By Jon Sutz, Editor, SaveTheWest.com
January 5, 2018
The term “fake news” burst into the public lexicon in 2016. But what is fake news?
Who creates it, and why? How can we identify it? And how can we help to stop it?
This special SaveTheWest report was created to begin answering these questions, and set the framework for a constructive, nonpartisan discussion about these issues, so that our public dialogue may become more reality-based, civil, and constructive.
(1) Introduction: What is fake news? And how is it different from false news?
(2) Who creates fake news, and why?
(a) Domestic organizations and individuals
(b) External anti-American governments and organizations
(3) How can you identify fake news?
(4) Slide show: Fake news case studies
(5) How can you help to stop the spread of fake news?
(a) A personal commitment of principles
(b) Employ Socrates’s “Test Of Three”
(6) Articles & reports regarding fake news
Wikipedia has an excellent definition, history and analysis of “fake news” here.
We define “fake news” as:
A written, graphic, audio or video item that is designed to look like genuine news, or a summary thereof (such as a meme), but which instead is based on an allegation or data about an important issue, person or group, that its creator knows or should know is untrue, or grossly decontextualized.
With limited exceptions*, fake news is distinguished by its creators’ knowledge and intent: specifically, they begin the entire process maliciously creating and spreading something that they know is false, for the purpose of misleading, and often inciting hatred in others, often against a political enemy. (*One exception is when the head of a government, or an influential organization, shares an item of fake news into the social media ecosystem, without validating its accuracy, for which he or she then bears full responsibility as a spreader of fake news.)
“A half-truth is a whole lie.”
– Yiddish proverb
Fake news, however, is different from false news, which we define as:
An item that is published by major self-proclaimed “news” organization, because the person(s) responsible for producing it assumed that the source material was correct, but they did not perform the due diligence to confirm it — and which the organization later retracts, or corrects.
A recent example of false news occurred on December 1, 2017, when notorious ABC News “senior investigative journalist” Brian Ross falsely reported that in exchange for a reduced sentence, former Trump adviser Gen. Michael Flynn agreed to testify that while Donald Trump was a presidential candidate, he instructed Flynn to reach out to Russian government operatives. This shock report, suggesting that Trump acted grossly inappropriately and possibly illegally while a candidate, caused the NY Stock Exchange to plunge 350 points within minutes.
In reality, as ABC admitted later in the day, it was only after Trump became president-elect that he instructed Gen. Flynn to conduct this outreach. This is a routine occurrence for incoming administrations to establish contact with foreign governments, during the transition preparation process. Soon after, ABC suspended Ross for four weeks, and announced it would not allow him to do any further reporting on White House issues. (As this was not an isolated incident, but rather the most recent in Ross’s history of spreading false news, many in the journalism industry felt he should have been fired.)
There is no way that anyone could have known, until ABC reported its correction, that Ross’s story was false, until it was identified as such. And therein lies the fundamental difference between fake news, and false news:
- Fake news: Intentionally, maliciously creating something to deceive people
- False news: Negligently publishing incorrect information without fully vetting and verifying it, most often because it comports with one’s assumptions and biases (“confirmation bias”)
The purpose of this report is to help arm busy, well-meaning social media users with knowledge and tips to stop being unwitting accomplices in this spreading of fake news.
A brief history of fake news
Until the advent of social media, fake news distribution was generally limited to tabloids at supermarket checkout aisles, and conspiracy theory publications:
In the last ten years, however, however, anyone with a computer or smartphone can create the most outlandish fake news imaginable, and instantly distribute it worldwide through Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. Fake news typically takes one of three forms, which are deployed either independently or in conjunction with one another:
- Websites: Anyone can create a professionally-designed website, such as those based on a free or low-cost WordPress template, that to the untrained eye often rival those of major news sites — and they can even make considerable money doing so.
- Tweets: With the hoax Twitter post generator Twitterino, one can create create fake Tweets that appear to be written by notable American political figures and celebrities. And who is behind Twitterino? No one knows; it is anonymously registered — in Panama. See the documentation of an incendiary fake Tweet that was created with this site, and which was heavily circulated as accurate, here.
