FROM Dan Gillmor
The way forward in a post-truth world Fake news isn't new. It's about as old as news itself. What is new is the speed and potency of fake news in the age of social media, and the way in which it figured in this year's election. From stories about Hillary Clinton selling weapons to ISIS to claims by the President-elect that he won the popular vote… sensational and poisonous stories have spread rapid fire on Facebook and Twitter, helped along by ad sales and algorithms that propel fake news to the top of pack, occasionally with violent results. How damaging is fake news to democracy, and what role do mainstream media outlets as well as technology companies play in defusing it?
Is viral fake news really a threat to democracy? It's hard enough to figure out what's true and what's not from the mainstream news media and the declarations of politicians. Now there's an uproar about "fake news," blamed for ethnic violence in Myanmar — and which might have influenced America's presidential election. Image by C_osett During the presidential campaign millions of online users circulated the story that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump. At least one member of the US Senate tweeted that protesters against Donald Trump had been paid. Neither story was true. And they're classic examples of what mainstream news people call "fake news."
News Media Hacking and the Case for Cybersecurity When the Associated Press falsely tweeted that bombs at the White House had injured President Obama, Wall Street indexes lost billions in value. NPR, the BBC, 60 Minutes and Reuters have also been hacked, and the best advice for Internet users may be don't believe anything the first time you read it. In Washington, the pressure's increasing for cybersecurity laws. Should AT&T and other providers share information with government agencies? Would that pose a risk to personal privacy, if there's any privacy left?
AOL.com Buys Huffington Post It began in 2005 with a $1 million investment and is now one of America's most heavily visited news websites. Is it really worth $300 million to AOL? In addition to paying $300 million in cash, struggling AOL is paying $15 million in stock to acquire the Huffington Post from Arianna Huffington, who will also control all of AOL's editorial content. Dan Gillmor directs the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State. His latest book is Mediactive , about navigating the informational chaos.
California Running Out of Both Money and News In the San Francisco Bay Area, almost all employees at 22 dailies and weeklies have been asked to take buyouts. The same owner has reduced newspaper staffs in the San Gabriel Valley and the South Bay, with the San Fernando Valley’s Daily News said to be next. The Orange County Register says rising costs and reduced advertising mean it will print less news, and the latest Editor of the LA Times says his first job will be to “shrink the newsroom.” The new owner, Sam Zell, seems to be focused on anyone over the age of 53.
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.