundreds of death threats since the conspiracy began gaining traction, and asked for help on social media to stop the harassment.
In Response, Huffman, who goes by the handle u/Spez on Reddit, altered comments critical of himself as a way of coping with the stress of dealing with the fallout from Pizzagate.
“This was a case of me trolling the trolls for a bit,” he later added.
“The CEO of a major media company edited the comments of Trump supporters because he did not like what they had to say,” one Reddit user, who goes by the handle Velostodon, wrote in a prominent thread on r/The_Donald. “This calls into question the integrity of the website. Not in a ‘muh free speech’ sense, but in a legal sense.”
The petition, which so far has garnered just over 1,200 signatures, claims the Reddit community “has lost their trust and faith” in Huffman “due to his inability to conduct himself properly as a CEO.”
Reddit CEO Under Fire After Secretly Altering Pro-Donald Trump Comments November 24, 2016 Joshua Fatzick
Donald Trump could be banned from Twitter, company says, but President-elect's Facebook is probably safe 01 12 16
Hossein Derakhshan was born in Iran in 1975. In 2001, he went to study in Toronto, Canada. There, he started blogging under the pen name Hoder and translated a guide on how to blog in Farsi, initiating a Persian blogging surge. In 2004, Iran was among the top five countries with the most bloggers worldwide.
These bloggers were living dangerously, however. Derakhshan was imprisoned by the Iranian government in 2008 and kept in prison for six years.
Since 2015, Derakhshan, now living in Teheran, has been writing essays and giving talks about the impact of social media and the decline of online political exchanges.
DW: Mr. Derakhshan, you spent six years offline while you were imprisoned. The internet changed tremendously during that period. What did you notice when you were released?
Hossein Derakhshan: I observed a shift from an internet which was very decentralized, diverse, link-based, connected, curious, outward-looking and text-centered to a space which is image-centered, which is more about entertainment than discussions or debates or thinking. It is quite centralized and it's dominated by social networks. It's much less diverse. It is more about entertainment now. It has less serious content - including politics.
What happened to all the bloggers you were working with?
Many of the former bloggers and activists are co-opted in that new space; they actually seem to have forgotten that politics played a big role in their life at some point. Now they are happy with the little things they see on social networks. But I think there are less and less people who are interested in serious news and serious discussions.
[Eds.: Many Iranian activists and bloggers were imprisoned - like Derakhshan - and have not been released.]
When the internet emerged in the 90s, it created a new window of opportunity for serious discussion. After 20 years, this window is now closing, and the internet is becoming like television. It is actually forming a new kind of television which is internet-based and personalized and it is available on all kinds of devices.
I am just very sad that everyone is into videos now rather than reading, because video is a limited medium for conveying complex messages. It simplifies everything and it is the most convenient environment for the rise of demagogues and populists.
Do you believe social networks aren't useful at all? After all, noteworthy political movements rallied through social networks over the last years…
Social networks may be useful to have emotional reactions to certain news or certain events. Maybe even to bring people to the streets in some cases. But as an Egyptian activist has brilliantly put it, this has not helped the Egyptian revolution. Social networks were successful in bringing out people and giving them a negative voice about the status quo, but that did not lead to anything positive. They started to fight each other.
Once the Mubarak regime was gone, the same social networks became the best device to foment internal rivalries and differences. So I think that as much as they can help people to organize against something, they cannot unite people in doing something positive, because they can not replace leadership.
How did you see this development in Iran?
Like everywhere else in the world, there are less people interested in reading more than a few paragraphs and you can see that in Iran as well, through the very very low circulation of books and newspapers and the sales for anything that is printed. It is going down very rapidly.
At the same time, there is a huge rise in the number of people using some sort of social network, for instance Instagram is extremely popular in Iran. There is also this messaging application called Telegram which is extremely popular in Iran. I think more than 25 million people in Iran are using it now. This is completely different from how things were 10 years ago when there was a lot more text and reading and serious discussion going on.
So much of the stuff on the web has been abandoned, many people used to have their own domain names, but they let them expire. It has become a graveyard. In the best cases, you have some tombs saying there used to be blogs here.
Don't you use any social networks at all?
I use Twitter because relatively speaking it is much more open. It supports hyperlinks and it can be very informative and useful to link to other places, to introduce and share ideas and articles. But generally speaking, there is a trend towards videos. Even Twitter as a text-based platform is going towards video and they are encouraging more live videos.
What should happen to save the internet you knew and appreciated?
We have to do certain things to disrupt this algorithm-based kind of gate keeping, which is creating comfort zones for everyone. I don't necessarily know what the solutions are because I think it is a very general problem and it can probably only be solved by big social structures like states. On an individual level, we can't do much but be unhappy about how things are changing. Still, we can push governments to intervene if they value representative democracy and informed citizenship and informed political participation.