- Memes: Tools such as MemeGenerator and ImgFlip enable anyone to create square graphic items, optimized for readability and easy sharing across social media. And, with basic skills, one can use a simple graphics program to create far more complex memes.
Regardless of its form or the identity of its creator, the purpose of fake news is to deliberately trick people into believing, and ideally sharing falsehoods throughout their social media.
And in an age in which 50% of Americans between ages 18-50 (35% of 18-29 year olds) say social media is their “most helpful type of news source,” and civic knowledge in America is abysmal, even among even our most “educated” citizens, the metastasis of fake news bears chilling implications for our ability to have discussions, and form perceptions, that are based on reality.
“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
― Ayn Rand
There are two answers to this question. The first answer is fairly straightforward. The second answer is more complex, but is vital for Americans’ understanding of what is happening to us, who is doing it, and why:
(2a) Domestic organizations and individuals
(1) News entities
(2) Politicians and political organizations
(3) Independent/anonymous domestic subversives
(4) Clickbait & pfishing fraudsters
(2b) External governments and organizations
(1) Anti-American governments
(2) Anti-American subversive organizations
Many people have now taken to calling the mainstream American news media — broadcast and cable TV, print and online news organizations — “fake news.” In most cases, however, what they are actually objecting to is not fake news, but the typical news organization’s political bias, which heavily influences what they report on, and how — in contrast to their public claims that they are completely nonpartisan. This perception of bias is not unfounded:
- 97% of monetary donations from mainstream journalists go to left-wing political candidates and organizations, which present clear conflicts of interests
- Only 7% of journalists identify as Republicans
This extremely lopsided political orientation among journalists cannot help but be a major motivation in why so many are engaging, perhaps even without fully realizing it, in the very behavior (whether biased reporting, or worse) that is driving such distrust among the American people.
Further, as this short video by legendary investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows, journalistic bias is now becoming more mainstreamed, and is paving the way for once-trusted news institutions to engage in both fake news, and what she terms “transactional journalism.”
The American people’s sense that they are being betrayed by our dominant news organizations was revealed in numerous recent surveys:
- Americans’ trust in news organizations has reached an all-time low point.
- Journalists, particularly TV journalists, are among the least-trusted occupations in America.
- Nearly two-thirds of Americans, from across the political spectrum, believe the mainstream media publishes fake news.
Some recent examples of both fake and false news from America’s major news organizations:
Viral Fake News Screenshot Montage, by Robert Kraychik, Daily Wire, June 15, 2017.
2017: The Year in Facts and Falsehoods, by James D. Agresti, Just Facts, December 28, 2017.
Most claims about Trump’s visa Executive Order are false or misleading, by William A. Jacobson, Legal Insurrection, January 28, 2017.
Regarding fake news, specifically, here are several examples that were perpetrated by two of the world’s most influential news organizations, on December 30, 2017 and January 1, 2018, which are fully documented in our Case Studies page:
- Case Study 32: “Iranians hold pro-government rallies… a witness said” (CNN)
On December 30, 2017, after ignoring the anti-government protests in Iran for the previous three days, CNN published a “news” story that claimed, according to what it acknowledged was a single “witness,” that Iranians were holding “pro-government rallies.” (This fake news follows CNN completely ignoring the fact that two weeks earlier, Politico published a bombshell report alleging that President Obama impeded investigations into, and prosecutions of Hezbollah drug smuggling into the U.S., so that his administration could keep the nuclear weapons “deal” with Iran, Hezbollah’s primary sponsor, on track.) See the full documentation here.
- Case Study 33: (Sinister-looking) Israeli transportation minister whispers to (sinister-looking) Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu: “’10 dead’ as protests continue in Iran” (published by Reuters)
Reuters has long been a well-documented inciter of anti-Semitic hatred, and pro-Islamist propaganda. On January 1, 2018 Reuters published a story that accurately reported that ten Iranian citizens were killed as protests continued in Iran — but matched that headline with a picture of a sinister-looking Israeli cabinet minister, whispering something to an angry-looking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not only did Israel have nothing to do with these protests, Reuters’ actions in constructing this fake news headline helped to advance the false claim that Israel was actually behind the protests. (Note: After a firestorm of criticism, Reuters — which has become notorious for spreading pro-Islamist, anti-Semitic propaganda — later removed the Tweet, acknowledged it had done so, and why.) See the full documentation here.
