News on Targeted Disinformation

By mid-afternoon of Jan. 4, it had become increasingly clear that a slew of far-right actors were gearing up for violence at the Capitol. Tim Pool derided and dismissed the accurate reporting out of hand. Of all the ideological enemies Pool, 35, rails against on YouTube for an audience of millions each day, few stack […]

With less than half the United States population fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and as the delta variant sweeps the nation, the U.S. surgeon general issued an advisory that called misinformation an urgent threat to public health. The advisory said efforts by social media companies to combat misinformation are “too little, too late and still don’t […]

Bill’s final semester at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was already difficult enough. He was part of the final graduating class of survivors of the 2018 shooting, and they all had just marked the third anniversary of the day 17 people were killed, nine of whom were Bill’s classmates. But Bill also […]

The weirdest harassment campaign Ash Parrish ever faced came after she wrote a cheeky, semi-facetious story for Kotaku about why the new Xbox Series X creeped her out. Microsoft’s flagship machine is equipped with an exhaust port consisting of dozens of circular holes. Parrish has trypophobia, which is defined as “an aversion to the sight […]

Ashli Babbit, the woman shot and killed January 6 by Capitol police officers, “did not look particularly radical,” according to Tucker Carlson, who covered the event on his Fox News show the following day. “She bore no resemblance to the angry children we have seen wrecking our cities. Pasty, entitled, nihilists dressed in black, setting […]

In the weeks leading up to Italy’s first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, the most widely shared articles on Facebook from the Italian news website Oltre.Tv were about keeping bacteria out of the house by leaving shoes outside and using garlic and honey to ward off coughs. The website had long been flagged by Italian […]

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Since the 1970s, before there was an internet to spread disinformation, activists in the anti-abortion movement have promoted the falsehood that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer (which abbreviates to the viral slogan “ABC Link”). Anti-choice marketers have promoted this medical misinformation campaign for decades through the use of pamphlets, on social media, and in crisis pregnancy centers. […]

What if automated takedowns of harmful and hateful content do not work? Or at least, not to the extent proposed by social media platforms in response to right-wing extremisms? In the wake of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Facebook promised to remove all content delegitimizing the last election. But recent reporting suggests that Facebook’s past […]

Baseless rumors about new technologies spreading cancerous radiation. Politicians condemning negative stories as “false” or “defamatory.” Deepening polarization amid constant online manipulation. These might sound like recent episodes in U.S. public life. But they in fact come from South Korea, where rumormongering and manipulation of public opinion have become key features of its politics. Although South […]

The Guardian’s new series of articles on fossil fuel companies’ culpability for the climate crisis is entitled “Climate Crimes.” Is this too extreme a title? After all, Exxon and the others were just working within our legal, economic, and political systems to provide a commodity we all use every day. They may have known that […]

Violent videos and misinformation are amplified by YouTube’s algorithm, despite the company’s rules meant to limit their spread, according to a Mozilla Foundation report published July 7. The foundation — a nonprofit that advocates on privacy issues — found 71 percent of all videos that volunteers reported as disturbing were recommended by the video-sharing platform’s algorithm. They included […]

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