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Category: News (Page 1 of 3)

Fake news fueling crypto-currency pump & dumps

In the wild world of cryptocurrency trading that’s largely untouched by regulation, the spread of fake news and unsubstantiated rumors is becoming common practice among bad actors looking to prey on novices. It’s the perfect environment in which to proliferate misinformation; it’s mercurial, confusing, and full of uneducated, overeager traders hoping to strike it rich.

Buzzfeed, January 2018.


Debunk sources

I’m interested to check out First Draft’s Verification training for journalists. Seems like an interesting org overall. Wanted to also bookmark their page of recommendations they made for the Council of Europe. Number 4 from the section on what media companies can do:

Debunk sources as well as content. News organisations are getting better at fact- checking and debunking rumours and visual content, but they must also learn to track the sources behind a piece of content in real time. When content is being pushed out by bot networks, or loosely organised groups of people with an agenda, news organisations should be identifying this as quickly as possible. This will require journalists to have computer programming expertise.

Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

Direct link to SPJ code.

From Preamble:

Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough.

And later:

– Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.

– Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.

– Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.

– Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

TimeWarner Journalistic Integrity

Direct link to statement.

Partial excerpt:

Editorial Policy

At CNN, integrity and accuracy are of the utmost importance to the brand, and systems are in place to maintain them. For example, stories are thoroughly reviewed by producers and particularly sensitive stories are reviewed further by a team of senior editors, standards and practices specialists, and lawyers before they are broadcast.

German intelligence agency head says companies should tell us what is fact and what is opinion…

I’ve followed with tremendous gusto the efforts by Germany to create a more controlled environment when it comes to social media. In some ways, I think it’s a really amazing, and perhaps worthwhile experiment.

A statement came out of Germany a few days ago though (Nov. 2017), which is being attributed by Reuters to Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency. Reuters paraphrases:

“The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency accused U.S. tech giants like Facebook on Monday of failing to take enough responsibility for content on their sites, undermining democracy by not distinguishing between fact and opinion.”

A direct quote attributed to Maasen appears later:

“These are huge digital companies that only see themselves as conveyors of information and hide behind the legal privileges enjoyed by platforms because they do not want to take over editorial verification of their content.”

I think it’s important to be clear about what’s being asked for here:

Companies should tell us what is true and what is not true. 

While certainly platforms could do more to fight fake news, do we really want to outsource truth to them? Don’t they have enough power already?

I get that this is probably a more culturally-German viewpoint, and that information quality must be one of the top priorities for a society built on information. But this just seems really risky to me

Objective: 70% original text

NBC News, November 2017:

The objective was to have the articles be “70 percent” original text and get them to the top of search engine results, Bespalov said.

EU ramps up anti-propaganda task force

The Guardian, November 2017:

For the first time since the team was set up in 2015, the East Stratcom taskforce will have money from the EU budget, rather than relying on contributions from EU member states or squeezing other budget lines. The unit has been granted €1.1m (£980,000) a year from the EU budget for 2018-20, according to a source familiar with the team’s work.

  • European council president Donald Tusk warns of “cyber-attacks, fake news, hybrid war.”

See also: NATO anti-propaganda efforts.

I found a report on the Communications Security Establishment of Canada’s site: Cyber Threats to Canada’s Democratic Processes. Direct link to PDF – they don’t seem very worried, but I wonder if maybe they should be….

Facebook written testimony before Senate Intelligence Committe

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