#28
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Matter of Facts #28

  • Amazon “antiviral” products
  • Exposure to social metrics
  • Sports site and COVID claims
  • PAC’s behind viral video
Published every Wednesday

The Daily Beast

Trump’s New COVID Doctor Says Sex With Demons Makes You Sick

The president is pushing the coronavirus theories of a Houston doctor who also says sexual visitations by demons and alien DNA are at the root of Americans’ common health concerns.

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NPR

On Amazon, Dubious ‘Antiviral’ Supplements Proliferate Amid Pandemic

Amazon has called safety a “top priority” for the company. But NPR has found more than 100 dietary supplements sold on Amazon that appear to be illegally marketed as antiviral treatments.

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Editor’s Note:

While many think of misinformation as focused on political gains, though often it has a commercial purpose. Here NPR digs into dozens of products offered on Amazon saying they have “antiviral” properties.

Harvard Misinformation Review

Exposure to social engagement metrics increases vulnerability to misinformation

News feeds in virtually all social media platforms include engagement metrics, such as the number of times each post is liked and shared. We find that exposure to these signals increases the vulnerability of users to low-credibility information in a simulated social media feed. This finding has important implications for the design of social media interactions in the post-truth age. To reduce the spread of misinformation, we call for technology platforms to rethink the display of social engagement metrics. Further research is needed to investigate how engagement metrics can be presented without amplifying the spread of low-credibility information.

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New York Times

Fighting False News in Ukraine, Facebook Fact Checkers Tread a Blurry Line

MOSCOW — To understand the complexity of policing online disinformation, consider the small Ukrainian fact-checking group StopFake.

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Business Insider

Anti-maskers are the new anti-vaxxers

The irony is that by grasping at “freedom” by shunning masks, anti-maskers are delaying the true freedom of pre-pandemic life.

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The Atlantic

A Vaccine Reality Check

Nearly five months into the pandemic, all hopes of extinguishing COVID-19 are riding on a still-hypothetical vaccine. And so a refrain has caught on: We might have to stay home—until we have a vaccine. Close schools—until we have a vaccine. Wear masks—but only until we have a vaccine. During these months of misery, this mantra has offered a small glimmer of hope. Normal life is on the other side, and we just have to wait—until we have a vaccine.

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Editor’s Note:

With every article on positive trial results hope for a vaccine rises, though it will confront issues including misinformation and vaccine hesitancy when it arrives. Here Sarah Zhang digs into things.

The Daily Beast

Inside the Right-Wing Sports Site Pushing COVID Trutherism

Move over, Fox News, there’s a new bullshit-peddler in town — and it’s a sports website created by a Fox Sports personality.

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Poynter

A growing group of journalists has cut back on Twitter, or abandoned it entirely

In late June, The New York Times published an article by Noam Scheiber detailing discomfort staffers at The Ringer feel about managers’ commitment to racial diversity and inclusion. K. Austin Collins, a former Ringer employee, was one of four Black journalists to detail his frustrations for the article, and the only one quoted.

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Editor’s Note:

Part of the world of misinformation is the individual journalists fighting it and where they try to share good info. Here Poynter looks at how some are moving away from Twitter because of problems such as harassment and a focus on the wrong subjects.

NBC News

Dark money and PAC’s coordinated ‘reopen’ push are behind doctors’ viral hydroxychloroquine video

A dozen doctors delivered speeches in front of the U.S. Capitol on Monday to a small crowd, claiming without evidence that the coronavirus could be cured and that widely accepted efforts to slow its spread were unnecessary and dangerous.

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STAT

Anti-Vaccine Misinformation on Facebook Has Gained a Lot of Traction During Pandemic

“COVID-19 misinformation is the equivalent of an ideological dirty bomb: It has the capacity to hurt tens of thousands of people when it detonates in the moment that vaccines are available,” said Imran Ahmed, founder and chief executive officer of the U.K.-based nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, which recently assessed the growing influence of anti-vaccination content on social media platforms including Facebook since the outset of the pandemic.

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