Monthly Archives: February 2017

We Don’t Talk Anymore – Charlie Puth

Struck a chord with me when it was initially released.
A song I believe a lot of people how can personally relate to.
Maybe not all in a romantic sense– even friendships and family fall out.

we don’t talk anymore, like we used to do

Here’s a live performance where I personally think that Charlie looks like he’s in love with her.
Although, they may not be friends anymore… here‘s some drama you might be interested in.


Here’s a cover of the song from BTS member, Jungkook.
I find he sounds similar to Charlie Puth.

Jungkook did post a sample version of his cover on the official BTS Twitter back on Jan 6, 2017.
Charlie Puth liked and followed BTS after.
Here’s an article by allkpop about the incident.

On Feb 27, 2017, the BTS official youtube pages releases Jungkook’s full cover of the song.
And Charlie Puth retweets the post.
Also, summarized in an article on allkpop.

Share First, Read Later – The Virality of False News in Social Media

Social media has brought upon a new and more convenient way for people to receive their news. People are increasingly relying social networking sites such as Facebook as their primary news source. In light of recent events, the existence of fake news has become more prevalent and news readers, especially on social media, are often being misinformed or confused by the fabricated news stories. Unfortunately, fake news has the tendency to go viral, as the stories are so shocking that people often share it before they have the time to go over the entire article. As people are increasingly becoming more susceptible to false news, we must look at why it exists and who is responsible to identifying false news and preventing the spread of misinformation.

 Social media as a news source

Social media has become a popular source of news for many in the recent years. It has not only allowed for people to keep up with current events on the go, but it has also made room for people to create and share news themselves. According to Anderson and Caumont (2014), half of social network site users have shared news stories, images or videos , and nearly as many (46%) have discussed a news issue or event. In addition to sharing news on social media, a small number are also covering the news themselves, by posting photos or videos of news events” which has been made possible through mobile devices. Halcomb et al. (2013) say that “News consumers on social networking websites are more likely than the general public to use a mobile device for news” as it has become a convenient way for people to remain up to date with news stories. This transition to social media as a primary source of news has resulted in a decreasing amount of people who still receive news from traditional media outlets such as newspapers, TV, or radio – which arguably, are considered more reliable sources of news.

Why the need for false news?

 The growing number of people who are going to social media as their primary source of news have become especially vulnerable to fabricated news stories. The rampant presence of fake news websites and the ability for people to post whatever they want means that not all online news sources are reliable. “Media professionals [have become] less engaged in fact-checking: 51% of British journalists think it is more important to publish the news as soon as possible rather than checking all the facts first” (ING Group, 2015), which means that being the first to provide breaking news has taken priority over being reliable and ensuring that the public is well informed. This issue has risen due to the ever-changing nature of social media, where people are constantly jumping from one news story to another. Therefore, the audiences’ attention is valuable and some journalists have reduced to having to over-dramatize or falsify their news stories in order to grab that attention and hold it for as long as they can.

Olmstead et al. (2011) suggest that ‘‘understanding not only what content users will want to consume but also what content they are likely to pass along may be a key to how stories are put together and even what stories get covered in the first place’’ (as cited in Fletcher et al., 2012, p.817). Unfortunately, people love drama and scandal – but these stories actually happen less often than you might expect. This provokes the need for journalists to fabricate fake news stories in order to please their audience, and some form of false or unreliable content will exist as long as journalists are willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy their readers. Consequently, the responsibility weighs heavily upon people – especially people who are receiving their news through social media – to be able to identify unreliable news sources from a reliable one.

YOU can stop the spread of false news

According to Barthel et al. (2016), “in the month since the presidential election, social networking sites and search engines have taken steps to address the issue. And there have been calls for the government and the public itself to take action as well.” However, news readers cannot solely rely on the authorities to alleviate the situation. They themselves must be aware of where their news stories are coming from and recognize the reliability of different news sources. Barthel et al. (2016) study found that “about half (51%) of U.S. adults say they often see political news online that is at least somewhat inaccurate” and although these stories are not completely false, it would still be best to stop the spread of misinformation as they also found that “about two-in-three U.S. adults (64%) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events.”

So, it is extremely important to be able to take the time to fact check and ensure that the news stories that you are receiving are cited appropriately and coming from reliable sources. Too often see people scrolling through their Facebook feed and seeing a snippet of the latest scandal and clicking the share button before they even click on the link to look further into the story. This careless dissemination of inaccurate news stories can not only spread misinformation to the public, but it can also be potentially damaging to innocent parties who were named in the fabricated article.

Ultimately, false news will always exist as long as there are people out there are willing to do whatever it takes to have a newsworthy story that everyone will want to talk about. Although we hope that authorities will be able to reduce the spread of fake news stories, we must take it upon ourselves to be able to identify fabricated news stories by investigating where the story is coming from and what its sources are. It is also important to make sure that this investigation is done before the story is shared so that the public will not be confused or misinformed by that news article.

 

Works Cited

Anderson, M., & Caumont, A. (2014, September 24). How social media is reshaping news. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/24/how-social-media-is-reshaping-news/

Barthel, M., Mitchell, A., & Holcomb, J. (2016, December 15). Many Americans Believe Fake News Is Sowing Confusion. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from http://www.journalism.org/2016/12/15/many-americans-believe-fake-news-is-sowing-confusion/

Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E. (2016, May 26). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/

Hermida, A., Fletcher, F., Korell, D., & Logan, D. (2012). Share, Like, Comment. Journalism Studies ,13(5), 6th ser., 815-824. Retrieved February 27, 2017.

