Sunday, 29 January 2017

From Headline to Photograph, a Fake News Masterpiece

It was early fall, and Donald J. Trump, behind in the polls, seemed to be preparing a rationale in case a winner like him somehow managed to lose. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” the Republican nominee told a riled-up crowd in Columbus, Ohio. He was hearing “more and more” about evidence of rigging, he added, leaving the details to his supporters’ imagination.
A few weeks later, Cameron Harris, a new college graduate with a fervent interest in Maryland Republican politics and a need for cash, sat down at the kitchen table in his apartment to fill in the details Mr. Trump had left out. In a dubious art just coming into its prime, this bogus story would be his masterpiece.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

It’s time to retire the tainted term ‘fake news’

Fake news has a real meaning — deliberately constructed lies, in the form of news articles, meant to mislead the public. For example: The one falsely claiming that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump, or the one alleging without basis that Hillary Clinton would be indicted just before the election.
But though the term hasn’t been around long, its meaning already is lost.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Cynical Gambit to Make ‘Fake News’ Meaningless

As journalists push back against hoaxes and conspiracies, media skeptics are using charges of “fake news” against professionals.

But if the proliferation of bad information online is indeed the dangerous driving force of a post-fact society—a society in which made-up stories inspire real incidents like the gunfire at a pizzeria in Washington over the weekend, or the woman charged with making death threats against the parent of a child murdered in the Newtown massacre because she thought the attack was a hoax—people ought to know what “fake news” actually means.

Commentary: Facebook and Twitter’s real sin goes beyond spreading fake news

Social media companies are taking heat for influencing the outcomes of the U.S. presidential election and Brexit referendum by allowing fake news, misinformation campaigns and hate speech to spread.

But Facebook and Twitter’s real sin was an act of omission: they failed to contribute to the data that democracy needs to thrive. While sitting on huge troves of information about public opinion and voter intent, social media firms watched as U.S. and UK pollsters, journalists, politicians and civil society groups made bad projections and poor decisions with the wrong information.

The Economist's deputy editor Tom Standage weighs in on the debate about false news in the aftermath of America's presidential election.

The Economist's deputy editor Tom Standage weighs in on the debate about false news in the aftermath of America's presidential election.