Fake news turns politics upside down from here to Slovakia [The Interface]

Revue
 
I've thought more about Slovakia in the past week than I have in the past 10 years. For one thing, it
 

The Interface

October 25 · Issue #13 · View online
An evening newsletter about Facebook, social networks, and democracy.

I’ve thought more about Slovakia in the past week than I have in the past 10 years. For one thing, it’s among the six countries that are part of Facebook’s news-free News Feed test, which has occupied most of our attention this week here at The Interface. And for another, it’s one more country where the spread of fake news has empowered fringe ideologies, in ways that will feel startlingly familiar to many people around the world.
Coda Story, a publication that tracks what it calls the misinformation crisis around the world, has a striking report today about how the far right is amassing power in Slovakia. In short: fear-mongering websites, full of misinformation, spreading stories rapidly through Facebook.
As Cizik has conducted his classes around the country, he says he has been astounded by how many students are willing to believe such stories, many of them coming via Facebook, their main news source. He is worried it’s too late to change their habits as they are already in high school. “We don’t teach our young generation how easily information can be manipulated,” he says.
This online information jungle has provided the perfect opportunity for Kotleba and other extreme figures to gain ground. A 40-year-old former schoolteacher, he first burst onto Slovakia’s political scene more than a decade ago, parading with his followers in black fatigues modeled on uniforms worn by the country’s puppet government militia during its period under Nazi occupation. That government helped send more than 60,000 Slovak Jews to their deaths.
Swap out some of the names and you could be reading about France, or England, or even the United States. Facebook’s fake-news problem is a global one, and even if there’s a tendency to assign it too much blame for worldwide political trends, the story in Slovakia offers reason for worry.
Now consider that Slovakians are starting to see a News Feed with that misinformation quarantined in a separate feed. Does that protect the masses from hoaxes, putting fringe candidates at a disadvantage? Or will they spread faster among the news junkies spending time in that feed? 
The answers are unknowable. The consequences are real. As with so much in 2017, we can do little more than hold our breath and wait. 

Democracy
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Launches
This new Twitter account hunts for bots that push political opinions
Takes
Facebook's Aggressive Moves on Startups Threaten Innovation
Elsewhere
Why Snap Is Putting a Lid on Costs
BuzzFeed is testing a Stories-like module in its mobile app
Dates
Twitter earnings are Thursday
Facebook, Twitter and Google will appear before the Senate Judiciary committee Oct. 31
And they'll be before the Senate Intelligence committee Nov. 1
And finally
‘The Oatmeal’ creator rips Facebook in comic — and Facebook asks if he wants to ‘boost’ the post
Tips
Questions? Comments? Concerns? What should I be for Halloween? The Snapchat hot dog costume is already sold out!!!! casey@theverge.com
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Carefully curated by Casey Newton with Revue.
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