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Old 28th April 2019, 12:30 AM   #1
Orphia Nay
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How can social media tackle more false news more quickly?

Yeah, yeah, everyone loves to moan about Facebook and social media, but if Facebook (or Twitter, Instagram, etc) shut down, they'd just moan about the next biggest thing.

If you think the big social media platforms are doing it wrong, what can you suggest would make good rules and methods for platforms for sharing information with friends and groups that wouldn't spread harmful or false information?

I thought I'd ask in here, since we have a rather special group of people with mostly a long education in online discussion, and in combatting false news and harmful behaviour.

I'm aware that I may be asking a group biased against "social media" because many choose to post in here instead, but I have no data to reflect actual numbers/opinions.

I think "social media" is a buzzword people often use to get a negative reaction. I also think that online discussion forums are the "social media" in comparison to email, which was the "social media" before telegrams, snail mail, stage coach, etc.

I think ISF is a valuable part of the global critical thinking community, and our members' experience could reveal suggestions that may not have reached the wider public's consideration.
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Old 28th April 2019, 05:07 AM   #2
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One option is that when fake news is passed on a message is sent to both the sender and receiver saying it is fake news and evidence of this. This can be done hours after the original message is sent as it can take this long to work out that it is fake news.
Another option is to stop people using unreliable sources. Give sources a reliability score.
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:07 AM   #3
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Block MSNBC reporter's accounts.
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Old 28th April 2019, 10:24 AM   #4
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Don't share anything you don't read first.

Don't share anything that is a press release couched as a news story from a politically based website.

Don't share scientific research stories without tracking down the original source material.

Don't share science stories you don't understand.

When in doubt post cat videos.
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Old 28th April 2019, 11:04 AM   #5
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By promoting skepticism early.

Get em while they're young.
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Old 28th April 2019, 11:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wolrab View Post
Block MSNBC reporter's accounts.
Oh that's helpful, block a decent fact checker that even retracts stories when they turn out to be wrong.

And I suppose you think Fox News is an honest broker?


This post is a perfect example, you can get the worst bots and false news spreaders off the platform and that should continue. But that will never be enough especially when you have Trump spreading propaganda like a tin pot dictator.

What we really need is teaching kids early on media literacy.
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Old 28th April 2019, 04:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
Don't share anything you don't read first.

Don't share anything that is a press release couched as a news story from a politically based website.

Don't share scientific research stories without tracking down the original source material.

Don't share science stories you don't understand.

When in doubt post cat videos.
This. This is also the reason that when I was a teacher I would always do an entire unit on media and information, despite my superiors being angry that I wasn't hitting standards for 2 weeks. Kids today are generally not taught the skills they need to parse good information from bad information. There is more accessible info than ever, on more platforms, and in a 24hr cycle. There needs to be a much, much better effort to educate the youth in these matters.
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Old 28th April 2019, 04:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by chrispy View Post
This. This is also the reason that when I was a teacher I would always do an entire unit on media and information, despite my superiors being angry that I wasn't hitting standards for 2 weeks. Kids today are generally not taught the skills they need to parse good information from bad information. There is more accessible info than ever, on more platforms, and in a 24hr cycle. There needs to be a much, much better effort to educate the youth in these matters.
You might find these videos useful (ETA: interesting, noticed after posting "was a teacher") from SmarterEveryDay regarding social media manipulation.

This one is regarding Facebook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY_NtO7SIrY&t=1195s and he has done one about Twitter and one about YouTube. The latter platform, which I use, was very interesting.
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Old 28th April 2019, 05:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Wolrab View Post
Block MSNBC Faux News reporter's accounts.
FTFY
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
One option is that when fake news is passed on a message is sent to both the sender and receiver saying it is fake news and evidence of this. This can be done hours after the original message is sent as it can take this long to work out that it is fake news.
Another option is to stop people using unreliable sources. Give sources a reliability score.
And ban from the net anyone who does it more than once.
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Oh that's helpful, block a decent fact checker that even retracts stories when they turn out to be wrong.

