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Matter of Facts #30

  • 5G conspiracy origins
  • Young men and myths
  • Working the refs
  • Back on Facebook ads
Published every Wednesday


The Most Extreme 5G Conspiracy Theories: Their Origins and How COVID-19 Made It Worse

It’s a perfect storm of mass public health crisis, geopolitical rivalry, xenophobia, technology, and timing.

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Desmog Blog

How the UK’s Climate Science Deniers Turned Their Attention to COVID-19

On December 31, 2019 many of us were reflecting on the past year and thinking about what opportunities lay ahead. Few were paying close attention to early reports of unexplained cases of pneumonia thousands of miles away in Wuhan, the large capital city of China’s Hubei Province.

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SBS (Australia)

Young men are more likely to believe COVID-19 myths. So how do we actually reach them?

If the media is anything to go by, you’d think people who believe coronavirus myths are white, middle-aged women called Karen.

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How does Facebook fact check claims about COVID-19 vaccines?

Since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus an international health emergency in January, Facebook Inc has removed more than 7 million pieces of content with false claims about the virus that could pose an immediate health risk to people who believe them.

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Social Media Today

New Reports Underline Facebook’s Role in Exacerbating Political Divides – But Will Facebook Take Action?

As part of the ongoing investigation into potential antitrust activity among US tech giants, the CEOs of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple all recently appeared before the US House Judiciary Committee, where they were asked a range of questions relating to varying concerns about how their companies operate.

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The Globe and Mail

Canada’s big banks resume advertising with Facebook after one month boycott

Canada’s major banks have resumed buying ads on Facebook after halting spending in July.

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You Must Not ‘Do Your Own Research’ When It Comes To Science

“Research both sides and make up your own mind.” It’s simple, straightforward, common sense advice. And when it comes to issues like vaccinations, climate change, and the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, it can be dangerous, destructive, and even deadly. The techniques that most of us use to navigate most of our decisions in life — gathering information, evaluating it based on what we know, and choosing a course of action — can lead to spectacular failures when it comes to a scientific matter.

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New York Times

How Trump Allies Work the Refs in Silicon Valley

The new referees in American politics are Facebook, Google and Twitter, and they would be wise to pay attention to lessons the old media tried to learn.

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NBC News

They thought COVID-19 was a hoax, until they fell dangerously ill

Ruben Mata, a fitness trainer in Stanton, California, who has traveled the world as a motivational speaker, was adamant in the early days of the epidemic that the coronavirus was not real. Most of what he had heard about the virus he’d gleaned from his friends at the gym he attended religiously, even as the pandemic raged across the U.S. But just a couple of weeks after the Trump administration declared a national emergency on March 13, Mata, 53, was diagnosed with COVID-19. He subsequently spent five days in a medically induced coma; at one point he was given less than a 40 percent chance of survival. Now he wants others to learn from his missteps.

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The Atlantic

The Facts Just Aren’t Getting Through

The electorate is split into separate information bubbles. But unconventional messengers, appeals to patriotism, and even jokes can reach voters who don’t want to listen.

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