Thanks to social media, it’s never been easier to get people to read and spread fake news. Readers love to share surprising, shocking or worldview-affirming stories, and publishers, eager for more traffic and ad revenue, love to write them — often without confirming first-hand whether those stories are true. Just look at the news today, rewritten and unconfirmed by many major news sites, that a Chinese zoo named a newborn gorilla “Harambe McHarambeface.’”
Yesterday, the Washington Post’s Carlos Lozada tweeted ‘I think we can stop prefacing sentences with “in this new digital age…” and just say “today”‘. This really struck a chord because ‘digital age’ is a phrase I use all too frequently when introducing the work we do at First Draft, and explaining why it is so important. But really I should just say ‘today’.
Facebook and Twitter are among the organizations to join the First Draft Partner Network, which is aimed at improving practices in reporting and sharing online news.
Google News Lab is a founding member of the First Draft Coalition, and its media partners are:
Facebook and Twitter have joined likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and others to improve the quality of information on social media. The group hopes to target fake news and misinformation, although it stops short of saying what steps it would take or how it’d react once it’s found.
Writing on Medium, AI researcher Kate Crawford (previously) and Simply Secure (previously) co-founder Meredith Whittaker make the case for a new scholarly discipline that “measures and assesses the social and economic effects of current AI systems.
Fact-checkers have more ways than ever to shine a light on misinformation, even as social media provides more vectors than ever for falsehoods to spread.