Political organizations’ use of fake news stretches back to the earliest experiments in electoral politics, and have been part of political information ecosystems in both free and unfree countries ever since.
Their motivations are purely self-serving: to score momentary political points against their opponents’ beliefs, policies, candidates and records, by spreading lies or egregiously distorted information (also known as “disinformation”).
All major political parties in America have been guilty of spreading fake news at one point or another — and in most instances, they are called out by other parties, or our news media. We document one such recent incident in Case Study 1 on our Case Studies page, in which President Trump shared a Tweet by a notorious British activist group, that falsely alleged a Muslim migrant beat up a crippled Dutch boy, in Holland — when in reality, the perpetrator was neither a Muslim nor an immigrant. The Tweet caused a firestorm of criticism on both sides of the Atlantic.
Another fake news incident, from 2012, stands out because it was allowed to stand, uncorrected, by any major organization that the American people are exposed to on a regular basis. On August 22, 2012, when Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager, was a guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. She was asked how she would convince an out-of-work American why he should support re-electing Obama. Cutter responded by claiming the following:
“Over the past, you know, 27 months, we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs. That’s more jobs than in the Bush recovery, (or) in the Reagan recovery.”
One need not be an economic historian to know how egregiously false this statement was; sources from Politifact to the American Enterprise Institute to NewsBusters pointed out that contrary to Cutter’s assertion, nearly four times as many jobs were created post-recession during President Reagan’s first term, than under the same period in Obama’s first term:
Yet neither Cutter, nor the Obama campaign, nor MSNBC ever issued a correction to her statement. Notably, neither the GOP nor the Romney campaign ever called it out or corrected it, either. As such, they all were complicit in the mass propagation of this fake news, about a fact that is well-known among those who are fluent in American civics — and which probably helped to get President Obama re-elected.
See more at:
Those on U.S. soil who are unwilling to engage in the hard work of advocating for one’s subversive ideas and ideals, based on facts and civil discussion, often resort to creating and spreading fake news (and narratives) about their political enemies. Examples contained in our Case Studies include (click on links to left to see the full documentation):
Case Study 3: A meme and Facebook post that claim Democrats perpetrate almost all mass shootings (published by Ted Nugent and other right-wingers)
Case Study 14: A fake quote attributed to Trump, presumably published by leftists, claiming he said: “If I were to run (for president), I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.”
Case Study 16: A “news” story published by the far-right Breitbart, which falsely claimed that the suspect in the Sonoma County (“wine country”) wildfires was an illegal alien, but this claim was rapidly debunked by local law enforcement authorities, and even news media in England. (This story, however, was picked up by a fake “news” site — anonymously registered, in Kosovo — which modified it to claim that ICE had “confirmed” the perpetrator of the wildfires was a repeatedly-deported illegal alien. Between the two versions of this “story,” it was shared nearly 200,000 times on Facebook alone.)
Case Study 27: A fake quote, falsely attributed to Jodie Foster by a far-left organization, Occupy Democrats, that claimed she said: “Attacking the rich is not envy, it’s self-defense.”
Motivations: The presumed motivation of these subversives is to sow political hatred against their political opponents, no matter the cost — even if the items they produce are based on bombastic lies and half-truths, which can be easily disproven. They are apparently assuming — in many cases, accurately — that social media users who see such items will not do even the minimal research necessary to discover the fact that they are fake, before they hit the “share” button, because these fake items cater to their confirmation bias.