ING. (2015, October 08). Social media has a growing impact on the news #SMING15. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/Social-media-has-a-growing-impact-on-the-news-SMING15.htm

I Am: Political

Trapped in the Facebook Bubble

Over the past few months there has been a heightened conversation among internet users on the inundation of fake news sites and the harm it causes the education of our people. Wether it is a falsified prediction of U.S. voter turnout or a sensationalized coverage of an entertainment event, these fake news sources skew the way people view the world and misinform populations of people who have been taught to accept information without question. In light of the recent United States Election, the prominence of fake news has come to the forefront. When these fake sources are circulated online, specifically on social media platforms like Facebook, we run the risk of falling into an echo chamber of false information and filtered truths.

As online contributors, it is crucial to be aware of the sources we use and of the content we reference, especially in times of social and political turmoil. Since the new and popularly criticized president of the United States was elected, talk around the digital mistakes we have and continue to make has risen. Before this tumultuous election, terms like “echo chamber”, “filter bubble”, and “fake news” were really only known and popular amongst an intellectual crowd. Since President Trump has set foot in office, however, these terms have infiltrated many internet infrastructures.

In 2011, Eli Pariser went to TED to share his online concerns in a talk titled “Beware online “filter bubbles””. In this talk Eli touched on the lack of control individuals hold in the personalization of their filtered feed of information and how detrimental this is to both the knowledge and awareness of the individual and democracy itself. In describing the way platforms like Facebook and Google personalize content to show us what they think we would like to see rather than what we need to see, he used the analogy of a balanced diet. Pariser stated that in an ideal world we would have an equal balance between enjoyment and pleasure based content and political or crucial content for the health of democracy, or in his words “some information vegetables […] some information dessert.” (5:30-5:35) What happens when online algorithms base the information we see on the information we like, or click on, is we are essentially surrounded by “information junk food.” (5:50-6:00) This metaphor not only emphasizes the toxicity of filter bubbles, but perfectly captures the appearance of fake and sensationalized news.

Disguised as a healthy meal, and coated with a self-satisfying sensation, this information junk food is displayed all over the internet, and its click-bate design makes it nearly impossible to avoid indulging. Our use of computers and the internet for both work and play subconsciously blurs the lines between professional and recreational communication, making fake news harder to spot. (Frank) Author Russell Frank explains in “Caveat Lector: Fake News as Folklore” that he himself has fallen victim to fake news. After reading multiple articles that appeared to be reliable and were written in a journalistic style, he discovered that in fact all of the sources were falsified. (Frank) These nearly indistinguishable fake news stories slip into voters feeds and provide them with exaggerated and misstated information. A reporter from Buzzfeed, Craig Silverman, explained that fake election news was  shared, commented on and reacted to 20% more than real election news in the months leading to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Berghel)

Once these fake news stories enter the realm of voters and citizens internet sphere, the likeliness of them circulating is very high. John Bohannon, writer of “Is Facebook keeping you in a political bubble?”, however, states that although the bubble exists, they do not hold the same weight as some may believe. When hosting a case study with over 10 million Americans from varying political beliefs, researchers found that Facebook’s algorithm made it only 1% less likely for stories to cross over into both conservative and liberal Facebook profiles. (Bohannon) After concluding the study, Bohannon explained that regardless of the likeliness of crossover between political viewpoints, these bubbles are still no matter to be taken lightly.

In his 2012 article “‘Social Voting’ Really Does Rock the Vote” he explained the reality of a Facebook herding bias. In 2012 as an attempt to increase voter turnout, Facebook rolled out a prompt on voting day allowing users to click an “I voted” button while displaying photos of six friends who had already voted. For Facebook users who’s friends had already clicked the “I voted” button, there was a 0.39% increase of likeliness for those users to vote. (Bohannon, “‘Social Voting'”) These Facebook statistics were then compared to state voter results, and the percentage held its truth. Although this case study does not reflect exactly on the topic of fake news, it exemplifies the notion that events that take place online have real world translations and effects.

As an online contributor, I feel it is my responsibility to be careful with the content I post and share. Like many others, I have fallen victim to believing fake news, and have even shared it. As someone who has grown up with the internet and social media, my immediate instinct is to trust the platforms on which I operate. In light of recent events, scandals, and with an increase of education, I have made an active decision to question all sources I come into contact with and to think of those who I may influence. It is easy to think that my sharing a fake news story on Facebook will have little to no impact on the world around me. What is challenging is accepting that what happens online extends into real life, and that the filter bubble we see on Facebook has more control over us than we may believe.

 

Works Cited

Berghel, Hal. “Lies, Damn Lies, and Fake News.” Computer 50.2 (2017): 80-85. Ieee Xplore. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.
Beware Online “filter Bubbles”. Perf. Eli Pariser. TED. N.p., Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
Bohannon, John. “Is Facebook Keeping You in a Political Bubble?” Science (2015): n. pag. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.
Bohannon, John. “‘Social Voting’ Really Does Rock the Vote.” Wired. Conde Nast, 13 Sept. 2012. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.
Frank, R. “Caveat Lector: Fake News as Folklore.” Journal of American Folklore, vol. 128 no. 509, 2015, pp. 315-332. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/589183.

Process Post #5

What I had done:

  • Posted a new story;
  • Tried to change my font but still did not work;
  • Did not receive my peer review #2 yet.

How I felt so far:

  • Since I am working for two part-time jobs and taking courses at the same, the most important thing I found was time management. It was hard to find enough time to reflect on my everyday life and to put my thoughts into words.
  • Regarding my homepage, I found that as I am posting more articles, my homepage became longer and longer. I am trying to figure out a different layout for the homepage.

