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Category Archives: Social Media

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

“The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University today released a comprehensive analysis of online media and social media coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. The report, “Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” documents how highly partisan right-wing sources helped shape mainstream press coverage and seize the public’s attention in the 18-month period leading up to the election.

“In this study, we document polarization in the media ecosystem that is distinctly asymmetric. Whereas the left half of our spectrum is filled with many media sources from center to left, the right half of the spectrum has a substantial gap between center and right. The core of attention from the center-right to the left is large mainstream media organizations of the center-left. The right-wing media sphere skews to the far right and is dominated by highly partisan news organizations,” co-author and principal investigator Yochai Benkler stated. In addition to Benkler, the report was authored by Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, Bruce Etling, Nikki Bourassa, and Ethan Zuckerman.

The fact that media coverage has become more polarized in general is not new, but the extent to which right-wing sites have become partisan is striking, the report says.  The study found that on the conservative side, more attention was paid to pro-Trump, highly partisan media outlets. On the liberal side, by contrast, the center of gravity was made up largely of long-standing media organizations. Robert Faris, the Berkman Klein Center’s research director, noted, “Consistent with concerns over echo chambers and filter bubbles, social media users on the left and the right rarely share material from outside their respective spheres, except where they find coverage that is favorable to their choice of candidate. A key difference between the right and left is that Trump supporters found substantial coverage favorable to their side in left and center-left media, particularly coverage critical of Clinton. In contrast, the messaging from right-wing media was consistently pro-Trump.” Conservative opposition to Trump was strongest in the center-right, the portion of the political spectrum that wielded the least influence in media coverage of the election.  In this recently-emerged universe, Breitbart stands at the center of a right-wing media ecosystem and is surrounded by sites like Fox News, the Daily Caller, the Gateway Pundit, the Washington Examiner, Infowars, Conservative Treehouse, and Truthfeed, according to the report’s analysis.”

The Fate of Online Trust in the Next Decade

Pew report – The Fate of Online Trust in the Next Decade: “Many experts say lack of trust will not be a barrier to increased public reliance on the internet. Those who are hopeful that trust will grow expect technical and regulatory change will combat users’ concerns about security and privacy. Those who have doubts… Continue Reading

Buzzfeed News Analysis – Inside The Partisan Fight For Your News Feed

How ideologues, opportunists, growth hackers, and internet marketers built a massive new universe of partisan news on the web and on Facebook. “The most comprehensive study to date of the growing universe of partisan websites and Facebook pages about US politics reveals that in 2016 alone at least 187 new websites launched, and that the… Continue Reading

Survey – more than 3 billions users of social media and growing

TheNextWeb: “The latest Global Digital Statshot from We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that the number of people using social media around the world has just passed the momentous three billion mark..” Global Digital Statshot Q3 2017 Continue Reading

Are you being sarcastic in your Tweets – new algorithm can discern your intent

“We use millions of texts on Twitter containing emojis for training a deep learning model that understands many nuances of how language is used to express emotions. For instance, it does well at capturing sarcasm and slang. We beat state-of-the-art algorithms across many benchmarks datasets. See our paper, blog post or FAQ for more details.… Continue Reading

Introducing a new way to share YouTube videos

YouTube Blog: “…Starting today, you can share videos with your friends and family directly on YouTube. Not only can you share and receive videos in the app, you can also chat about them right on YouTube, reply with another video, invite others to the conversation, and more. We think it’ll make sharing easier, faster and… Continue Reading

Alliance for Securing Democracy – Hamilton 68: A New Tool to Track Russian Disinformation on Twitter

“The Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative housed at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), will develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions. The Alliance will work to publicly document and expose Vladimir… Continue Reading

EPIC Files FTC Complaint to Stop Google from Tracking In-Store Purchases

“EPIC has filed a complaint with the FTC asking the Commission to investigate Google’s tracking of in-store purchases. According to EPIC, Google collects billions of credit and debit card transactions and then links that personal data to the activities of Internet users. Google claims that it protects online privacy but refuses to reveal details of… Continue Reading

Facebook rules as undisputed social media leader

Statista: “When people think of Facebook as a company, they mostly think of it synonymously with Facebook the social network. However, Facebook Inc. is much more than that, as today’s chart nicely illustrates. With WhatsApp, Instagram and of course the namesake Facebook and Messenger, the company owns four of the world’s largest social media / messaging… Continue Reading

Paper – The spread of fake news by social bots

The spread of fake news by social bots, Chengcheng Shao, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Onur Varol, Alessandro Flammini, and Filippo Menczer. Indiana University, Bloomington. July 24, 2017. “The massive spread of fake news has been identified as a major global risk and has been alleged to influence elections and threaten democracies. Communication, cognitive, social, and computer… Continue Reading

Sunlight Foundation – On Trump, transparency and democracy

“In this report, we offer a comprehensive but not exhaustive accounting of the Trump administration’s record on open government to date…In the following report, organized into sections we consider the record to date, in context. Six months from now, we will compare and contrast the Trump administration’s progress — or further regression — with the… Continue Reading

Pew – What do you know about current events?

“Test your knowledge of prominent people and major events by taking our short 10-question quiz. When you finish, you will be able to compare your News IQ with the average American and compare responses across demographic groups.” Continue Reading