Facebook, fake news and the meaning of truth correspondent 27 November 2016
Facebook, il Live è un fake: 6 milioni di visualizzazioni per una lampadina VALENTINA RUGGIU 04 novembre 2016
Fake news, disinformation, the digital media war the press finds itself ill-prepared to fight D.B. Hebbard November 28, 2016
President Obama is really, really worried about the spread of fake news in places like Facebook.
In a new profile of Obama in The New Yorker, David Remnick describes a scene where the president “talked almost obsessively” about a BuzzFeed article that explained how a small Macedonian town was pumping out fake news on Facebook for profit.
Obama told Remnick that the new media ecosystem “means everything is true and nothing is true … An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll. And the capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal—that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.”
Obama characterized this as different from how we engaged with democracy and politics in the past.
“Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is the consequence of man-made behavior, because that’s what ninety-nine per cent of scientists tell us,” he told The New Yorker. “And then we would have a debate about how to fix it. That’s how, in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, you had Republicans supporting the Clean Air Act and you had a market-based fix for acid rain rather than a command-and-control approach. So you’d argue about means, but there was a baseline of facts that we could all work off of. And now we just don’t have that.”
We can’t agree on the basic facts.
This isn’t the first time the president has riffed on this idea. In a speech on Thursday, he talked about how damaging the spread of deliberate misinformation can be on Facebook.
“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media, where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” Obama said.
Facebook, for its part, has denied that fake news on its platform influenced the election in any way.
"Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook — it's a very small amount of the content — influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a recent press conference.
But Obama’s worry about the effect fake news can have has some data backing it up. A recent study by BuzzFeed showed that in the lead-up to the election, the top fake-news stories on Facebook outperformed legitimate news stories shared by some of the most popular media companies.
OBAMA: The new media landscape 'means everything is true and nothing is true' Nathan McAlone Nov. 18, 2016
So much for taking America’s “fake news” problem seriously.
Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, there’s been an abundance of hand-wringing over the “fake news” that supposedly is rampant on social media.
Yet missing has been any kind of serious searching among the mainstream media about whether it could learn any lessons from this election—and whether reporters and editors are holding themselves accountable to their supposed values of objectivity and rigorous reporting.
And a new “study” presents Exhibit A as to why the mainstream media should reconsider its own practices.
The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.
The Southern Poverty Law Center—an organization that calls the Family Research Council an “extremist group” because of its socially conservative views on LGBT matters—reported Nov. 29
“Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults,” the report continued, “making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.”
Cue the widespread coverage:
“Nationwide, there have been more than 867 incidents of ‘hateful harassment’ in the first days following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center says,” reported CNN.
“In the 10 days following the November election, SPLC said it collected 867 hate-related incidents on its website and through the media from almost every state,” wrote the Associated Press.
NBC News headlined its piece on the study “Southern Poverty Law Center Reports ‘Outbreak of Hate’ After Election.”
The Washington Post’s headline blared, “Civil rights group documents nearly 900 hate incidents after presidential election.”
There’s just one issue: The Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t confirm these “nearly 900” incidents actually happened.
“The 867 hate incidents described here come from two sources—submissions to the #ReportHate page on the SPLC website and media accounts,” the SPLC report states. “We have excluded incidents that authorities have determined to be hoaxes; however, it was not possible to confirm the veracity of all reports.”
In other words, who has any idea if these incidents actually happened or not?
Yet, the fact that there was no verification of these incidents didn’t stop the media from covering this “study.”
And let’s not pretend there’s no to very little chance that a Trump opponent would make up a hate crime story.
Just consider this reported hate incident in November:
Yet the man wasn’t telling the truth. The Herald reported that Kevin Molis, police chief of Malden, Massachusetts, said “it has been determined that the story was completely fabricated.”
“’The alleged victim admitted that he had made up the entire story,’ saying he wanted to ‘raise awareness about things that are going on around the country,’” the newspaper added, continuing to quote Molis.
So maybe 867 hate crimes happened in the first 10 days after the election. Or maybe 5,000 did. Or maybe five did.
Maybe 10,000 did—and most of them were directed at Trump supporters, not opponents. (Let’s not forget the man beaten in Chicago while someone said, “You voted Trump.”) Who knows?
The SPLC should realize that playing around with facts is no laughing matter.
In 2012, a gunman entered the headquarters of the Family Research Council “with the intent to kill as many employees as possible, he told officers after the incident,” reported Politico. The 29-year-old man, identified as Floyd Lee Corkins II, did shoot and wound a security guard. His motivation?
