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Big Revolution - Winning the info-war

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Welcome to Friday's Big Revolution. Here's what I've been reading and thinking about over the past 24
 
July 13 · Issue #138 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution. Here’s what I’ve been reading and thinking about over the past 24 hours…
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- Apple has launched new MacBook Pros with minor new features like ‘True Tone’ displays and quieter keys. Are the keys less likely to get stuck and require repair? Apple hasn’t said (which is wise – think about the lawsuits it faces over the keys on recent models), but it would make sense if they’ve quietly become more reliable.
- Twitter’s cull of suspicious followers is underway. The follower counts of some big accounts have dropped by millions. Personally, mine has reduced by 300.
- Russia set up at least 48 local news Twitter accounts across America in the years preceding the 2016 election, NPR reports. The accounts posted real local news, presumably with the aim to build credibility and trust to exploit at a later date.
- The woman whose encounter with a man on a plane was recently shared in minute detail on social media has broken her silence. She’s not happy. “#PlaneBae is not a romance – it is a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent.”
- Gawker.com and its archives have been bought by the founder of Bleacher Report. Bryan Goldberg was often criticised in Gawker articles, so you might think he intends to take his own Peter Thiel-style revenge on the archive, but he says he doesn’t have any immediate plans to do anything with his new purchase.
The big thought
Winning the info-war
In the past few months, Facebook has started responding to journalists on Twitter. Understanding that some of the most influential conversations about its platform were happening away from its platform, it decided it needed to get involved.
That was strategy was going well, until yesterday when the @Facebook account caused a stir by defending the fact that it hasn’t banned InfoWars from its platform.
Facebook
@oliverdarcy We see Pages on both the left and the right pumping out what they consider opinion or analysis – but others call fake news. We believe banning these Pages would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech.
7:34 PM - 12 Jul 2018
People were rightfully annoyed by this. Infowars is a site that blatantly lies to its audience for financial and political gain. It said the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, it said Democrats in the US were planning to start a new civil war on Independence Day this year… it’s the very definition of fake news.
Facebook is right that some of what Infowars does is opinion and analysis based fundamentally in truth, but given its propensity for conspiracy theories, it’s indisputably a repeated and regular ‘fake news’ offender.
Actions speak louder than all the contrite TV and billboard ads in the world. If Facebook is genuine about wanting to fight fake news, it needs to bite the bullet and tell sites like Infowars it doesn’t want their advertising dollars.
Or is some fake news less of a problem than others? Is Facebook scared of the backlash if it were to ban an, er, enthusiastically followed site like Infowars? Are internal politics at Facebook stopping it making a decision that almost any bystander would see as common sense? Something needs to change.
One big read
The conventional wisdom about not feeding trolls makes online abuse worse The conventional wisdom about not feeding trolls makes online abuse worse
Sometimes just ignoring trolls makes the problem a lot worse. I do think if you’re an individual and suffer mild trolling, you’re best just ignoring them so they don’t get the idea you’re bothered by them. But when managing an online community, letting trolls thrive is a recipe for disaster.
One big tweet
BBC tech reporter Dave Lee trolls the trolls, although someone out there probably believes this is how you get a job at the BBC.
Dave Lee 🦁🦁🦁
My jobs before journalism:
- George Soros' gardener
- Assistant to the regional manager, Deep State
- Paid internship, Illuminati (head office)
8:36 PM - 12 Jul 2018
That’s all for today...
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