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Matter of Facts #22

  • Maria Ressa interview
  • The “Corona Guy” in Kenya
  • Conspiracy Made in America
  • Rating system for policy
Published every Wednesday

NBC News

‘Facebook doesn’t care’: Activists say accounts removed despite Zuckerberg’s free-speech stance

Mark Zuckerberg has championed Facebook’s commitment to free speech as a reason not to act on incendiary posts from President Donald Trump about the Black Lives Matter protests. It’s a standard that activists and journalists in the Middle East wish extended to their accounts.

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Maria Ressa: Democracy around the World Has Become Weaker

MANILA – After being found guilty of cyber libel on Monday, prominent Filipino journalist Maria Ressa tells EFE in an interview that democracy has become weaker, not only in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines but also across the rest of the world with the rise of populist, authoritarian and fascist leaders.

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Editor’s Note:

This week saw the conviction of Rappler’s Maria Ressa in the Philippines, a move against press freedom felt around the world. Here Ressa speaks to EFE, the international agency based in Spain, about topics including disinformation campaigns.

The Journal (Ireland)

‘The Covid-19 infodemic left people confused about what to believe’

Meanwhile, problems with search engines have largely fallen under the public radar, writes FuJo’s Dr Eileen Culloty.

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MIT Technology Review

Protest propaganda is riding on the success of pandemic hoaxes

Meanwhile, on the digital streets, a battle over the narrative of protest is playing out in separate worlds, where truth and disinformation run parallel.

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The Atlantic

Is OAN the Leading Edge of Russian Misinformation?

The Biden campaign says Trump’s favorite TV network is peddling the Kremlin’s lies.

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Mail & Guardian

Meet the ‘Corona Guy’ fighting Covid-19 disinformation in Kenya’s refugee camp

Every weekday morning, from 10 to 11am, Abdullahi Mire hosts a radio show for the residents of Dadaab. His studio is inside a converted shipping container, once used by the United Nations to deliver supplies to this sprawling network of three refugee camps in northeastern Kenya.

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Editor’s Note:

Places such as refugee settlements are particularly vulnerable to diseases, including COVID. Here the Mail & Guardian looks at the story of Abdullahi Mire, who is on the radio station of a settlement in Kenya and is trying to make sure people get good information to protect themselves.

New York Times

A Conspiracy Made in America May Have Been Spread by Russia

The Americans who pushed a conspiracy theory the night of the Iowa caucuses have migrated to coronavirus conspiracies on Twitter, with help from a very Russia-friendly account.

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Reporters Sans Frontieres

Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has compiled a list of 30 coronavirus “information heroes” – 30 journalists, whistleblowers and media outlets whose courage, perseverance or capacity to innovate has helped to circulate reliable and vital information during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Columbia University

Scientists introduce rating system to assess quality of evidence for policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for robust scientific evidence to support policy decisions, such as around the effectiveness of various social distancing measures and the safety of drug therapies. Yet this need arises at a time of growing misinformation and poorly vetted facts repeated by influential sources. To address this gap, a group of scientists led by Kai Ruggeri, a professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and James Green, chief scientist at NASA, has introduced a new framework to help set standards for the quality of evidence used in policymaking.

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Editor’s Note:

Misinformation is something that impacts not just journalism and social media, but the policy that comes out of discussions. Here is a piece from the Mailman School of Public Health about assessing quality, something Deepnews.ai is always interested in.

Nikkei Asian Review

Conspiracy theories help coronavirus take root in Pakistan

KARACHI — The novel coronavirus is spreading faster in Pakistan than almost anywhere else in the world, yet most people do not take the pandemic seriously due to misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the virus.

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