And I suppose you think Fox News is an honest broker?


This post is a perfect example, you can get the worst bots and false news spreaders off the platform and that should continue. But that will never be enough especially when you have Trump spreading propaganda like a tin pot dictator.

What we really need is teaching kids early on media literacy.
re: line 3 (aka para 2)::rolleyes
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wolrab View Post
Block MSNBC reporter's accounts.
You jest or are a trumpest.
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
Don't share anything you don't read first.

Don't share anything that is a press release couched as a news story from a politically based website.

Don't share scientific research stories without tracking down the original source material.

Don't share science stories you don't understand.

When in doubt post cat videos.
Or failboat pics!!!
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:09 PM   #14
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Provide tools that allow and encourage consumers to fact-check the stories that appear in their news feed.
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Old 28th April 2019, 10:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Provide tools that allow and encourage consumers to fact-check the stories that appear in their news feed.
...and disable the ability of the user to like, retweet or share any post that has not passed fact checking.
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Old 28th April 2019, 10:18 PM   #16
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A forced 5min delay between reading something and being able to share it might solve 90% of the problem.
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Old 28th April 2019, 11:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
...and disable the ability of the user to like, retweet or share any post that has not passed fact checking.
I think that this would result in people just not sharing stories at all. We still want them to be able to share stories, but make it easier to verify whether the stories are true or not. Things like "find another source for this story".
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Old 29th April 2019, 06:03 AM   #18
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In related news, I've found this little widget amazingly helpful:
https://www.newsguardtech.com/

Browser plugin that gives you access to reliability ratings of news sites, with clear details on how they rate the sites (and you can click on the rating for a detailed report on any rated site).

I think I found this from another post here, but can't recall who first brought it to my attention. Anyway, seems worth spreading the wealth
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Old 29th April 2019, 06:06 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think that this would result in people just not sharing stories at all. We still want them to be able to share stories, but make it easier to verify whether the stories are true or not. Things like "find another source for this story".
Or make them think a tad before sharing it?
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Old 29th April 2019, 06:44 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
One option is that when fake news is passed on a message is sent to both the sender and receiver saying it is fake news and evidence of this. This can be done hours after the original message is sent as it can take this long to work out that it is fake news.
Another option is to stop people using unreliable sources. Give sources a reliability score.
Not a bad idea. Who determines the score, though?
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Old 29th April 2019, 06:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
By promoting skepticism early.

Get em while they're young.
Well, we've seen on Skeptics' forums that even skeptics aren't immune to nonsense when it fits their preconceptions. Not sure teaching critical thinking in schools would help with that, though I'm in favour of that anyway.
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Old 29th April 2019, 05:52 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Or make them think a tad before sharing it?
Yes, and I was thinking that it could be combined with something like the old Web Of Trust. (Remember that? Does anyone still use it any more?) Anyway. Users could rate articles or sources with a trust ranking, and other users can confirm how reliable those rankings are. The problem with WOT was that you had to know about it, and add the plugin to your browser, which means you had to know how to do that, and you had to use it. A set of tools built in to Facebook would show up for everyone.
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Old 30th April 2019, 12:29 AM   #23
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Hmm, perhaps I overestimated the differences between ISF and Facebook. On Facebook people prefer to talk and share instead of read. Links never have good engagement.

I started a thread earlier in the month in Social Issues etc about Facebook asking for our recommendations on the establishment of an independent Oversight Board to tell Facebook where they are going wrong, and to review false/harmful content.

Since then there have been announcements (amongst others) of results and methods of preventing interference in elections in India, The Philippines, the EU, and Australia, and about "Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior from Iran, Russia, Macedonia and Kosovo".

