Thursday November 17, 2016

In the age of social media people can make money by creating sensationalized fake stories that people click on. Deliberate fake news is getting worse and is easy to create. We are being programmed to stay on top of the headlines and know what's trending. We want the headlines faster and faster as well as what has gone viral on YouTube. There is a method to the madness as we move closer to the end. For now Fake News is just one more scam that keeps people engaged just like the recent presidential election. Most people ignore these stories. If you think about Fake News has always existed and appealed to some readers.

Fake news websites publish hoaxes and misinformation on the Internet to drive web traffic, primarily from social media sharing. These sites are distinguished from news satire because they do not intend to be humorous, but to mislead and profit from readers believing the stories to be true. U.S. News & World Report warned that fraudulent news often took the form of outright hoaxes and propaganda, while BuzzFeed called the problem an "epidemic of misinformation".

Fraudulent articles grew popular through social media sharing sites during the 2016 presidential election in the United States, and a significant amount of the deceptive pieces were written by teenagers operating out of a small town in the country of Macedonia. After experimenting with fraudulent articles from a liberal perspective about Bernie Sanders, the Macedonian teenagers found their most popular pieces were about Donald Trump. During the 2016 election cycle their fraudulent pieces were shared by high-profile Trump advocates including son and campaign surrogate Eric Trump, top national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, and then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai agreed that fraudulent news sites likely swayed the results of the 2016 U.S. election. President of the United States Barack Obama said in November 2016 that a disregard for facts on social media created a "dust cloud of nonsense". In response to the fraudulent news problem, Google responded on 14 November 2016 by banning such companies from profiting on through its marketing program AdSense. After this decisive action on Google's part, Facebook then followed suit with a similar action a day later. Neither company, however, took any actions to block the pervasiveness of fraudulent news sites in their search engine results pages or web feeds.

After Facebook failed to take action to stop the spread of fraudulent news sites beyond blocking advertising and Mark Zuckerberg stated it was a "crazy idea" that such sites impacted the 2016 U.S. election - Facebook staffers dismayed by these decisions formed their own secret group to directly address the problem themselves. These secret staffers told BuzzFeed: "he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season." Critics of the small response by Facebook to the problem included: The New York Times writer Zeynep Tufekci, MIT Technology Review contributor Jamie Condliffe, and Dartmouth College political scientist Brendan Nyhan. Read more

Facebook's Problem Is More Complicated Than Fake News   Scientific American - November 17, 2016
In the wake of Donald Trump's unexpected victory, many questions have been raised about Facebook's role in the promotion of inaccurate and highly partisan information during the presidential race and whether this fake news influenced the election's outcome.

  How to fix the fake news problem   CNN - November 17, 2016