Seven Ugly Truths About News Computer

 

Scrolling through your news feed can feel like playing a game of Two Truths and a Lie. While some lies are easy to pick out — like First Lady Melania Trump wanting an exorcist to cleanse the White House — and some others aren’t so obvious, there are times when fiction is blended with fact, making it easy to believe the story without doing your own research. For instance, the Federal Communications Commission didn’t raid CNN or the cops didn’t find a meth lab in an Alabama Walmart — these are all stories that are easy to get confused by.

Falsehoods in news feeds

Fake news is content that is posted on the Internet and spread by social media that does not have a verified source. Often these are doctored images or impersonated sources. They are intended to mislead readers and spread false narratives. They are particularly easy to distribute through the Internet and social media.

This study examines the distribution of false news on Twitter and finds that false rumors consistently outnumber the truth in news feeds. It also shows that false news reaches a larger audience and spreads faster than factual stories. Although the study is flawed in some ways, it does highlight the problem of false news on social media.

It can be difficult to identify false news in the news feeds of the news websites. In some cases, the false stories are clear and easy to distinguish. For example, First Lady Melania Trump wanted an exorcist to cleanse the White House, or a school principal was arrested for defecating in front of students. But in other cases, fiction blends with fact and we become fooled.

Peddling of lies on social media

One of the most egregious examples of the peddling of lies on social media comes from the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. His campaign’s use of fake news and outlandish claims suggested a degradation of the value of truth, a condition facilitated by the hyper-democratizing power of the Internet. In addition to using old stories, disinformation agents have been circulating fake news stories on social media, often using the logos of trusted news organizations. For example, in the lead up to the 2017 UK general election, a fake news account used the BBC logo to circulate a photo of a fake news story. This image claimed that the election was over two days and that voters needed to vote on the correct day. Another example came from the Kenyan general election, which had a video circulated that contained misleading information about a fake news story.

The Internet allows for the mass generation of conspiracy theories and fake news, and it makes it easy for anyone to spread a false story. Disinfomedia, a group of fake news websites, even owns the websites that spread these erroneous stories. During the 2016 election, teenagers in Macedonia made cash by writing popular fake news.

Lack of common sense among computer pundits

One reason why computer pundits are not a good resource is that they lack common sense. CD-ROMs and online databases won’t replace a daily newspaper or a good teacher. Similarly, computer networks won’t revolutionize how government works. That’s just a fact.

Reliability of online fact-checking systems

One important issue for online fact-checking systems is whether they affect users’ beliefs about the truthfulness of information. Researchers have found that a fact-checking system can alter a user’s stance, reducing the likelihood that they will believe fake news. This effect is most apparent in vulnerable individuals who already have a negative view of mainstream media and have more conservative views. While the positive effects of a fact-checking system are not long-lasting, they can help people change their beliefs temporarily.

For example, crowdsourcing can be used to identify misinformation and rate the veracity of individual articles. But crowdsourcing relies on the activity of individual users, which can be easily manipulated. For example, an aggressive actor can coordinate the flagging of counter-ideology or engage in coordinated attacks on an article.

Another important question is whether online fact-checking systems can be trusted by the public. While professional fact-checking is important, it’s difficult to keep pace with the volume of information available online. It’s impossible to make sure that every claim is true. This could lead to a “misinformation effect,” where false information is spread without the benefit of fact-checking.

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