#17
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  • Misinfo affects doctors (#1)
  • Tweaks at Twitter (#6)
  • Judy Mikovits (#5+7)
  • Facebook’s AI (#13)


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NBC News

“I left work and I felt so deflated,” one doctor said about an effort to counter misinformation he saw on Facebook. “I let it get to me.”


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Coda Story

From cyberattacks to takeovers, Xi Jinping’s government aims to silence criticism from independent media organizations


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Quartz

In pandemics, as in war, truth is often the first casualty.


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New York Times

A video showcasing baseless arguments by Judy Mikovits, including attacks on Anthony Fauci, has been viewed more than eight million times in the past week.


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Lawfare Blog

Where did the coronavirus come from? The Trump administration says it wants answers to this question — but conflicting statements from U.S. leaders are further undercutting the credibility of U.S. intelligence on the pandemic. Even more worrisome, reporting suggests that political pressure may be shaping U.S. intelligence analysis on the subject. This is dangerous for many reasons. But in this moment of crisis and uncertainty, these dynamics may also have strategic consequences for the United States on the world stage.


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Reuters

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) will add labels and warning messages on some tweets with disputed or misleading information about COVID-19, the company said on Monday, as part of a new approach to misinformation that will eventually extend to other topics.


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Whenever a major platform makes a move against misinformation, it can have lots of consequences. Here is a piece looking at tweaks to tweets at Twitter taking place after criticism of the amount of misinformation around COVID.

Rolling Stone

It is perhaps a testament to these anxious, extremely paranoid times that one of the most famous scientists in the country right now is not actually a credible scientist at all. Dr. Judy Mikovits is at the center of the documentary Plandemic, a melange of pseudoscience and baseless conspiracy theories related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite featuring such widely debunked claims that the COVID-19 death toll has been inflated and that masks spread the novel coronavirus, the 26-minute Plandemic went massively viral on social media, thanks in no small part to promotion from right-wing conspiracy theorists and mainstream influencers alike. Although Facebook and YouTube removed the video for violating anti-misinformation policies, it continues to be widely shared on various social platforms, even though most of its claims have been thoroughly debunked.


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The Verge

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the big social platforms have generally been quicker than usual to intervene in the spread of misinformation. We’ve seen Facebook, Google, and Twitter add various labels, warnings, and links to high-quality news sources and public health organizations. And for the most part, the dumbest theories about the novel coronavirus have not reached huge scale — unless the theory was suggested by the president of the United States, in which case, well.


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NPR

Rumors, conspiracy theories and false information about the coronavirus have spread wildly on social media since the pandemic began.


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Slate

In the wake of COVID-19’s spread across the world, countries are dealing with the rise of both intentional fake news and well-meaning misinformation about the virus. Some hard-hit countries have enacted new laws related to the spread of misinformation, while others are reckoning with constitutional limits on free speech. For instance, a recent court challenge forced the French government to take down its own website debunking COVID-19 related fake news. Even more countries facing major outbreaks are using existing laws to crack down on alleged spreaders of misinformation like in India and Morocco.


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Poynter

“Without fear or favor” was the theme of this past Sunday’s World Press Freedom Day — a phrase that echoes an announcement by New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs when he became the newspaper’s owner 124 years ago.


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The Hill

Senate Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to increase access to coronavirus data for people with limited English proficiency (LEP) and those who are disabled.


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Tech Crunch

Facebook’s AI tools are the only thing standing between its users and the growing onslaught of hate and misinformation the platform is experiencing. The company’s researchers have cooked up a few new capabilities for the systems that keep the adversary at bay, identifying COVID-19-related misinformation and hateful speech disguised as memes.


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Deepnews of course believes in the power of algorithms, but can they work for content moderation on platforms such as Facebook? Here Devin Coldeway and Taylor Hatmaker dig into issues such as image recognition and “ambiguous skunks” for Tech Crunch.

Washington Post

“60 Minutes” did an investigative story Sunday night on the fate of the EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth is a nonprofit that does research on pandemics like the coronavirus, and its funding was stripped by the Trump administration last month — stripped after a series of overcooked claims about U.S. taxpayer dollars going to a lab in Wuhan, China.


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Nikkei Asian Review

Ankur Shah is a writer focused on China, Russia and India for, among others, the Economist, UNESCO and Foreign Policy.


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Financial Times ($)

Twitter is failing to rein in “superspreaders” of coronavirus misinformation on its platform, according to research detailing dozens of posts shared by high-profile accounts apparently flouting the social media group’s rules.


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Deutsche Welle

The European Union on Thursday defended its decision to consent to Chinese censorship of a letter co-written by the bloc’s 27 ambassadors, ahead of its publication in Chinese media.


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Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Official Facebook pages of the Duterte government shared content that targeted local media just a week after the celebration of 2020 World Press Freedom Day. But this is not the first time verified government pages have done this.


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University of Sheffield

Measures designed to curb the spread of disinformation related to the coronavirus could criminalize legitimate journalism, reports published by UNESCO have warned.


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While this newsletter often focuses on the fight against misinformation, taking concrete actions can cause problems for those trying to get information out there. Here University of Sheffield shares the results of research from the Centre for Freedom of the Media.

The American Conservative

Some believe our intellectual betters should be able to censor the internet. They don’t know nearly as much as they think they do.


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AFP Fact Check

The task of introducing a vaccine for the coronavirus faces an uphill struggle in Africa, where a flood of online misinformation is feeding on mistrust of Western medical research.


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ASPI Strategist

The Covid-19 crisis is revealing many truths about our society, not least that lies and misinformation can be just as infectious as any disease.


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Venture Beat

In Q1 2020, 9.6 million pieces of content posted on Facebook were removed for violation of company hate speech policy, the “largest gain in a period of time,” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer told journalists today. For context, as recently as four years ago, Facebook removed no content with AI. The data comes from Facebook’s Community Standards Enforcement Report (CSER) report, which says AI detected 88.8% of the hate speech content removed by Facebook in Q1 2020, up from 80.2% in the previous quarter. Schroepfer attributes the growth to advances in language models like XLM. Another potential factor: As a result of COVID-19, Facebook also sent some of its human moderators home, though Schroepfer said Facebook moderators can now do some work from home.


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CNN

On one afternoon in April, Yamiche Alcindor, the White House correspondent for PBS Newshour, grew exasperated. While standing in the back of the room at the daily coronavirus task force briefing, Chanel Rion, a conspiracy theorist who works as a correspondent for the far-right One America News network, violated social distancing guidelines as she stepped forward and stood close to Alcindor to ask a question.


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Guardian

With disinformation connecting coronavirus to 5G masts, fortune cookies and eating bat soup, here are some of the worst examples of misinformation surrounding the pandemic


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