In the last hour of Internet:

This was the question from our lecture. I always wrote a lot of my thoughts on some of my social platforms where only close friends and strangers could see my posts. It was kind of like an online diary for me to keep track of what I thought and how I felt. This was my way to reflect on myself. If I only have one last hour to access to Internet, I would first try to copy what I have wrote online. Perhaps this was a part of my memory.

I was not afraid of losing contacts because I already had the phone numbers of my most important friends. I was not afraid of losing access to Netflix or Sportify because I believed that once we lose the access to Internet, the traditional lifestyle would come back. We could still have access to music, movie, TV drama, books, etc. I am not worried about this.

Tracking:

Feb 14, 2017 Tue

Feb 18, 2017 Sat

Navigating News on Social Media (PUB 101 Essay #1)

In an increasingly politically divided world, it is pivotal to ensure that one is consuming factual, reputable news through the lens of critical consumption. Digitization has changed the way that audiences find and consume their news, paving way for social media platforms to become sources of news. This essay will argue that social media platforms have become prominent distributors of news, and this benefits democracy by fostering engaging and interactive online discussions regarding these news stories. For the purpose of this essay, social media will be defined as “internet or cellular phone based applications and tools [used] to share information among people” (“Social Media,” n.d.).

The first way that social media news consumption benefits democracy is that it allows news to be captured and distributed more quickly by a greater number of people. Social media allows reporters unique opportunities over traditional forms of news reporting in that almost anyone can report live from a scene and deliver news more quickly to a multi-platform audience of potentially millions of people, blurring the lines between professional and amateur journalism (Teves, 2016, p. 25). This emergence of citizen journalism has been beneficial in situations where news crews have limited immediate access, and allows information to be disseminated quickly over social media through features such as Facebook Live. Reporting on news stories on social media also allows for instantaneous feedback from audiences, consisting of constant fact checking and a multitude of different voices being heard. In this way, social media offers a platform for everyone (with a smart device) to be acknowledged, and out of these diverse opinions can emerge productive discussions. In a similar vein, social media also allows for a consumption of news that is tailored to meet modern day expectations. Smart devices permit content to be taken anywhere, and it can be accessed anytime. By breaking the barriers of time and space, news can be posted, shared, and consumed in real time, and discussions can happen nearly instantaneously.

The second way that social media news consumption benefits democracy is that it improves the political awareness of most consumers. In order to create informed, educated discussion, audiences must first be made aware of news stories, and all of the facts must be made available. With 67% of American adult Facebook users accessing news on their social media on a regular basis, a large base audience already exists (Lichterman, 2016) and due to the interactive nature of social media, it is growing. While understanding a news article is great, interacting with it fosters deeper levels of critical thinking, and provides an opportunity to share knowledge with others, which is a prominent goal of social media in general. Based on a study conducted by Jonna Howe, many people rely on their network of family and friends to guide them to news articles, as they are a good representation for their own interests (Howe, 2011, p. 3). Sharing embodies democratic notions of representation, as everyone has an equal power in sharing, as well as promoting collective education. To this degree, social media allows for education to be made social, and promotes engagement with news content, as well as other members of the audience (such as in the comments section).

While social media does promote democracy by allowing audiences to share and interact with news stories with their peers in real time, it still has potential issues, mainly due to the amount of information that is found on social media platforms. Although many reputable news organizations have social media accounts, there is still a responsibility placed on the audience to be critical consumers, and that has becoming increasingly challenging as news consumption has turned digital. One main issue that can emerge from social media is the spread of misinformation (Wade, 2016).  This paper has mentioned that anyone with a smart device can become a news reporter, and while that has its benefits, it also has potential negative repercussions. Does this ‘reporter’ have a strong pre-existing bias? What is the context of his video/article? Have the facts been checked so that the story is accurate and fair? These are questions that must be asked of oneself when consuming news on social media, due to the sharing and interactive nature of its platforms. Another issue that can be found is the overreliance on social media for news. Platforms like Facebook display things that our friends ‘like’ or interact with, and most people usually have friends that share similar values and perspectives as themselves. If one is over-reliant on social media for their news, they may miss certain articles and opinions, and be caught in an echo-chamber where they only are presented one side (Wade, 2016). With both of these issues, it is important to critically consume news content, and to be aware of where it is taken from. Social media is a powerful tool for promoting democracy through sharing and interacting with news content, however, critical consumption should still be practiced to help alleviate any concerns that one might have when navigating social media platforms.

Overall, social media is a great tool that promotes awareness and engagement with news content. It allows users to access and interact with news articles anywhere with their smart devices, fostering a more educated and democratic society. At the same time, there is an overwhelming amount of information on social media, and critical consumption is key. One must always be critical of the news that they consume, and place articles in context. In conclusion, social media is a great tool that allows for more people to get engaged with the news, and while it may be comprised of some unreliable articles, it is ultimately up to the individual viewer to think critically and seek and consume what is reputable.

