#26
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Matter of Facts #26

  • Invasion in Oregon?
  • Data in Mexico
  • Our sharing itch
  • Ireland and accountability
Published every Wednesday

The Times (UK) ($)

Ministers sit idly while anti-vax poison is spread

Rampant misinformation on social media could yet be the fatal flaw that undermines a coronavirus vaccine. Polling by YouGov for the Center for Countering Digital Hate shows that 31 per cent of Brits would be hesitant about having a Covid-19 vaccination. Those who rely more on social media for their information about the virus are more hesitant.

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The Markup

The anatomy of a fake news headline

As confrontations between Black Lives Matter protesters and police erupted across the country earlier this month, some Oregonians, mostly older people, saw a Facebook ad pushing a headline about how a Republican politician “Wants Martial Law To Control The Obama-Soros Antifa Supersoldiers.”

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Editor’s Note:

The way you get news now is often guided by algorithm, either Deepnews or something else. Here The Markup looks into how things went wrong in Oregon.

LA Times

Column: Facebook has failed to control hate speech. Will advertiser demands change anything?

Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, was not all that optimistic in advance of the online meeting that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg had set up with him and the heads of other civil rights groups last Tuesday.

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Financial Times ($)

Spread of fake news adds to Brazil’s pandemic crisis

As the coronavirus spread through Brazil this year, ominous stories began filtering out through social media, often via federal lawmakers with hundreds of thousands of followers.

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Columbia Journalism Review

Mexico journalists hit a COVID-19 data wall

Hugo Lopez-Gatell during the Mexican Health Ministry’s daily COVID-19 press briefing. Carlos Mejia/El Universal via AP Images

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MIT

Our itch to share helps spread Covid-19 misinformation

To stay current about the Covid-19 pandemic, people need to process health information when they read the news. Inevitably, that means people will be exposed to health misinformation, too, in the form of false content, often found online, about the illness. Now a study co-authored by MIT scholars contains bad news and good news about Covid-19 misinformation — and a new insight that may help reduce the problem.

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Editor’s Note:

One of the ways fake news spreads is of course through sharing. Here researchers at MIT looked into the link between sharing and accuracy

The Markup

Unlike other tech giants, Amazon won’t say how many workers review posts

A timer started the moment he logged in at his desk. He’d scan a post of a product flagged by someone as counterfeit, search for facts, and decide if the item should be pulled from Amazon’s marketplace. He said he gave the entire investigation about three minutes — and then the timer reset.

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The Globe and Mail ($)

Opinion: There’s a vaccine on the way: Let the persuasion begin

On a May afternoon in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam, I passed a small demonstration protesting the German government’s anti-coronavirus measures. The far-left and far-right have made weird bedfellows at these things, and sprinkled among them was a collection of anti-vaccine protesters. At first, this seemed surprising: Germans generally have high levels of trust in their government and in public health advice.

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The Conversation

Biases in algorithms hurt those looking for information on health

Extracting thousands of videos purporting to be about diabetes, I verified whether the information shown conforms to valid medical guidelines.

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The Journal (Ireland)

Opinion: Ireland is in prime position to hold social networks to account – and we must

Last week I wrote to the Justice Minister, Helen McEntee, urging her to set up a committee to consider the regulation of Facebook, Twitter and other online corporations that have their European Headquarters based in Dublin.

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Editor’s Note:

Discussions about content moderation and social media are taking place around the world, though Ireland has a particular angle on the matter given that many networks have bases there. Here lawyer Paul Tweed presents his thoughts.