Today, FB Newsroom announced "First Grants Announced for Independent Research on Social Media’s Impact on Democracy Using Facebook Data":

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/04...search-grants/

"today our partners at Social Science One and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) announced the first researchers who will gain access to privacy-protected Facebook data. More than 60 researchers from 30 academic institutions across 11 countries were chosen through a competitive peer review process organized by the SSRC. You can find the full list of research grants awarded and other details on today’s announcement from the SSRC and Social Science One here and here. To assure the independence of the research and the researchers, Facebook did not play any role in the selection of the individuals or their projects and will have no role in directing the findings or conclusions of the research.

"We hope this initiative will deepen public understanding of the role social media has on elections and democracy and help Facebook and other companies improve their products and practices."

[...]"selected researchers will gain access to the following data:

CrowdTangle: CrowdTangle allows researchers to track the popularity of news items and other public posts across social media platforms. The CrowdTangle API will allow researchers to access public Facebook and Instagram data, which includes posts from public pages, public groups and verified profiles. Beginning today, we are providing the researchers selected in this initial round of grants, as well as Social Science One commission members, access to this API.

Ad Library API: The Ad Library API provides data on ads related to politics or issues on Facebook in the US, UK, Brazil, India, Ukraine, Israel and the EU. Beginning today, researchers have access to the API. Facebook and Social Science One are also working to provide feedback on the API to help make it more useful for research purposes.

Facebook URLs Data Set: The URL data set will be aggregated and anonymized to prevent researchers from identifying any individual Facebook users. This data set includes URLs that have been shared on Facebook by at least 100 unique Facebook users on average who have posted the URL with public privacy settings. This dataset includes the URL link and information on the total shares for a given URL, a text summary of content within the URL, engagement statistics such as the top country where the URL was shared, and information related to the fact-checking ratings from our third-party fact-checking partners."
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Old 30th April 2019, 12:39 AM   #24
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Yes, there will be third-party fact-checking.

"In many countries, we work with independent third-party fact checkers who review stories, check their facts and rate their accuracy. In Australia, we’ll launch third-party fact-checking in partnership with the international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) so we can continue to improve the accuracy of information on Facebook."

Also, the Oversight Board will independently review information. Survey questions about the board ask how much needs review, and how often and how much detail in reviews.


Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
One option is that when fake news is passed on a message is sent to both the sender and receiver saying it is fake news and evidence of this. This can be done hours after the original message is sent as it can take this long to work out that it is fake news.
Another option is to stop people using unreliable sources. Give sources a reliability score.
Yes, good, these are being implemented. Can't remember where I read that. Bit tired.

Also, ads are becoming more transparent.

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/03...i-seeing-this/


Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Provide tools that allow and encourage consumers to fact-check the stories that appear in their news feed.
I've seen ads from the Australian Electoral Commission on Twitter about how to fact-check political stories/ads.

Looks like the AEC social media manager on Facebook hasn't got round to boosting that yet.

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think that this would result in people just not sharing stories at all. We still want them to be able to share stories, but make it easier to verify whether the stories are true or not. Things like "find another source for this story".
Actually, this is a pet peeve of mine. Unskeptical people base data on popularity on the amount of shares stories get.

Also, news organisations get ad revenue from shares/clicks.

I now never purposely share controversial/fake stories.
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Old 30th April 2019, 06:27 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
I think ISF is a valuable part of the global critical thinking community, and our members' experience could reveal suggestions that may not have reached the wider public's consideration.
I really think people on the ISF have a rather grandiose idea of their global impact on other people and their thoughts. Mostly, this is a place of general bickering and political mud-slinging.
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Old 30th April 2019, 02:21 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Gilbert Syndrome View Post
I really think people on the ISF have a rather grandiose idea of their global impact on other people and their thoughts. Mostly, this is a place of general bickering and political mud-slinging.


Shhh, I was making an Appeal to Vanity.

I actually deleted a bit about ISF being hidden, so I do acknowledge that ISF hasn’t much impact globally.

Most of the thoughtful people who used to be here I'm friends with on Facebook and they don't post here much anymore.

There are still a few thoughtful people left here, or I'd hoped.