 

References

Howe, Jonna, (2011, January). Social media and news consumption. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/pqdt/docview/920121262/fulltextPDF/B8E7D6C784584ECFPQ/1?accountid=13800

Lichterman, J. (2016, May 26). Nearly half of U.S. adults get news on Facebook, Pew says. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/05/pew-report-44-percent-of-u-s-adults-get-news-on-facebook/

Social Media. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/social-media.html

Teves, E.C. (2016). Break televisions news: Is social media coverage you can count on? Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/pqdt/docview/1809790400/fulltextPDF/EE15268B1B72404BPQ/1?accountid=13800

Wade, E. (2016, December 20). The Dangers of Relying on Social Media for Information. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://medium.com/@eg_wade/the-dangers-of-relying-on-social-media-for-information-f3b4c5769554#.fywn4lyyo

The Trip of a Lifetime

Circa May 2010 –  It was a late night and I was boarding a plane on a long haul flight to Singapore. My vision blurry, I lugged my carry-on with one goal and one goal only – to find my seat and get some shut-eye. “Seat 23A, 23A,  23- OPE.” I tripped. I tripped on one of those yellow bump things on the aisle and lost my balance. Worst of all, I full on groped some guy’s ASS in order to catch my fall. Dear lord this is was so typical. With my eyes now wide open, I quickly tried to apologize, brush it off, and went on my way. Safe to say that was the most action little ol’ me had ever gotten; it was the trip of a lifetime.

Traveling to: GREECE

WHEN TO GO:

Best Weather: April – June & September
Avoid: July – August Crowds & October Storms

TIPPING:

5 – 10% Waitstaff
Round up Bartenders
Round up Taxi Drivers
€1 Parties per bag
€5/day Tour Guides

GREECE BUCKET LIST:

— Go to the Full Moon Festival
— See the Acropolis and visit the museum in Athens
— Trek through the Samariá Gorge in Crete
— Explore the Blue Caves in Zákynthos
— Visit the Palace of Grand Master of the Knights in Rhodes

BEACHES TO VISIT:

— Voutoumi (Antipaxos)
— Megalos Simos (Elafonisos Island)
— Porto Limnionas (Ionian Islands)
— Sarakiniko Beach (Milos Island)
— Agrari Beach (Mykonos)

TABLE MANNERS:

— It is common to sample foods from others’ plates, but always ask first.
— Keep your knife in your right hand and fork in your left. Don’t switch.
— When finished, cross you life & fork on your plate, tines down.

MUST-EAT SPECIALTIES:

— Dolmades (Grape leaves stuffed with rice and fresh herbs)
— Avgolemono (Egg & lemon soup)
— Moussaka (Layered eggplant, minced meat, tomato and onion topped with béchamel sauce)
— Souvlaki (Grilled meat or veggies on a skewer or pita)
— Spanakopita (Spinach pie)
— Kourabiedes (Almond sugar cookies)
— Galaktoboureko (Custard wrapped in filo pastry with lemon syrup)
— Ouzo Liquor

BASIC GREEK:

— Hello (YAH-soo)
— Goodbye (AHN-dee-oh)
— Please (pah-rah-kah-LOH)
— Thank you (ef-hah-rees-TOH)
— You’re welcome (pah-rah-kah-LOH)
— Pardon me (see-GHNO-mee)
— English? (ang-glee-KAH)?
— Cheers! (yamas)!
— Yes (neh)
— No (OH-hee)

OTHER:

— Wine is often drunk at lunch and dinner.
— It is considered culturally impolite to simply nod. Say “yes,” instead.
— Acquaintances shake hands, friends and family embrace and kiss both cheeks (starting with the right)
— Greeks are very affectionate and open. It is not uncommon to be asked many personal questions.
— Haggling is expected at outdoor markets, but only say prices you are willing to pay.

Guilt is the Price You Pay for Growing up

Last Thursday, I made a huge mistake on my work.

I was 100% sure that my shift was from 12:00 am to 7:00 pm. Therefore, I had a plan for the morning. I like to summarize and comment on the books that I have read recently. I was planning to concentrate on writing the book comments before I left to work so I got up around 9:30. I left my phone in the bedroom to charge it and I also put it on silent which was how I managed to avoid any disruption from outside. Then I stayed in the living room with my laptop immersing in my own world.

Around 11:00, I finished the most part of my writing.  Feeling fulfilled, I told myself that it was the time to prepare to go to work. Shockingly, when I checked my cellphone, I found that there were a lot of unread messages and missing calls from my coworkers.

What happened?!

I suddenly realized that…Shoot, I remembered the wrong time. My shift was actually from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

My heart started to beat very fast. I could feel my sweat slowly running down my back. I’ve already one hour late for my work.

I rushed to the bus stop while calling back to my coworker to explain. They were worried and of course, they were angry.

I felt very bad for my mistake. I was ready to be blamed. However, when I arrived there, my boss did not scold me and my coworkers did not say anything harsh to me. Their forgiveness made me even more guilty. I wished that I could do something to make up. In the end, I bought some cakes as a treat to my coworkers.

While I was on my way home that day, I realized that I was still very bad at cooping with guilty. Even though it may not be a big deal for most of the people and others had already forgiven me, I still blamed myself. I wanted myself to remember this feeling and never made the same mistake again.

I have to admit that this was the best lesson I had learnt from my work: We all learn from mistakes and guilty is the price we pay for growing up.

 

“Satire for the Wise, News for the Dumb”: The Merit of Satire in the Age of Fake News

Since the early days of Donald Trump’s campaign for presidency in the United States in 2015, the notion of “fake news” has become embedded in the collective consciousness of Western society. While the modern conception of “fake news” is often defined by underlying political motivations (think Hillary Clinton and #Pizzagate), satirical news stories have existed for a number of years with the objective of poking fun at politics through subtle humor (The Associated Press [TAP], 2017, para. 7). This paper will discuss the functions and potential merits of satirical news (such as The Onion) in modern media, as well as cautions to be considered in light of ongoing concerns regarding “fake news”.

