Tag Archives | Trolls

How Misinformation Spreads on Facebook

RIAN archive 988824 Facebook social network's pageSarah 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 on what happened to Malaysian Arlines Flight 370, to Sarah Palin’s “death panels” panic, to Donald Trump’s birther theories, misinformation spreads like wildfire in the age of Facebook.

In 2013, professor Walter Quattrociocchi of Northeastern University along with his team studied how more than 1 million Facebook users engaged with political information during the Italian election. During that election a post appeared titled: “Italian Senate voted and accepted (257 in favor and 165 abstentions) a law proposed by Senator Cirenga to provide policy makers with €134 billion Euros to find jobs in the event of electoral defeat.”

The post was from an Italian site that parodies the news. According to  MIT Technology Review it was filled with at least four major inaccuracies: “[T]he senator involved is fictitious, the total number of votes is higher than is possible in Italian politics, the amount of money involved is more than 10% of Italian GDP and the law itself is an invention.”

Despite the blatant falsehoods of this  parody news post, the story went viral — shared over 35,000 times in less than a month.

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How Trolls Ruin Your Ability to Reason

Troll_Face_-_Internet_Meme,_May_2013Next time you want to call someone on the Internet an idiot or child, remember that you’re strengthening their opinion.  Chris Mooney writes at Mother Jones:

In a recent study, a team of researchers from the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and several other institutions employed a survey of 1,183 Americans to get at the negative consequences of vituperative online comments for the public understanding of science. Participants were asked to read a blog post containing a balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology (which is already all around us and supports a $91 billion US industry). The text of the post was the same for all participants, but the tone of the comments varied. Sometimes, they were “civil”—e.g., no name calling or flaming. But sometimes they were more like this: “If you don’t see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these products, you’re an idiot.”

The researchers were trying to find out what effect exposure to such rudeness had on public perceptions of nanotech risks.

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Twitter Troll’s “Oh Sh*t moment” When Boxer He Taunted Shows Up At His Home

My jiu-jitsu instructor often offers this sterling piece of advice: “Leave people alone.” In other words, don’t go looking for trouble. Were I to add anything to this simple maxim, it would be this: “Leave people who can beat the living hell out of you alone, especially.”

Twitter user Jimmyob88, who goes by the name “The Master”,  may have come to the same realization recently after taunting retired footballer and light-welterweight boxer Curtis Woodhouse.  After receiving several insulting Tweets from “The Master”, Woodhouse offered £1,000 to any follower who could provide him with his tormentor’s address.

After receiving the information, Woodhouse paid “The Master” a visit.

From Ireland’s The Independent:

The user jimmyob88 continued to mock the athlete: “what u going to do knock me out like your last opponent ooops”

However when Curtis tweeted the name and address of the user, he suddenly backed down: “chill out pal i was only doing it so you would bite back it was only a bit of harmless fun”

The boxer later tweeted: “just on my way to sheffield to have a little chat with a old friend, get the kettle on @jimmyob88”

A worried jimmyob88 tweeted: “i was only joking about Didnt think you would be bothered thought you would take them as a joke”

“i am sorry its getting abit out of hand i am in the wrong i accept that” he said in another message.

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Tweeter Causes Uproar Over Violent ‘Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian’ Game

Via the Toronto Standard (thanks to Warren Ellis for the tweet):

UPDATE: Stephanie Guthrie received multiple death threats following the publication of this article. Police are now involved and the offending users have been reported to Twitter for account violations.

Women in TO Politics organizer Stephanie Guthrie isn’t known for keeping quiet. When gamer Bendilin Spurr launched the violent and sickening “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian” game, Guthrie took to the Internet: “So I found the Twitter account of that fuck listed as creator of the ‘punch a woman in the face’ game. Should I sic the internet on him?”

The Internet said ‘yes,’ but not without its own share of misogyny. One user called Guthrie “a cunt.” Trolls tried to scare her. She continues to receive death threats.

But Guthrie wouldn’t be deterred. She called out the Sault Star newspaper, which has since picked up the story (kind of), warned potential employers not to hire Spurr, and sparked enough conversation to further increase her ranking as a prominent local tweeter on politics and feminism.

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Silencing The Trolls: Twitter Considers ‘Hate Speech’ Censorship

Here at disinformation we mostly live with our trolls as a part of online life, but Twitter has decided to try to silence them. Via RT:

Is Twitter allowing too much freedom? What helped move revolutions along in the Middle East, has a flip side of cyberbullying and abuse, especially of those in the spotlight. Now Twitter is taking its first step towards censorship.

The news was broken by Twitter’s Dick Costolo who was speaking to the Financial Times. As the FT put it, the site’s chief executive “became visibly emotional” as he described his frustration in tackling the problem of ‘horrifying’ abuse, while maintaining the company’s mantra that ‘tweets must flow’. Anonymous and unpunished, irresponsible twitter-users find the site ideal for expressing all kinds of extremist, racist and sexistopinions. Celebrities are among those most vulnerable, with curses and bullying clogging up their ‘@connect’ section, offending many and disrupting conversations, often turning them into hate-fights.

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