Big announcement about changes to Facebook:

Facebook Unveils Major App Redesign With Focus on Groups https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...f-big-blue-app


More focus on groups.
More privacy.
Opt-in services for dating, or just making friends.
Also the ongoing efforts against violence and misinformation.
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Old 6th May 2019, 09:09 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
...and disable the ability of the user to like, retweet or share any post that has not passed fact checking.
I like this!!!
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Old 6th May 2019, 09:32 PM   #28
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No idea if this is workable, but I wonder if there should be an indicator to guide the consumer on the reputation of the source - bit like how financial institutions and even countries get a AA rating.

This could be either self governed (like Wikipedia) or some independent organization.

News organizations would then strive to increase their rating over time (years).

Media organizations should then display/publish the rating of the news outlet with each article. So if it's from infowars they get zero stars or even 5 click-baits , Fox would maybe 2-3 and NY Times 4 or 5. OR even a textual indicator that rages from a red "caution" to green "high confidence".

The trick is how to decide on the scoring criteria and how to keep that independent. But certainly for obscure click bait sites that run a sensationalized article that is just published to get people onto the adverts would have a very low rating. To be transparent the criteria for determining a news source's rating would be published online and kept up to date.

This could help promote honest journalism. If it was possible to encourage advertisers to associate themselves with the more reputable news organizations that would help even more.
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Old 6th May 2019, 09:42 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Gilbert Syndrome View Post
I really think people on the ISF have a rather grandiose idea of their global impact on other people and their thoughts. Mostly, this is a place of general bickering and political mud-slinging.
I don't know about global impact since the JREF forum closed, but I think you are short changing large sections of the board.


Moving on ... , I'm in the middle of an excellent book, Merchants of Truth by Jill Abramson, that goes over in detail the progression from news print media to the social media we have today. This all took place in a short period of time and Abramson gives what I think is some essential context if we are going to understand where we are and where we are going in terms of the manipulation of social media.
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Old 7th May 2019, 07:35 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
..... an excellent book, Merchants of Truth by Jill Abramson,.....
She plagiarized and got a bunch of stuff wrong about Vice media in that book, just FYI. Which is pretty ironic in a book by a NYT editor about how young turks are ruining the journalism.
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Old 7th May 2019, 10:09 AM   #31
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I doubt that social media can be used to deal with false news more quickly.

After all, there are always going to be some idiots who will pass on whatever stupid crap crosses in front of them because they believe it to be true.

And then there are some real asses who love to cause trouble by passing on all sorts of stupid crap.
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Old 7th May 2019, 10:17 AM   #32
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I'm not sure it should be their job to keep out false news. Before facebook, 99.9% of the internet was already crap. It's the social media algorithms that auto-feed people more of what they already like that's changing things for the worse, if anything. They just need to knock that stuff off.
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Old 7th May 2019, 04:10 PM   #33
mgidm86
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I'm not sure it should be their job to keep out false news. Before facebook, 99.9% of the internet was already crap. It's the social media algorithms that auto-feed people more of what they already like that's changing things for the worse, if anything. They just need to knock that stuff off.

I tend to agree. I have no solid answer or opinion yet, but I'm wondering if Facebook should bother with censoring this type of content at all, even violent groups for that matter. I thought it was a strange decision when they started to do these things. I think they blew it by taking on (and by doing so assuming) this responsibility.

I don't need anyone telling me what is safe to read or look at. Idiots who read the stuff will always be idiots whether or not FB tries to save them from themselves.

I always figured if I ran Facebook that I would take no responsibility for what people post. I think they've handled this wrong for quite awhile and now they are stuck with it.

I don't use FB.

* Probably off topic, but I also think users should be paid whenever their data is sold, or used to sell a product. Most people freely give this information out, but maybe they wouldn't if a FB alternative came out that paid cash.

The older I get the more I think humanity deserves to be doomed to live out it's existence on this rock.
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Old 7th May 2019, 05:08 PM   #34
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I'm not sure it should be their job to keep out false news. Before facebook, 99.9% of the internet was already crap. It's the social media algorithms that auto-feed people more of what they already like that's changing things for the worse, if anything. They just need to knock that stuff off.
There's a TON of content out there. No-one can curate their own content feeds. It has to be filtered and sorted somehow.

