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Fake news...a warning.

Leon Troutsky

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So instead of talking about this across five different threads, I want to make a few points to consider.

If you don't know, there has been a ton of outright fake news stories being spread on social media, especially Facebook.  For one example, read this article:


The partisan online environment has been terrible for years now.  Most of this comes in the form of biased websites posting "stories" that are so skewed that they bear little resemblance to the reality or facts of a situation.  Most of the times, this involves splashy headlines that aren't supported by the linked articles.

What we're seeing now is much worse.  It involves people who fabricate stories - as in they make up things that never happened - and post them on social media.  They make money every time somebody shares, likes, and/or clicks on the link.  So the wider their fake stories are spread, the more money they make.

And a LOT of those articles have been posted on ABF as being accurate and truthful.  Now we know they're not just exaggerated or biased articles.  They are entirely made up.

This is actually very dangerous.  It creates a situation where large numbers of people believe things that are not real and they base political decisions on those falsehoods.  There was already very little effort for people to filter the biased and exaggerated stories, and people obviously don't bother to verify the credibility of these new fake stories.  Now outright falsehoods are seeping into the public consciousness and little effort to fact check these things.  And even when they get fact checked, often the people passing around these fake stories have already moved on to the next one (or twelve) and don't care that their beliefs are based on fabricated "information" and outright lies.

And before somebody thinks this is one-sided, I read one article where the people creating these fake stories are about to switch to anti-Trump and anti-Republican stories to try to dupe Democrats into spreading their fake stories.  So we're probably about to see an avalanche of fake stories attacking Republicans.

We NEED to start filtering the stuff that comes across Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.  There's plenty enough to criticize the parties over without basing it on outright lies and fabrications.  And the danger of the fake news is that people stop trusting any credible news source, left or right leaning, and no longer have an accurate way to evaluate their government and politicians.  Or worse, they judge elected officials and government actions based on things that never occurred.  We risk sinking even farther into both sides living in completely different realities and having completely different sets of "facts" that support their preexisting beliefs.  Any semblance of political discourse that exists now could get buried under a thousand fake claims and false accusations, further eroding people's trust in government (and the media) and creating increasing dissatisfaction about government performance that isn't based on reality.  

We've seen tons of these articles posted on the boards already, mostly from conservatives and Trump-supporters.  That's because the idiots behind these hoaxes were trying to make Trump supporters look stupid by getting them to share fake news.  But as mentioned, they're going to start shifting to anti-Republican fake stories so those of us who aren't targeted by these fake articles need to be very, very careful in the future about similar articles passing through our social media feeds.  

And we need to be very aggressive about calling out these fake stories when we see them, even if they support our worldviews.  That's because our worldview cannot be based on fake information and fabricated accusations.  Facts matter and a political environment rooted in fantasies and falsehoods is going to create some very serious long-term problems with governance.  No elected official can govern when this kind of false information is spread widely, for example.

Finally, to the people who spread some of these fake articles on the boards...please stop.  Click the links and check to see if it's a credible source before sharing it.  And if you make a mistake and somebody notes that it's a fake story, just apologize and move on.  Don't double down or compare these fake stories with (what you perceive) as biased media outlets.  They are not the same.  If CNN or FOX News reports that the president said something, the president said that.  Maybe the interpretation is biased or skewed slightly, but you can believe the claims made in the news article.  If "truepundit" claims that the president said something, ESPECIALLY if that claim seems outrageous and unbelievable, it's probably fake.  The president probably didn't say that thing.  So don't believe it and verify it through credible sources before sharing or otherwise repeating the lie.  

Again, this isn't cute.  It's not funny.  It's dangerous and is one of the few things that I've seen that genuinely makes me concerned about the future of politics.  If you think things are nasty and vicious now, imagine how much worse things will be when people are attacking the president for things he never said or making allegations about government actions that never occurred.  

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1 minute ago, Joremarid said:

I'd imagine based on posting style that the "people" who continuously post fake news is actually one person who has shown no interest whatsoever in impartiality. This likely will fall on deaf ears. 

I've seen some people on the boards that I respect and believe to be concerned with factual accuracy post some of these fake news stories over the past month.  And I suspect we're going to see some people on the left get duped and post them in the coming months.  

Hopefully I'm wrong, but I am genuinely concerned that this is about to be the political content that a majority of Americans receive and base their judgments about government and elected officials on.  A majority of Americans already get most of their political information from social media...that's what makes this stuff so dangerous.

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From Howard Kurtz via FoxNews.com:

How on earth did fake news become so popular?

I don’t mean the major media stories that some of you find unfair or exaggerated. I’m talking about made-up-stuff being merchandized for clicks and profits. And since such fare spreads like wildfire on Facebook, the social network is under fire for not curbing the crap.

A Buzzfeed analysis found that the 20 top-performing bogus election stories did better on Facebook than the 20 top-performing stories from such legitimate sites as the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC and Huffington Post.

The legit stuff drew 7,367,000 shares, reactions and comments, while the fictional material drew 8,711,000 shares, reactions and comments.

“Of the 20 top-performing false election stories identified in the analysis, all but three were overtly pro-Donald Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton. Two of the biggest false hits were a story claiming Clinton sold weapons to ISIS and a hoax claiming the pope endorsed Trump, which the site removed after publication of this article. The only viral false stories during the final three months that were arguably against Trump’s interests were a false quote from Mike Pence about Michelle Obama, a false report that Ireland was accepting American ‘refugees’ fleeing Trump, and a hoax claiming RuPaul said he was groped by Trump.”

