Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Major media outlets’ Twitter accounts amplify false Trump claims on average 19 times a day, study finds

Media Matters reports: Major media outlets failed to rebut President Donald Trump’s misinformation 65% of the time in their tweets about his false or misleading comments, according to a Media Matters review. That means the outlets amplified Trump’s misinformation more than 400 times over the three-week period of the study — a rate of 19 per day. The data shows that news outlets are still failing to grapple with a

Ignore the Poway Synagogue shooter’s manifesto: Pay attention to 8chan’s /pol/ board

Robert Evans writes: On April 27, 2019, at around 11:30 a.m. local time, a young man with a semi-automatic rifle walked into the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, California. He opened fire, killing one worshipper and wounding three others. In the hours since the shooting, a manifesto, believed to be written by the shooter, began circulating online. Evidence has also surfaced that, like the Christchurch Mosque shooter, this killer

Facebook fact-checker has ties to climate doubt

E&E News reports: Facebook’s newest fact-checking partner is connected to an enterprise that was founded by a conservative Fox News host and that routinely promotes climate doubt. The social media giant is partnering with to provide third-party oversight of news on its platform, Facebook announced last week. Check Your Fact is an affiliate of The Daily Caller, the right-leaning news outlet co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Climate

Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy


How the far right spread politically convenient lies about the Notre Dame fire

Talia Lavin writes: As a conflagration spread through the ancient timbers of Notre Dame Cathedral’s attic on Monday, a parallel fire was spreading on social media. This one was willfully set, a series of conspiracy theories neatly slotted into preexisting cultural biases. And soon enough, willing believers were aflame with hate. The conspiracy theorizing began almost as soon as the blaze did, right when people saw the shocking, transfixing video

15 months of fresh hell inside Facebook

Wired reports: The streets of Davos, Switzerland, were iced over on the night of January 25, 2018, which added a slight element of danger to the prospect of trekking to the Hotel Seehof for George Soros’ annual banquet. The aged financier has a tradition of hosting a dinner at the World Economic Forum, where he regales tycoons, ministers, and journalists with his thoughts about the state of the world. That

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quits Facebook, calls social media a ‘public health risk’

The Washington Post reports: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose mastery of social media has helped drive the national conversation and shed light on the inner workings of congressional power, has given up on the most popular social network in the world. In an interview Sunday with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” the New York Democrat said she stopped using her Facebook account and was scaling back on all social media, which

Facebook Brexit ads secretly run by staff of Lynton Crosby firm

The Guardian reports: A series of hugely influential Facebook advertising campaigns that appear to be separate grassroots movements for a no-deal Brexit are secretly overseen by employees of Sir Lynton Crosby’s lobbying company and a former adviser to Boris Johnson, documents seen by the Guardian reveal. The mysterious groups, which have names such as Mainstream Network and Britain’s Future, appear to be run independently by members of the public and

How an aging, digitally semi-literate population is reshaping the internet and politics

BuzzFeed reports: Although many older Americans have, like the rest of us, embraced the tools and playthings of the technology industry, a growing body of research shows they have disproportionately fallen prey to the dangers of internet misinformation and risk being further polarized by their online habits. While that matters much to them, it’s also a massive challenge for society given the outsize role older generations play in civic life,

Attacks by white extremists are growing. So are their connections

The New York Times reports: In a manifesto posted online before his attack, the gunman who killed 50 last month in a rampage at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, said he drew inspiration from white extremist terrorism attacks in Norway, the United States, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. His references to those attacks placed him in an informal global network of white extremists whose violent attacks are occurring

Teens have less face time with their friends – and are lonelier than ever

Teens aren’t necessarily less social, but the contours of their social lives have changed. pxhere By Jean Twenge, San Diego State University Ask a teen today how she communicates with her friends, and she’ll probably hold up her smartphone. Not that she actually calls her friends; it’s more likely that she texts them or messages them on social media. Today’s teens – the generation I call “iGen” that’s also called

How social media’s business model helped the New Zealand massacre go viral

The Washington Post reports: The ability of Internet users to spread a video of Friday’s slaughter in New Zealand marked a triumph — however appalling — of human ingenuity over computerized systems designed to block troubling images of violence and hate. People celebrating the mosque attacks that left 50 people dead were able to keep posting and reposting videos on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter despite the websites’ use of largely

White nationalism is an international threat

Patrick Strickland writes: In Australia, whence the [Christchurch massacre] suspect [Brenton Tarrant] hails, the rise in unabashed Islamophobia has buoyed far-right and ultra-nationalist movements in recent years. The country’s broad far-right category includes “several very different groups positioned on an ideological spectrum of extremism from conservative anti-immigration, anti-Islam groups to far-right neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, generally racist, white supremacy groups,” a group of Griffith University criminologists wrote in 2016. Many of these

Facebook faces fresh questions over when it knew of data harvesting

The Observer reports: Facebook is facing explosive new questions about when senior executives knew of Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of users’ data, one year on from when the scandal first broke, as federal prosecutors investigate claims that the social media giant has covered up the extent of its relationship with the firm. The Observer has also learned that a Facebook board member and confidant of its CEO Mark Zuckerberg met Christopher

Speed kills

When Evan Williams created Blogger and triggered the social media revolution of push-button publishing, an unquestioned presupposition underpinning the creation of the platform was that there was inherent value in reducing the temporal distance between authorship and publication. Supposedly, if anyone, anywhere, could broadcast their words to the world without any barriers standing in the way, this would represent the greatest leap forward in communication since Gutenberg. That turns out

‘Everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonize particular groups, set them against each other, that all has consequences’

“You’ll have to forgive me, these won’t be my best words…” On this heartbreaking day, Waleed reflects and calls for unity. #TheProjectTV — The Project (@theprojecttv) March 15, 2019