A Case for the Utility of Satire

            To begin, it is important to define satirical news in contrast to what is understood today as “fake news”. Satirical news, including sources such as The Onion and Clickhole, uses satire and humor to poke fun at and point out hypocrisy in news and politics (Berghel, 2017, para. 15). In contrast, “fake news” is

 

A number of scholars have discussed the function and merits of satirical news, including Berkowitz and Schwartz’s (2015) discussion of the role of satirical news as a check on the “Fourth Estate”. The authors discuss CNN’s coverage of Miley Cyrus’ 2015 VMA performance as their top story, as well as The Onion’s satirical letter from the editor of CNN explaining this decision in light of a number of international crises occurring at the time (

Breitbart: A Reputable or Treacherous News Network?

By John Luu
February 28, 2017
954 words

If we, users of the Internet, were to accept everything we read online as facts, then there would be a widespread of fear and confusion. To combat this, users can use media literacy to tackle “massive information literacy problems [such as] … fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and other types of spin” (Caulfield, 2016, para. 7). Polarized news sources that are based on political perspectives can provide opportunities for Internet users to exercise their media literacy skills to determine if it is a reliable source of news or not. Breitbart is a good example of a notorious and influential right-wing conservative news outlet that is heavily producing bias content and thus have implications on youth’s political opinions.

Firstly, Breitbart news appeals to the conservative publics. Its main website allow like-minded users to contribute political news and opinion articles, which are often bias. It can also allow for the “production and circulation of discourses, … and debating and deliberating” (Fraser, 1990, pg. 57) of opinions. Breitbart provides this public with a possibility to engage and participate in commentary through its comments section. Since this site is intended for right-wings, the vast sea of comments are clearly echoes of conservatism. In figure 1 and 2, users America is Great Again and DiscusstedConservative shares their right-wing political beliefs in the comments section and their usernames plainly points out their political views as well. There are even the upvotes for these comments, which suggests that more people agree with their comments.

 

Figure 1: Article comments. Screenshot taken from www.breitbart.com

 

Figure 2: Article comments. Screenshot taken from www.breitbart.com

 

Furthermore, other comments reinforce that Breitbart has a large following of conservatives that remind us of their traditional values.

 

 

Figure 3: Article comment on traditional values. Screenshot taken from www.breitbart.com

 

Breitbart’s merchandise also blatantly illustrates their support and promotion of Republican views. Figure 4 shows of a t-shirt with a border wall logo that references Trump’s wall plans and the mug in figure 5 depicts a rhino behind a target scope, suggesting that democrats are a “scourge upon the Republic” (Breitbart Store, 2017) which points to a bias political opinion.

 

Figure 4: Border Wall Breitbart Tee Shirt. Screenshot taken from https://store.breitbart.com/collections/all-products/products/border-wall-t-shirt

 

Figure 5: Breitbart Mug. Screenshot taken from https://store.breitbart.com/collections/all-products/products/rino-hunter-jumbo-coffee-cup

 

In addition to their publics engagement through the comments section, Breitbart News Network creates sensationalized headlines that attracts attention and fear.

 

The titles of Breitbart articles is arguably sensational and misleading, which can insinuate fear amongst its audiences. For example, an article titled Report: Social Media is Driving Americans ‘Insane’ (Nash, 2017), is blaming social media as a detriment to Americans. The argument of this article is based solely on one external source (Nash, 2017), which limits the credibility of Nash’s article. Also, Breitbart News website is designed to capitalize the letters article headlines, which can project an alarmist tone to readers. Before concluding his article, he mentions that “left-wing media was largely responsible for the public distress following Trump’s win” (Nash, 2017, para. 7). Upon further investigations of Charlie Nash, the young tech reporter is found with bias opinions on Liberals and the offensive use of a gunman for his tweets on his Twitter account. With the conjunction of Nash’s online activity and opinions, is it evident that his content can be seen as bias towards a certain political ideology.

 

Figure 6: Charlie Nash’s Retweet Showcasing Dislike for Liberal Ideologies. Screenshot taken from https://twitter.com/tciccotta/status/836098983135166468

 

Figure 7: Nash’s Tweet With Use of Elliot Rodgers, Murderer and Misogynist. Screenshot taken from https://twitter.com/MrNashington/status/833495979219415040

 

Referring back to his article, he claims that social media is a problem. This can ignite fear mongering amongst Breitbart readers/visitors and may believe that social media is actually affecting Americans. These types of “fearful headlines draw people in by capitalizing on their concerns and anxieties” (Boyd, 2012a, para. 3) that can shape opinions based on insufficient or incorrect information. Overall, Nash’s contributions to Breitbart faces an ideological trap of technological determinism. As Watson (2016) explains technological determinism, it can be applied to Nash’s content which it is presented through a deterministic stance, believing that technology determines human behaviour and ignoring the “subtle investigations of use and adoption practices.” Through the use of fear as an attention-grabbing tactic, Breitbart News can influence teen opinions.

 

With the rapid rise of teens as digital natives, bias online news outlets affect teen’s political education. For teens, the networked public is their new playground for social interaction and a participatory culture of generating and posting content to be seen (Boyd, 2014b, pg. 206). Some teens even actively follow politics and transcribe their political opinions into their networked publics (Boyd, 2014b, pg. 206). However, with questionable and unreliable news source such as Breitbart on the rise, the spread of misinformation can persuade teens into misleading advocation. For example, teens may jump on the bandwagon of the ‘Men’s Rights Activism” simply because a conservative news outlet promotes it or that it appears edgy to defy ‘political correctness’ (Hadfield, 2016). With such a large following, Breitbart has no issues spreading their opinions.

 

 

Ultimately, Breitbart News is a immense and proliferating bias news sources that favours the conservative ideology, which has a negative impacts on adolescents. However, news cannot be fully objective, because there will be varying levels of bias in every news. Personally, Breitbart News is an appalling news outlet that are more anti-liberal than their proclaimed conservative stance. On the contrary, one might disagree and support Breitbart’s opinions; which by all means, their gaudy merchandise can be found and purchased through their blaring advertisement on the homepage.