The study found just one uber-popular story from a ultra-partisan left-wing site, which claimed that Ireland was accepting anti-Trump “refugees” from the United States.

Facebook, while using a broader measurement than Buzzfeed, admits it has a problem. And after Google announced this week that it would try to purge such material, Facebook began banning such sites from using its advertising network, trying to starve them financially by removing the profit motive.

Even President Obama got into the act yesterday, offering a 7-minute exposition at a news conference in Berlin on the dangers of fake news:

 “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," he said. "Then democracy will break down.”

One admitted purveyor of fake Facebook news, Paul Horner, bragged to the Washington Post that while making $10,000 a month, he had influenced the election:

"Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected …

"My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything.”

Leaving aside the swipe from Horner, who admits he hates Trump, his claim that he influenced the outcome of the election—or any claim that fake news kept Hillary Clinton out of the White House—is ludicrous.

At the same time, this trend is clearly a cancer on the news business. When this garbage pops up in Facebook feeds, people click, and often believe what they see.

The New York Times recently featured other examples:

“Donald J. Trump’s supporters were probably heartened in September, when, according to an article shared nearly a million times on Facebook, the candidate received an endorsement from Pope Francis. Their opinions on Hillary Clinton may have soured even further after reading a Denver Guardian article that also spread widely on Facebook, which reported days before the election that an F.B.I. agent suspected of involvement in leaking Mrs. Clinton’s emails was found dead in an apparent murder-suicide.”

Both utter fiction.

Mark Zuckerberg called the idea that Facebook influenced the election “crazy.” Here is his defense, on his own Facebook page:

“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.

"That said, we don't want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news."

But here’s the problem: Who does Zuckerberg appoint to cleanse his site of fake news? What about stories that are 60 percent false, or 40 percent false? What about those that just make unprovable claims for partisan purposes?

Remember that Zuckerberg had a problem with his trending topics list, which was eliminating conservative stories because of a biased staff. So the Facebook CEO met with a group of leading conservatives and fired the staff, removing a key layer of human oversight.

A similar problem arises with Twitter’s decision this week to shut down a number of accounts belonging to “alt-right” advocates, even if they weren’t being abusive or publishing anything false. What about the company’s commitment to free speech?

Zuckerberg has always maintained the fiction that Facebook is a platform, not a media company, even though it has grown more powerful than most news organizations in distributing journalism around the globe. If it’s just a neutral utility, than anyone should be able to post anything short of death threats and incitement to violence.

But once Zuckerberg admits he’s actually running one of the most powerful media brands on the planet, he has to get more aggressive about promoting real news and weeding out hoaxers and charlatans. The alternative is to watch Facebook’s own credibility decline.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz. 

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They don't care now cause the majority of the  fake news trending out there supports their agenda, but with amount of fear and anxiety out there about this new administration combined with the crazy **** the president himself and a few in his select circle have made claims about, its going to be fairly easy for fake news to continue to explode and keep spreading and all of a sudden it's going to be very serious business and something that needs to be addressed. <_<



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4 hours ago, atl falcon 89 said:

They don't care now cause the majority of the  fake news trending out there supports their agenda, but with amount of fear and anxiety out there about this new administration combined with the crazy **** the president himself and a few in his select circle have made claims about, its going to be fairly easy for fake news to continue to explode and keep spreading and all of a sudden it's going to be very serious business and something that needs to be addressed. <_<



You're a little late to the party.

Conservatives already distrust the media. Only 14% trust the MSM. (30% for independents), but 51% of Liberals still trust it.

This has been a problem for some time, but some people are just noticing the "fake" news because their bubble got burst.


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Trout, Fake News, a New Thread explaining it, Obsession? The NY Times is obsessed with Trump and they create out of thin air story's day and day out. The blockbuster GWB fake letter by Dan Rathers was an all time duzzy. What you are failing at realizing (amongst other things) is the media empire of CBS, ABC, NBC and the majority of the newspapers and cable leftists, All are working for the DNC. http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2013/09/07/mainstream-media-honchos-related-towhite-house-officials/

The list of the media persons colluding with the DNC is very long, but the left is going to pretend its not going on. So be it. When you guys elect the Muslim Brotherhood to be the DNC head, you've just lost another 45% of the country. If and when you put the Faux Indian in power and then allow Chucky Shumer to be your wind whisperer, you've lost another 20%. 

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23 minutes ago, lostone said:

I'd like to hear the story about how your Muslim friends want to register their religion of preference.

More fear mongering. Look at real issues, occuring right now at Standing Rock. The media won't report the Obama's use of power over this incident as it doesn't meld well with the lefts world view. Like Gonzalas the cuban kid thrown out of the country by Clinton. Like the deaths at David Kouresh's compound, when the left is involved, it gets little to scant media coverage. But hey, keep on spreading the Faux news lines of the day. 

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Just now, Flip Flop said:

So, what has changed.  These fake news stories have been around forever.  Before the internet you could find them in magazines and newsletters.  Why the sudden concern about fake news?

Fake news has always been around. The difference is now it's very lucrative. Every page click is $$$ and there are no shortage of morons willing to believe any story that fits their pre-existing worldview.

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2 minutes ago, Gritzblitz 2.0 said:

Fake news has always been around. The difference is now it's very lucrative. Every page click is $$$ and there are no shortage of morons willing to believe any story that fits their pre-existing worldview.

Ok.  So, why is it the big story today.  There has been big money per click for years.  Why is everyone talking about fake news now, instead of say, ten years ago?

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