Monday, December 12, 2016

POWER OF LIES - Perpetuation of Fake News

Than you NOT Donald Trump for creating the atmosphere that promoted fake news.

"The ‘thrill of the chase' in perpetuating fake news" PBS NewsHour 12/9/2016


SUMMARY:  This election cycle saw its fair share of so-called “fake news.”  On December 4, an armed man walked into a Washington, DC, pizza joint, claiming he needed to investigate a story he had heard that Hillary Clinton and her former campaign manager were hosting a child sex ring there.  Hari Sreenivasan speaks with The Washington Post's Marc Fisher about how and why this fiction spread as fact.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  This was a week where the problems of so-called fake news, often just a name for an out-and-out lie or unproven claim, were evident once again, and this time led to alarming consequences.

Hari Sreenivasan joins us from our New York studio tonight with a look at the latest concerns in the beginning of a periodic series on the subject.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Viral conspiracy theories masquerading as news spread at incredible speeds throughout the election cycle across social platforms like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and 4chan.  But on December 4 came a very real measure of their impact.

A 28-year-old man from North Carolina man entered Comet Ping Pong pizza in Washington, D.C., armed with an assault rifle, claiming he wanted to — quote — “self-investigate” a fast-spreading theory.

Edgar Maddison Welch, seen here with his arms up, was intrigued by the totally false conspiracy theory that the pizzeria was part of a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton and her former campaign manager.  After aiming at an employee and discharging a weapon, he surrendered to authorities.  Luckily, everyone inside escaped unharmed.

This week, more fallout from what has been dubbed as Pizzagate:  The Trump transition team removed Michael Flynn Jr., the son of the man president-elect Trump wants as his national security adviser, after it became clear that Flynn Jr. was retweeting this and other conspiracies.

Hillary Clinton, herself the target of other lies spread over the Web repeatedly, weighed in during one of her few public appearances since the election.

HILLARY CLINTON, 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee:  It's now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences.  This isn't about politics or partisanship.  Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days, to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Technology companies like Facebook and Google say they are working to tackle the proliferation of fake news.  One way has been to decrease the incentives for advertising that appears on these sites.

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, on Thursday's Today Show,,,,,

SHERYL SANDBERG, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook:  We have taken important steps, but there is a lot more to do.  We know that people don't want to see hoaxes on Facebook and we don't want to see hoaxes on Facebook.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  According to a BuzzFeed News investigation, many fake news sites are built purely for profit, sometimes even created by opportunistic teens in far-off places like Macedonia, regardless of the content, because more clicks lead to more dollars.

What is motivating the rise of fake news, and what tools are tech companies developing to stop its spread?

As part of a series of conversations, I'm joined by Marc Fisher of The Washington Post, who wrote one of the deeper dives into how this baseless story spread so fast and how it almost ended in tragedy.

Marc, this is one of the first stories that I think drew a connection for people that virtual hoaxes have real-world consequences.

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