 

References

Boyd, D. (2012a). The Ethics of Fear and How It Undermines an Informed Citizenry. Retrieved from http://www.poynter.org/2012/fear-undermines-an-informed-citizenry-as-media-struggles-with-attention-economy/192509/

Boyd, D. (2014b). It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Caulfield, M. (2016). Yes, Digital Literacy. But Which One? Retrieved from https://hapgood.us/2016/12/19/yes-digital-literacy-but-which-one/

Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Hadfield, J. (2016). The Men’s Rights Movement: A Smart, Necessary Counterweight to Man-Hating Feminism. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/08/02/mens-rights-counterweight-feminism/

Nash, C. (2017). Report: Social Media is Driving Americans ‘Insane’. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/02/24/report-social-media-driving-americans-insane/

Watson, S. (2016). Toward a Constructive Technology Criticism. Retrieved from http://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/constructive_technology_criticism.php

 

PUB101 Essay #1

 

Trending Topics: Facebook’s Responsibility for Fake News

          In a social media environment riddled with misleading headlines and unverified data, the concept of fake news has begun to run rampant. Based on data gathered by the Pew Research Center, 66% of Facebook users get news from the website, deeming it a substantial resource and influential force. This prompts the question of how much responsibility falls on the shoulders of social media platforms such as Facebook to monitor and regulate the circulation of false news stories and are they to blame for fake news. Initially, one’s response may negate this claim, appointing most responsibility onto the people themselves; adapting to the belief that internet users must be media literate and be able to recognize when a news story strays from the truth. Although this may be ideal, it is unrealistic to believe that the entire two thirds of Facebook users identified as news readers will be able to approach stories objectively and analyze sources instead of simply reading the headline, seeing that it aligns with their biases or values, and clicking the share button. Whether or not people share fake news stories to poke fun at them or if they actually believe the content as truth, any interaction with the story increases its circulation and population on Facebook’s list of trending topics. Then, at least a partial responsibility still falls on the social network.

Facebook has utilized various methods to organize their news topics, but has ultimately appointed an algorithm to prioritize stories in the “Trending Topics” section of the platform’s website. Originally, the section was curated by a team of people whose job was to select and present topics which were the most popular at any given time. However, sparked by the polarizing era of the 2016 election, Gizmodo published an article in May which argued that these curators were favouring political ideologies in their selection process. Facebook published a letter which outlined future strategies to limit this unwanted subjectivity, simply to officially lose the idea of a human curator workforce months later and to replace the team with an algorithm in hopes to prove that the “Trending Topics” section was truthful and objective (Thielman). Despite the website’s intentions, the algorithm immediately revealed just how easy fake news could become popular by showcasing a false statement about Megyn Kelly being fired as the top story for several hours (Ohlheiser). As each mention of the original article spiked, the algorithm sorted the inaccurate report as popular and people could then be lead to believe that what the article claimed was reality without giving it a second guess; a detrimental habit later practiced in many more fake news articles such as one claiming the Pope endorsed Donald Trump or another that Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring.

The election played a major role in the virality of fake news sources because the candidates were often exaggerated to align with each political ideal (Allcott and Gentzkow 2). If a user read a sensationalized headline about a particular party candidate, their reaction would be based off of their own values and perspectives. If the story was a fake report on someone the user supported, they would immediately contest it and perhaps discuss the article with the purposes of debunking it. On the other hand, if the story was a fake report on someone the user opposed, they would still immediately share because it would align with their personal opinions. Either way, the story is circulated and established as a substantial political article. I have experienced this Facebook bubble before when I nearly believed a false story until I decided to read further. The excerpt shared onto my news feed surrounded a supposed quote from Mike Pence and due to the fact that I already had oppositional feelings towards Pence, my initial reaction was to believe it as true and use it as more justification for my opinion. However, when I scrolled further through the trending discussion, I learned that the source was a satire website and that the quote was fabricated. I experienced a realization of just how easy it was to believe in a fake news story due to the fact that it was both popular and made sense in my social context.

Mark Zuckerberg has addressed this issue of filter bubbles and fake news in a statement published two weeks ago, but still treads lightly around specifics on how Facebook will fix these problems. In November, Zuckerberg stressed the importance of the Facebook community in finding which stories are genuine since they can always report a page for the platform to then review those reports. However, from further exploration into this topic I can understand that making users responsible for maintaining truth across the platform may be unreliable. His February statement focuses more on solving the filter bubble problem with the goal of helping users see the “complete picture” (Zuckerberg), but he fails to mention a clear action plan for combating fake news beyond simply acknowledging it as a pressing matter. The description of new methods being implemented to ensure authentic content published at the end of January this year, still only details categorizing pages to track down spam as opposed to inauthentic news reports (Lada et al.). Facebook’s hesitation is understandable considering the accusations of the platform abusing its regulatory power in the past, however it would be beneficial to see a more detailed plan to battle fake news if the founder of the influential social media platform, Facebook users, and many other voices have emphasized inauthenticity in news reports as a major issue affecting society today.


Works Cited

Ahmed, Kamal. “Edited Highlights of the BBC Interview with Mark Zuckerberg.” BBC News,

16 Feb. 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38991668. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew Gentzkow. “Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election.”