“Family Research Council (FRC) officials released video of federal investigators questioning convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II, who explained that he attacked the group’s headquarters because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified them as a ‘hate group’ due to their traditional marriage views,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Ultimately, regardless of what the Southern Poverty Law Center does, the media shouldn’t be giving a platform to faux studies like this.
But maybe it’s not surprising, given attitudes like President Barack Obama’s. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine published Tuesday, the president griped about the reach of Fox News Channel—and then complimented Rolling Stone: “Good journalism continues to this day. There’s great work done in Rolling Stone.”
Yes, that Rolling Stone—the news outlet that published the completely discredited University of Virginia gang rape story. In early November, “jurors awarded a University of Virginia administrator $3 million … for her portrayal in a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article about the school’s handling of a brutal gang rape [at] a fraternity house,” the Associated Press reported.
It’s tough to hold the media accountable when even the president seems willing to brush aside true instances of fake news.
1. Why is fake news in the news?
2. What were some of the biggest fake election stories?
3. Did it really influence the election’s outcome?
4. Who’s producing fake news?
5. How does it disseminate so quickly?
6. What can be done?
7. What about Twitter?
It’s not getting hammered as hard by the public on this issue. It’s not that fake news doesn’t get shared there -- on the contrary, as President-elect Trump demonstrated by tweeting about "the millions of people who voted illegally." But Twitter shows users everything they sign up to follow in reverse-chronological order, while Facebook decides what go into people’s news feeds based on its algorithm.
8. Can an algorithm really tell what’s true and what’s false?
Fake News: Facebook Is A Technology Company NOV 27, 2016
What happens when a country cracks down on fake news? Ask China Morley December 4, 2016
What happens when a country cracks down on fake news? Ask China Morley December 4, 2016
The impact of fake news, propaganda and misinformation has been widely scrutinized since the US election. Fake news actually outperformed real news on Facebook during the final weeks of the election campaign, according to an analysis by Buzzfeed, and even outgoing president Barack Obama has expressed his concerns.
But a growing cadre of technologists, academics and media experts are now beginning the quixotic process of trying to think up solutions to the problem, starting with a rambling 100+ page open Google document set up by Upworthy founder Eli Pariser.
The project has snowballed since Pariser started it on 17 November, with contributors putting forward myriad solutions, he said. “It’s a really wonderful thing to watch as it grows,” Pariser said. “We were talking about how design shapes how people interact. Kind of inadvertently this turned into this place where you had thousands of people collaborating together in this beautiful way.”
In Silicon Valley, meanwhile, some programmers have been batting solutions back and forth on Hacker News, a discussion board about computing run by the startup incubator Y Combinator. Some ideas are more realistic than others.
“The biggest challenge is who wants to be the arbiter of truth and what truth is,” said Claire Wardle, research director for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. “The way that people receive information now is increasingly via social networks, so any solution that anybody comes up with, the social networks have to be on board.”
Most of the solutions fall into three general categories: the hiring of human editors; crowdsourcing, and technological or algorithmic solutions.
Human editing relies on a trained professional to assess a news article before it enters the news stream. Its proponents say that human judgment is more reliable than algorithms, which can be gamed by trolls and arguably less nuanced when faced with complex editorial decisions; Facebook’s algorithmic system famously botched the Vietnam photo debacle.
Yet hiring people – especially the number needed to deal with Facebook’s volume of content – is expensive, and it may be hard for them to act quickly. The social network ecosystem is enormous, and Wardle says that any human solution would be next to impossible to scale. Humans are also partial to subjectivity, and even an overarching “readers’ editor”, if Facebook appointed one, would be a disproportionately powerful position and open to abuse.
Crowdsourced vetting would open up the assessment process to the body politic, having people apply for a sort of “verified news checker” status and then allowing them to rank news as they see it. This isn’t dissimilar to the way Wikipedia works, and could be more democratic than a small team of paid staff. It would be less likely to be accused of bias or censorship because anyone could theoretically join, but could also be easier to game by people promoting fake or biased news, or using automated systems to promote clickbait for advertising revenue.
Algorithmic or machine learning vetting is the third approach, and the one currently favored by Facebook, who fired their human trending news team and replaced them with an algorithm earlier in 2016. But the current systems are failing to identify and downgrade hoax news or distinguish satire from real stories; Facebook’s algorithm started spitting out fake news almost immediately after its inception.
Technology companies like to claim that algorithms are free of personal bias, yet they inevitably reflect the subjective decisions of those who designed them, and journalistic integrity is not a priority for engineers.
Algorithms also happen to be cheaper and easier to manage than human beings, but an algorithmic solution, Wardle said, must be transparent. “We have to say: here’s the way the machine can make this easier for you.”