Clickbait: “Something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.” (Merriam-Webster)
Pfishing: “Phishing is when a scammer uses fraudulent emails or texts, or copycat websites to get you to share valuable personal information – such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. Scammers use your information to steal your money or your identity or both.” (FTC)
Loosely termed, these are scammers. Their motivation is mostly to generate money, often by dangling shock headlines on social media, which lead to a websites that are usually loaded with:
- Ads that most people have never seen (usually from an ad-serving bureau, such as Google Ads, Taboola, RevContent, and similar)
- Surveys that, while seeming benevolent, are actually obtaining user data that is then sold to “data warehouses”
One example we include in our case studies is what appears to be a means of obtaining a “free $100 coupon” to one of America’s largest grocery chains, but which is actually a clickbait-pfishing scam, hosted in Singapore:
Case Study 34: “Kroger is providing a free $100 coupon to everyone!”
See more at:
Americans have heard many allegations recently about fake news that Russia spread in the lead-up to our 2016 elections, and how the socialist nation ruled by Vladmir Putin interfered in our civic processes. Although investigations are ongoing, here are some reports that provide credible indications of the nature and extent of Russia’s activities in these regards:
Russia hired 1,000 people to create anti-Clinton ‘fake news’ in key US states during election, Trump-Russia hearings leader reveals; Senate Intelligence Committee’s Mark Warner claims the Kremlin targeted pivotal swing states, by Rachel Roberts, The Independent (UK), March 30, 2017.
Here’s what fake Russian Facebook posts during the election looked like, by Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, October 6, 2017.
Fact: Obama interfered in the 2015 Israeli election
Russia is not alone in its efforts to meddle in other nations’ elections. Throughout his tenure, President Obama treated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a villain, and insulted him in ways that he never did to the most repressive world dictators, such as Mahmoud Abbas, Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro. Beginning in 2014, however, the Obama administration used U.S. taxpayer money to support efforts to oust Netanyahu in the 2015 election. One of these efforts was led by a top consultant to then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. The allegation was initially dismissed by the Obama White House and top Democrats as “fake news” — but was later proven to be true by a bipartisan Senate investigating committee.
To really begin to understand the depth and variety of Russia’s (and other external actors’) efforts against America’s civic processes, a brief history lesson is required.
For as long as there have been human tribes, and later nations, campaigns utilizing fake news and other forms of propaganda were created to undermine, or even justify war against, a group’s rival(s). The most expansive and successful such campaign of this type in history was employed against America between 1946-1991, by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a network of totalitarian communist nations, run out of what is now Russia.
Unlike America, with our open immigration policy, and freedom of speech and the press, and borders that function only to keep unauthorized people out, the USSR was the mirror-opposite: its borders were tightly sealed, it allowed no free speech or press, and it constructed borders to keep its people inside, enslaved, and unauthorized outsiders out. Thus, the only information that people within the USSR had access to during its “cold war” with the West, was that which its unelected government created, or authorized. For deep insight into the Cold War, by those who lived it, see the superb 24-part video documentary series, “Cold War,” by CNN.
While America could not infiltrate the public dialogue within the USSR, the KGB — the communists’ version of our CIA — set up elaborate networks of operatives in North America and Western Europe, to wage what it termed “cultural warfare” against us. Specifically, they targeted three primary institutions: our news organizations, our schools, and our entertainment industry.
Long-dismissed by many USSR-supporting Western intellectuals as conspiracy theories, this was all confirmed by one of the KGB’s top propaganda masters, Yuri Bezmenov, who finally had enough of the lies and oppression, and defected to the West in 1970. Over the next fourteen years, Bezmenov tried to warn America what he and his comrades had done to us, for what he described as their “cultural subversion” efforts, which were designed to accomplish the following objectives:
- To pit various interest groups of Americans against each other, based on lies — specifically in regards to racial, economic and ethnic issues
- To undermine our ability to have civil, fact-based discussions about the most vital issues of our time
- To cause general cynicism
- To eat away at our trust in our major governmental, civic and business institutions
Bezmenov explained that although KGB operatives anticipated meeting with resistance, they were “welcomed with open arms” in the American institutions they targeted for infiltration.
In 1984, Bezmenov gave an expansive video interview about what he and his comrades had done to America, and that in order to undo it, if we started at that moment:
“You’ll need 15 or 20 years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common-sense people.”