Stanford University, 2017. PDF file. http://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/fakenews.pdf

Gore, D’Angelo. “A Fake Mike Pence Quote.” FactCheck, 21 Dec. 2016,

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/12/fake-mike-pence-quote/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Gottfried, Jeffrey, and Elisa Shearer. “New Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016.” Pew

Research Center, 26 May 2016, http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Lada, Akos, et al. “News Feed FYI: New Signals to Show You More Authentic and Timely

Stories.” Facebook Newsroom, 31 Jan. 2017, https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/01/news-feed-fyi-new-signals-to-show-you-more-authentic-and-timely-stories/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Nunez, Michael. “Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News.”

Gizmodo, 9 May 2016, http://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Ohlheiser, Abby. “Three Days After Removing Human Editors, Facebook is Already Trending

Fake News.” The Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/08/29/a-fake-headline-about-megyn-kelly-was-trending-on-facebook/?utm_term=.a1b3f00c8e86. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Schaedel, Sydney. “Did the Pope Endorse Trump?” FactCheck, 24 Oct. 2016,

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/did-the-pope-endorse-trump/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Staff. “Fake News Claiming Hillary Clinton Ran Child Sex Ring Led to Pizza Shop Shooting:

Police.” Global News, 5 Dec. 2016, http://globalnews.ca/news/3106312/fake-news-claiming-hillary-clinton-ran-child-sex-ring-led-to-pizza-shop-shooting-police/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Stretch, Colin. “Response to Chairman John Thune’s Letter on Trending Topics.” Facebook

Newsroom, 23 May 2016, http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/05/response-to-chairman-john-thunes-letter-on-trending-topics/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Thielman, Sam. “Facebook Fires Trending Team, and Algorithm Without Humans Goes Crazy.”

The Guardian, 29 Aug. 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/29/facebook-fires-trending-topics-team-algorithm. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Wong, Julia, et al. “Bursting the Facebook Bubble: We Asked Voters on the Left and Right to

Swap Feeds.” The Guardian, 16 Nov. 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/16/facebook-bias-bubble-us-election-conservative-liberal-news-feed. Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.

Woolf, Nicky. “How to Solve Facebook’s Fake News Problem: Experts Pitch their Ideas.” The

Guardian, 29 Nov. 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/29/facebook-fake-news-problem-experts-pitch-ideas-algorithms. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Zuckerberg, Mark. “A lot of you have asked what we’re doing about misinformation, so I wanted

to give an update.” Facebook, 18 Nov. 2016, https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103269806149061. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Zuckerberg, Mark. “Building Global Community.” Facebook, 16 Feb. 2017,

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/building-global-community/10103508221158471/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

The Alternative Facts of the World

In the world of extreme news organizations such as Vox, Salon, ThinkProgress, Info Wars, Drudge Report and BreitBart, it is tough to discern what is real and what is not. Even the United States President Donald Trump has been stoking the fire, by labelling all dissenting news organizations “fake news.” With a leader inciting contention among the media about what qualifies as real and trustworthy, it can be confusing to understand which outlets can be relied upon and which are there to deceive you.

One type of fake news is actively false news stories such as a story from the Nevada County Scooper, “Mike Pence: Gay Conversion Therapy Saved My Marriage.The story claimed that current VP Mike Pence stated in 1983, a student at the University of Chicago at the time, that conversion therapy saved his marriage. Unfortunately, for religious fundamentalists and gay conversion supporters, this story was false (and was potentially be satire) and was based on the former Governor’s stance supporting Conversion therapy. The factors that make completely fake news stories like this one evident is that a quick google search can tell you Pence never attended the University of Chicago. Instead, he attended Hanover College with a B.A. in history (1983) and the Indiana University McKinney School of Law to get his Juris Doctor (1986). Other evidence of the story being fake is that it lacks details and specificity as it fails to tell when and where this statement took place. Most completely fake news would follow this structure: a semi-believable headline which is not filled with detail but contains false, unverifiable facts.

Another example of completely false claims is the story by WTOE 5 News claiming that Pope Francis bucked tradition and endorsed Republican Nominee Donald Trump for president. A similar story was written by the National Report which reported on 26th of October 2015 that Pope Francis had endorsed the current Vermont Senator (then also a Democratic Presidential Candidate) Bernie Sanders for US President.

Another type of fake news are ones that are not completely untrue but contains many omissions or bad use of logic. A story that matches this criteria would be the ongoing stories of voter fraud in the US. 70news cited Infowars as their “credible source” to justify that Donald Trump did not just win the Electoral College but also won the popular vote. According to Infowars and 70news, they claimed that, even though Clinton had a 630,000 vote lead with 7 million ballots uncounted,

“virtually all of the votes cast by 3 million illegal immigrants are likely to have been for Hillary Clinton, meaning Trump might have won the popular vote when this number is taken into account.”

Fake News isn’t only coming from the major news sites, it can also come from the social media sites such as 4chan, Reddit and Twitter. Stories include the “Pizza-Gate” scandal, which was a scandal involving the Democratic Party, Reddit, John Podesta and 4chan memes. This scandal stated that there was a pedophile sex ring operating within Comet Ping Pong Pizzera in the state of Washington. This led to a distancing from voting for the Democratic Party and even a shooter opening fire at the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria. Other fake news stories that impacted the election include Political Insider’s story that Clinton sold weapons to ISIS, World News Daily Report’s “RuPaul Claims Trump touched him inappropriately in the 1990s” and “Sarah Palin Bans Muslims from Entering Bristol Palin.”

