Misinformation

A group of Italian academics has published a rather serious paper in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” focusing on how “misinformation” spreads online, a subject which I suspect disinfonauts have some experience with.


Allen West, Occupy Democrats and internet predictions from 1994 are part of the focus in this installment of The Rise of Political Clickbait. Both Occupy Democrats and Allen West are just two…




The subheading of this story on “misinformation” from Columbia Journalism Review is “a Truthy story,” in which David Alberti explains how “conservative media’s reaction to an Indiana University project shows how shoddy…



Sarah Gray reports for Salon (via AlterNet) on research about how people on Facebook interacted with “trolls” posting false information; she says the results are depressing: From the steady roll of theories…





Ride With HitlerThere was a ban on propaganda? “Propaganda that was supposed to target foreigners could now be aimed at Americans, reversing a longstanding policy,” writes Michael Hastings at BuzzFeed Politics:

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.

The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns…







ObamaRumordomPhilip Bump writes on Mediaite:

If you have older relatives, and they have email accounts, I’d guess that you’re pretty familiar with Snopes.com. It’s likely that, for the first few months of their sending you urgent messages about free Applebee’s dinners or gang members threatening people’s lives, you dutifully found rebuttals from Snopes to pass on, intending to limit occasion for embarrassment when they send such things to others.

Then you realized that embarrassment is an emotion powerless against the potency of sheer terror. That no matter how often you demonstrated the fraud behind these emails and ones exactly like them with different brands and new murder plots, still the emails kept coming. Perhaps you even flagged these relatives as junk mail.

Snopes is the tireless and passive scold of the Internet, calmly assessing any and all madness regardless of provenance, and ensuring that the truth is told. It stands patiently in a corner of the Internet, a stationary Diogenes called into action primarily in moments of spite.

The offspring of a California couple with a penchant for urban folklore, the site originally focused on the sorts of nonsense mentioned above — rumors about people trying to give you free things or trying to rape you. As a result, that’s traditionally what was most common on the 25 Hottest Urban Legends page.

And then came Barack Obama.