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[liberationtech] [Air-L] Fake News

kalev leetaru kalev.leetaru5 at
Sat Dec 24 07:17:24 PST 2016

One final set of thoughts on the topic of false and misleading news - it is
important to remember that even the marque brands in journalism
all-too-often run stories without the most cursory of verification:

And that academia itself has a huge and growing problem with verification
and "truth" courtesy of a growing trend to cite without reading and the
expanding issue of predatory publishers:

And that as a whole the fact checkers themselves are less than transparent
about their inner workings, with one (Snopes) refusing even to provide even
the most basic of insight into its screening and reliability processes:

There is also the question about the right to expression online - once
Facebook begins flagging news as false, it will have a database of who is
consuming and attempting to share that content. Could it flag such users as
"gullible" and sell them as a special category to advertisers, or perhaps
even ban them entirely from its platform?:

There is also the issue of how to handle controversial topics like police
shootings - what does one do in a case like Laquan McDonald, in which the
official police report concluded something very different from what
witnesses observed? Would Facebook flag or even block all of the
conversation about the shooting that differed from what police claimed?

Putting this all together, it does raise the critical question of whether
it really is the right approach to declare a small group of elites to act
as the ultimate arbitrators of "truth" for 1.7 billion people around the


On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 8:28 AM, kalev leetaru <kalev.leetaru5 at>

> The concept of "fake news" is very complex, ranging from satirical to
> misleading to malicious content and, when looking globally, covers not just
> social media, but SMS and FTF communication. Much like humor, where one
> person's hilarious joke might be deeply offensive to another, a good
> portion of "fake news" revolves around how societies and peoples with
> different backgrounds interpret and construct meaning from a shared set of
> information. Paul Linebarger's 1948 book "Psychological Warfare" is a
> powerful read into the roots and methodology of inorganic constructionism
> of the kind that underlies much of the hundred shades of gray that we today
> frequently label as "fake news." This is also why purely technological
> solutions will always struggle with this complex middle ground that
> constitutes a large portion of "fake news." Instead, "information literacy"
> coupled with technological assistance offer perhaps the most robust path
> forward.
> You can see more in my latest pieces:
> stopping-fake-news-is-so-hard/
> inverted-pyramid-and-how-fake-news-weaponized-modern-
> journalistic-practice/
> global-perspective-on-fake-news/
> data-and-information-literacy-could-end-fake-news/
> Kalev
> http:/
> On Friday, December 9, 2016, Yosem Companys <companys at> wrote:
>> > Anyone know of any academic studies showing that fake (social media)
>> news
>> > influenced the 2016 presidential election outcome?
>> >
>> > Thanks,
>> > Yosem
>> > _______________________________________________
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