Here is a 7-minute excerpt from Bezmenov’s momentous interview (see the full video here):
Russia is certainly not alone in interfering in America’s culture and civic life. Its socialist allies in China, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea have all engaged in “cultural subversion” activities against us, as well. They often do this via collusion with certain domestic radical leftist, Marxism-supporting subversive organizations.
There are innumerable organizations that exist outside of U.S. borders that, thanks largely to the Internet, are engaged in 24-7 efforts to wage their own “cultural subversion” campaigns against America. And, thanks to the ability to mask one’s identity behind anonymous website domain registrations, there is no way to conclusively determine who is behind which efforts.
That said, this report contains several highly-documented examples of such efforts, on our Case Studies page, which bear all the trademarks of what Bezmenov described:
- Case Study 19: “U.S. Government Just Declared WAR On Native Americans, State Gives Cops the Green Light To Shoot DAPL Protesters On Sight”
Just one tiny problem — this is a completely fake “news” story, made up and published by an anonymous subversive, registered in Grand Cayman. Why would any entity outside of the U.S. have an interest in publishing incendiary propaganda against the American government and police officers — if not to pit us against each other, and law enforcement authorities, based on lies? This fake “news” story was shared more than 160,000 times on Facebook alone, and a Google search of the headline copy returns 13,000 results. See the full documentation here.
- Case Study 16: “ICE confirms that deadly CA fires were set by illegal alien arrested & released 5 times by sanctuary city cops, ignoring ICE detainer requests each time”
As noted earlier, this is a completely fake “news” story, published by an anonymously-registered website — in Kosovo (Eastern Europe). It was based on a “news” story first published by the far-right Breitbart, which was quickly debunked by various sources. Between this version and the Breitbart version, the “story” was shared nearly 200,000 times on Facebook alone. See the full documentation here.
As described in Section 1, there is a critical difference between fake news and false news. No one can identify false news until it’s discovered for what it is. There are, however, five steps you can take to identify fake news:
(1) Know what to look for
(2) Learn from responsible journalists, journalism professors and librarians how to identify fake news
(3) Identify who published or produced it: Not the person(s) who shared it, or emailed it to you, but rather, who created the content (the “source”).
(4) Check to see if the item has been debunked, or if the source is included on any lists of documented fake news producers
(5) Educate yourself about the fake news phenomenon
This graphic is by no means definitive, but it provides a good starting point with which to detect fake news:
- How to Spot Fake News, by Eugene Kiely and Lori Robertson, FactCheck.org, November 18, 2016.
- “FAKE” NEWS VERSUS “WRONG” NEWS: A nonideological approach to smarter readership, by Charles J. Glasser, Jr., Esq.
- “How to Spot Fake News” by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
- Fake news is a test for citizens. Here’s how to pass it, by Bruce Bartlett, USA Today, October 24, 2017.
- How to spot lies, ‘fake news’ and propaganda, by Barbara Ortutay, Associated Press, December 16, 2016.
If it’s not a source you know and trust…
The following is by no means a comprehensive or authoritative list, but we believe it is a good starting point:
- Google the first ten or so words, and see what comes up. If it is just sites that repeat the same allegation, without a link to a credible source, you can be reasonably assured that it is fake news that got spread widely, because no one bothered to check — or they didn’t care if it was fake or not.
- Meme Policeman: Describes itself as “dedicated to combating false and misleading memes that are being circulated around social media.” An initial assessment indicates that it does some solid, nonpartisan work to debunk fake news memes, broken down into menu-driven categories.
- “PolitiFact’s guide to fake news websites and what they peddle” (Note: Overall, this is a terrific list, and even notes where each site’s domain is registered, but it erroneously also includes self-admitted satire and parody sites, including the celebrated People’s Cube)
- FactCheck: “Websites that Post Fake and Satirical Stories” (Note: This is a long, detailed list, but without links, so it is cumbersome)
- Don’t get fooled by these fake news sites, CBSNews.com
- Wikipedia: “List of fake news websites” (Note: Being that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and often contain excellent research, this is merely a good starting point, but is by no means definitive)
See Section 6 for some good introductory articles and reports about fake news.