Facebook has been slow to admit it has a problem with misinformation on its news feed, which is seen by 1.18 billion people every day. It has had several false starts on systems, both automated and using human editors, that inform how news appears on its feed. Pariser’s project details a few ways to start:
Similar to Twitter’s “blue tick” system, verification would mean that a news organization would have to apply to be verified and be proved to be a credible news source so that stories would be published with a “verified” flag. Verification could also mean higher priority in newsfeed algorithms, while repeatedly posting fake news would mean losing verified status.
“Social media sharing of news articles/opinion subtly shifts the ownership of the opinion from the author to the ‘sharer’,” Amanda Harris, a contributor to Pariser’s project, wrote. “By shifting the conversation about the article to the third person, it starts in a much better place: ‘the author is wrong’ is less aggressive than ‘you are wrong’.”
Articles on Facebook and Twitter could be subject to a time-delay once they reach a certain threshold of shares, while “white-labeled” sites like the New York Times would be exempt from this.
Fake news could automatically be tagged with a link to an article debugging it on Snopes, though inevitably that will leave Facebook open to criticism if the debunking site is attacked as having a political bias.
An algorithm could analyze the content and headline of news to flag signs that it contains fake news. The content of the article could be checked for legitimate sourcing – hyperlinks to the Associated Press or other whitelisted media organizations.
This system would algorithmically promote non-partisan news, by checking stories against a heat-map of political opinion or sharing nodes, and then promoting those stories that are shared more widely than by just one part of the political spectrum. It could be augmented with a keyword search against a database of language most likely to be used by people on the left or the right.
This would promote or hide articles based on the reputation of the sharer. Each person on a social network would have a score (public or private) based on feedback from the news they share.
Fake news would come up in the news feed as red, real news as green, satire as orange.
If publishing fake news was punishable with bans on Facebook then it would disincentivise organizations from doing so.
News is shared across hundreds of other sites and services, from SMS and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, to distribution through Google’s search engine and aggregations sites like Flipboard. How can fake news, inaccurate stories and unacknowledged satire be identified in so many different contexts?
A central fact-checking service could publish an API, a constantly updated feed of information, which any browser could query news articles against. A combination of human editing and algorithms would return information about the news story and its URL, including whether it is likely to be fake (if it came from a known click-farm site) or genuine. Stories would be “fingerprinted” in the same way as advertising software.
People could choose their fact-checking system – Snopes or Politifact or similar – and then install it as either a browser plug-in or a Facebook or Twitter plug-in that would colour-code news sources on the fly as either fake, real or various gradations in between.
Much like Google’s original PageRank algorithm, a system could be developed to assess the authority of a story by its domain and URL history, suggested Mike Sukmanowsky of Parse.ly.
This would effectively be, Sukmanowsky wrote, a source reliability algorithm that calculated a “basic decency score” for online content that pages like Facebook could use to inform their trending topic algorithms. There could also be “ratings agencies” for media; too many Stephen Glass-style falsified reporting scandals, for example, and the New York Times could risk losing its triple-A rating.
Under this system, fake news would be inter-linked (possibly through a browser plug-in) to a story by a trusted fact-checking organization like Snopes or Politifact. (Rbutr already does this, though on a modest scale.)
On current evidence, many people feel comfortable when presented by news which doesn’t challenge their own prejudices and preferences – even if that news is inaccurate, misleading or false.
What many of these solutions don’t address is the more complex, nuanced and long-term challenge of educating the public about the importance of informed debate – and why properly considering an accurate, rational and compelling viewpoint from the other side of the fence is an essential part of the democratic process.
“There’s a feeling that in trying to come up with solutions we risk a boomerang effect that the more we’re debunking, the more people will disbelieve it,” said Claire Wardle. “How do we bring people together to agree on facts when people don’t want to receive information that doesn’t fit with how they see the world?
Jasper Jackson contributed to this report
Facebook Looks to Harness Artificial Intelligence to Weed Out Fake News DEEPA SEETHARAMAN Dec. 1, 2016
He said there will be more measures put into place, whether through machine learning or other filters. And if social platforms fail to address abuse, they will slowly fall off the radar, Hinduja said, much like JuicyCampus, a once popular site that pitted college students against each other in a whirlwind of gossip and anonymous judgement calls.
THE AMERICAN PRESS INSTITUTE DEFINES JOURNALISM IN THESE TERMS:
WELL, IN THE INFORMATION AGE WE CERTAINLY AREN’T SUFFERING FROM A DEARTH OF INFORMATION.
THE PROBLEM WITH ALL OF THIS IS THAT THESE COMPANIES HAVE NO INCENTIVE TO PRESENT FACTS AND TRUTH; THEY ARE COMPETING FOR PROFIT AND CONTROLLED BY INVESTORS, WHO THEY REPORT TO.