Several years ago, Facebook was filled with people saying "Don't filter my feed, just show me everything in chronological order". I don't see that any more. Perhaps because when you do just see every piece of content from every friend, fan page and group, unless you're looking constantly you miss most of it. There's too much. Sure, some people only have a few friends, and can curate their own feed. But Googling tells me that the average Facebook user now has over 300 friends. There's no way anyone can keep up with all that content, so Facebook filters it based on what it knows you have interacted with in the past. And up until recently, that's all it used. Whether a story was actually true or not did not factor into the algorithm in any way. That's what needs to change in order to answer the question in the OP.
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Old 7th May 2019, 05:12 PM   #35
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By automated systems that learn to recognise hoax memes and reject when submitted or pulled down quickly.
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Old 7th May 2019, 05:27 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
I tend to agree. I have no solid answer or opinion yet, but I'm wondering if Facebook should bother with censoring this type of content at all, even violent groups for that matter. I thought it was a strange decision when they started to do these things. I think they blew it by taking on (and by doing so assuming) this responsibility.

I don't need anyone telling me what is safe to read or look at. Idiots who read the stuff will always be idiots whether or not FB tries to save them from themselves.

I always figured if I ran Facebook that I would take no responsibility for what people post. I think they've handled this wrong for quite awhile and now they are stuck with it.
I think the problem Facebook faces is now that it has been definitively shown that extremist and terrorist groups have used the site for recruitment and for planning events that have proven deadly. It's no longer a question of telling people what content it's "safe" to view or not; Facebook faces a tremendous PR problem for helping to facilitate extremism and not merely hosting it, and this PR problem is leading to money problems. And there are potential legal liability issues as well.
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Old 7th May 2019, 05:29 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
By automated systems that learn to recognise hoax memes and reject when submitted or pulled down quickly.
And that's going to be the trick - training a machine learning system to recognise rubbish the way Captcha trains self-driving cars to recognise traffic lights.
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Old 7th May 2019, 05:38 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
And that's going to be the trick - training a machine learning system to recognise rubbish the way Captcha trains self-driving cars to recognise traffic lights.
Not to mention explaining why it seems to target the American right.

But I dream of intelligent systems that can do real time fact checking as well as human political and justice arbitration. Something that can adjudicate on veracity of facts and conclusions derived from them.
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Old 7th May 2019, 05:55 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
She plagiarized and got a bunch of stuff wrong about Vice media in that book, just FYI. Which is pretty ironic in a book by a NYT editor about how young turks are ruining the journalism.
Oh right, ignore the book because she left out quote marks and made a few errors. She was on CSPAN and it was discussed, at length.

You can go read or not read whatever you want. I'm halfway through the book and the history of how print media changed and the evolution from Google (you search) to FaceBook (someone shares with you) I find fascinating. I am quite capable of assessing a book despite flaws rather than simply accusing the author like we might dismiss out of hand anything Limbaugh or Jones said.

Straight from your second link:
Quote:
Jill Abramson says she will correct sourcing errors in new book

Ex-New York Times editor said sources ‘should have been cited as quotations’ in Merchants of Truth after plagiarism accusations
Like I said...

Your interpretation of the Guardian article is wanting.

Quote:
Moynihan listed several examples ...

Abramson has defended herself by saying that her book includes extensive endnotes, including web links to sources. It is widely believed that an outside source should be credited in the body of the work if there is a close similarity.
You should actually read the article instead of just the headline.
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Old 7th May 2019, 06:00 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
I doubt that social media can be used to deal with false news more quickly.

After all, there are always going to be some idiots who will pass on whatever stupid crap crosses in front of them because they believe it to be true.

And then there are some real asses who love to cause trouble by passing on all sorts of stupid crap.
I believe the technology of the near future might be effective, but it is a massive endeavor.
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