The following slide show contains excerpts from the 35 case studies contained on our supplemental page:
You can play an important role in stopping the spread of fake news, but it takes a commitment — mostly of basic principles. Specifically:
Here are some personal commitments that you can make, to ensure that you do that which is in your power to help stop the spread of fake news:
(1) That you will not share anything with anyone that you do not know, or have reason to believe is accurate, contextual and verifiable. A person’s reputation and integrity are possessions that are almost entirely under one’s control (except when the former is tarnished by fake news, etc.).
(2) That if any friend or acquaintance of yours shares something with you or others that you know or discover is fake news, that you will muster the courage and diplomacy to advise them of this fact, provide your proof, and suggest that they stop spreading such material. You can appeal to their desire to protect their reputation, or to avoid harming our American family, by not doing things that will help to sow strife and conflict, based on lies.
(3) That you will report fake news to the management of the venue that is hosting it. Facebook and Twitter have now instituted means by which users can alert them to fake news items. If the fake news shows up in your email, and originates from an entire website, you can easily determine the site’s hosting company by doing a “whois” search, then write to its administrators to notify them of what is happening, and ask if this is a violation of their terms of service.
Socrates (470 – 399 BC) was one of Greece’s greatest philosophers. Among his many achievements was a means by which to help stop the spread of fake news that is simple enough for anyone to grasp, and apply, if they are of good character: “The Test Of Three”:
One day an acquaintance of Socrates’s ran up to him excitedly and said, “Do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”
“Test of Three?”
“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student, let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”
“No, to the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test, of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really.”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True, nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?”
The man was defeated and ashamed, and said no more.
Let’s also recall an adage that is attributed to Aristotle, a Greek scholar who followed Socrates, about how one can develop good habits: that rather than being a moment of transition, it is a day by day, minute-by-minute effort, that starts with doing something very consistently:
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Here are some articles that examine the entire fake news phenomenon in detail, who is perpetrating it, why, and how you can protect yourself:
Katie Couric: Fake news is tearing US apart, by Aida Chavez, The Hill, July 21, 2017.
The rise of left-wing, anti-Trump fake news, by BBC, April 15, 2017.
Many Americans Believe Fake News Is Sowing Confusion: 23% say they have shared a made-up news story – either knowingly or not, by Michael Barthel, Amy Mitchell and Jesse Holcomb, Pew Research, December 15, 2016.
We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here’s What We Learned, by Laura Sydell, NPR.org, November 23, 2016.
How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study, by Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, November 21, 2016.
Let’s Take a Look at Some Anti-Trump Fake News; When liberals laugh first and ask questions later, by Mike Pearl, VICE News, December 2 2017.
Rasmussen poll: Americans give Fox News the Fake News Trophy, by Rebecca Savransky, The Hill, November 30, 2017.
‘Fake News’ And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid, by Kalev Leetaru, Forbes, January 1, 2017.
The Fake News Machine: How Propagandists Abuse the Internet and Manipulate the Public, by Lion Gu, Vladimir Kropotov, and Fyodor Yarochkin, TrendLabs.
Buzzfeed’s Trump report takes ‘fake news’ to a new level, by John Podhoretz, NY Post, January 10, 2017.
Facebook promised to tackle fake news. But the evidence shows it’s not working; Following pressure from users, the social network introduced tools to stem the spread of false information. But the rollout has been rocky at best, by Sam Levin in San Francisco, The Guardian (UK), May 16, 2017.
MTV News reporter admits joining Trump protests, by Kyle Olson, The American Mirror, February 21, 2017.
American journalism is collapsing before our eyes, by Michael Goodwin, NY Post, August 21, 2016.
And regarding the use of social media to spread fake news — some interesting people are standing up to the platforms they helped to create:
Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society; ‘No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth,’ by James Vincent, The Verge, December 11, 2017.
Sean Parker on Facebook: ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains’, Parker says he’s become a ‘conscientious objector’ on social media, by Thuy Ong, The Verge, November 9, 2017. Excerpt:
Parker says the social networking site exploits human psychological vulnerabilities through a validation feedback loop that gets people to constantly post to get even more likes and comments. “It’s exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology,” he said.