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Category Archives: Social Media

Can fake news really change behaviour? Evidence from a study of COVID-19 misinformation.

Greene, Ciara, and Gillian Murphy. “Can Fake News Really Change Behaviour? Evidence from a Study of COVID-19 Misinformation.” PsyArXiv, 24 July 2020. Web. “Previous research has argued that fake news may have grave consequences for health behaviour, but surprisingly, no empirical data have been provided to support this assumption. This issue takes on new urgency in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. In this large preregistered study (N = 3746) we investigated the effect of exposure to fabricated news stories about COVID-19 on related behavioural intentions. We observed small but measurable effects on some related behavioural intentions but not others – for example, participants who read a story about problems with a forthcoming contact-tracing app reported reduced willingness to download the app. We found no effects of providing a general warning about the dangers of online misinformation on response to the fake stories, regardless of the framing of the warning in positive or negative terms. We conclude with a call for more empirical research on the real-world consequences of fake news.”

Many Americans Get News on YouTube

“Where News Organizations and Independent Producers Thrive Side by Side – Americans are as likely to often turn to independent channels as they are to established news organization channels; videos from independent news producers are more likely to cover subjects negatively, discuss conspiracy theories Most Americans use YouTube, the massive, Google-owned video-sharing website where users… Continue Reading

Instead of optimizing work, technology has created a nonstop barrage of notifications and interactions.

How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole – This story is adapted from Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, by Anne Helen Petersen. “Instead of optimizing work, technology has created a nonstop barrage of notifications and interactions. Six months into a pandemic, it’s worse than ever. I’m equally ashamed and exhausted writing that description… Continue Reading

New emoji approved to help express the anguish of 2020

The Verge – ‘Face with spiral eyes’ is how we are all feeling: “This year has been hard. Wildfire smoke has engulfed the West Coast, hundreds of thousands are dead from an ongoing pandemic, and the US government is deadlocked to the point of illegitimacy, incapable of taking action against the economic, political, ecological, and… Continue Reading

Navigate safely with new COVID data in Google Maps

Google Blog: “More than one billion people turn to Google Maps for essential information about how to get from place to place–especially during the pandemic when safety concerns are top of mind. Features like popular times and live busyness, COVID-19 alerts in transit, and COVID checkpoints in driving navigation were all designed to help you… Continue Reading

Misinformation more likely to use non-specific authority references: Twitter analysis of two COVID-19 myths

Misinformation more likely to use non-specific authority references: Twitter analysis of two COVID-19 myths – “This research examines the content, timing, and spread of COVID-19 misinformation and subsequent debunking efforts for two COVID-19 myths. COVID-19 misinformation tweets included more non-specific authority references (e.g., “Taiwanese experts”, “a doctor friend”), while debunking tweets included more specific and… Continue Reading

The High Privacy Cost of a “Free” Website

The Markup:”…An array of free website-building tools, many offered by ad-tech and ad-funded companies, has led to a dizzying number of trackers loading on users’ browsers, even when they visit sites where privacy would seem paramount, an investigation by The Markup has found. Some load without the website operators’ explicit knowledge—or disclosure to users. Website… Continue Reading

MapLight Launches New Tools to Combat Misinformation Ahead of 2020 Election

“The nonprofit MapLight launched new, free tools today aimed at combating the spread of false and deceptive election-related information ahead of the 2020 election, including a browser plug-in called the Election Deception Tracker as well as a Text-to-Report line for people to report misleading information. The new tools allow anyone to quickly and easily report… Continue Reading

How to guard your social feeds against election misinformation

Vox/Recode: “…Your social feeds are most shaped by who you follow, so following reputable sources of information and news is probably your best bet. Unfollowing known sources of misinformation, even if that includes close friends and family, is probably worth considering as well. If you want to get ahead on fact-checking, you might consider following… Continue Reading

Mail-in voting fraud – It’s nearly impossible

CNET – Election officials and the FBI say it’s almost impossible to pull off fraud via mail-in ballots. Spreading disinformation about voting-by-mail is much easier. “Millions of Americans have voted by mail securely for more than 150 years, with fraud historically being so rare that election officials wouldn’t even consider it significant enough to be… Continue Reading

Political Divides, Conspiracy Theories and Divergent News Sources Heading Into 2020 Election

“As the nation heads toward Election Day in the midst of a persistent pandemic and simmering social unrest, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans’ deep partisan divide, dueling information ecosystems, and divergent responses to conspiracy theories and misinformation are all fueling uncertainty and conflict surrounding the presidential election. While Americans across the… Continue Reading

U.S. Public Now Divided Over Whether To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

“As efforts to develop and test a COVID-19 vaccine spur debate around the timing and release of a federally approved vaccine, the share of Americans who say they would get vaccinated for the coronavirus has declined sharply since earlier this year. About half of U.S. adults (51%) now say they would definitely or probably get… Continue Reading