Fake News stories are not only coming from less than reputable, off shoot news organizations, but also more mainstream websites such as BuzzFeed. On January 10, 2017 Buzzfeed’s Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs published a story titled “These Reports Allege Trump has Deep Ties to Russia” or otherwise known as Shower Gate. In the news story, it published an unverified 35 page report that included “facts” such as Trump hiring prostitutes to have a “Golden Shower” on the same bed as the Former President and First Lady (Barack and Michelle Obama.) The report also showed that Trump had ties to Russia and Russian Intelligence, something that could get Trump impeached if true. Unfortunately for Donald Trump’s opponents, this report was completely false and also littered with 4chan memes. This story, which was published by BuzzFeed, made no attempts to reconcile with the President or warn the public that the story was most likely wrong. All BuzzFeed did was point out spelling and grammatical mistakes and that the report was unverified. They stated,

“Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government”.

This statement was leading a public that was already distrustful of President Trump and believing him to be corrupt in accepting the truth of the statements in the report.

Fake news has jeopardized the Media, making every news site distrusted by the opposing side and using the opposing side’s fake news as reasons as to why they are wrong, incorrect and misinformed. Alt-right supporters have used stories from Drudge Report, InfoWars and BreitBart as their bastion of ‘good media’ while calling MSNBC, CNN, the NYT as garbage producing fake news. Nevertheless, the opposite is also true of the Left.

The news has always impacted the election as every news story impacts people’s minds on a daily basis. Fake news has not only made the schism larger between the Left and Right Media, but it has also scared the public. After the election and all the uproar over fake news misleading the public, no organization wants to be labelled as having produced fake news, something that President Trump used to his advantage. By labeling his opponents fake news, he has even blocked CNN, BBC, NYT, LA times (which had the only scientist poll that had Trump winning almost throughout the election), The Daily News and BuzzFeed from a special media briefing. Hand-picking media you deem as “real” outlets is a dangerous game. By doing this, you exercise an ability to deem news outlets that are favorable to you and eliminate all opposition. If the only news outlets that are allowed to report on special media briefings in the White House are those that are considered “real news,” then you will only have pro-government news and any poor decision making will go unreported. This not only contributes to fake news but also makes the public even more politically illiterate.

Fake news has impacted the election and changed people minds and opinions for the worse.  With social media, these news stories have the ability to go viral, making hundreds of millions of people to confirm their own biases and reject news stories and views that don’t. Fake news has virtually eliminated discussion and provided another area for hyper partisanship to live. Fake news has also been allowed to poison the minds and opinions of the public by producing story that confirms the reader’s bias and giving them false information to do so. This makes decisions improperly made and thoughts and ideas illogical due to false information. Elections would be changed and legislation would be made in lieu of fake news. Fakes News has made the world we live in almost a news dystopia and making a world where it is hard to tell what is real and what is fake. It gives false information to the public to falsely get angry about. It affects election and legislation for the worse because of false information leading to a false premise and therefore a false conclusion. Fake news needs to be stopped or the media will capitulate under the weight of the burden and allow misinformation to wreak havoc upon the political world.

 

 

For additional Readings

 

Alpert, Lukas, “Trump Takes Aim at Media Outlets for ‘Fake News” The Wall Street Journal January 11, 2017, February 27. 2017 https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-takes-aim-at-media-outlets-for-fake-news-1484163504

Batchelor, Tom “Donald Trump says all negative polls about him are fake news” Independent.com February 6, 2017, February 27, 2017 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-negative-polls-fake-news-twitter-cnn-abc-nbc-a7564951.html

BBC News “The saga of ‘Pizzagate’: The fake story that shows how conspiracy theories spread” December 2, 2016, February 27, 2017   http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-38156985

Biography.com “Mike Pence Biography” February 16, 2017, February 28, 2017 http://www.biography.com/people/mike-pence-071416

Carissimo, Justin, “White House blocks CNN, BBC, New York Times, LA Times from media briefing”, Independent.com February 25, 2017, February 27, 2017 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/white-house-blocks-news-outlets-from-media-briefing-a7598641.html

Evon, Dan, “Nope Francis: Reports that His Holiness has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump originated with a fake news web site”, Snopes, July 24th, 2016. February 27, 2017

Finkelstein, Randall “Mike Pence: Gay Conversion Therapy Saved My Marriage” Nevada Country Scooper November 2016. February 27, 2017 https://www.ncscooper.com/mike-pence-gay-conversion-therapy-saved-my-marriage/

Garcia, Arturo “Hoosier Convert: Reports that VP-Elect Mike Pence said ‘gay conversion therapy saved his marriage’ are fake news.” Snopes November 14th, 2016, February 27, 2017 http://www.snopes.com/mike-pence-conversion-therapy/

Griffin, Andrew “What is Pizzagate? The Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory that led to a man opening fire in a restaurant” Independent.com November 2016, February 27, 2017 http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/pizzagate-what-is-it-explained-hillary-clinton-paedophile-conspiracy-gunman-fake-news-a7456681.html

Hunt, Elle, “What is fake news? How to spot it and what you can do to stop it” The Guardian December 17, 2016. February 27. 2017 https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/18/what-is-fake-news-pizzagate

LaCapria, Kim, “Yes, We Francis-Can: The pontifical Academy of Social Sciences invited Bernie Sanders to a conference at the Vatican, but he hasn’t publicly endorsed Sanders for president” Snopes April 8th, 2016, February 27, 2017

Ritche, Hannah, “Read all about it: The biggest fake news stories of 2016” CNBC, December 30, 2016, February 27, 2017 http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/30/read-all-about-it-the-biggest-fake-news-stories-of-2016.html

Roberts, Hannah “This is what fake news actually looks like — we ranked 11 election stories that went viral on Facebook” Business Insider November 17. 2016, February 27, 2017 http://www.businessinsider.de/fake-presidential-election-news-viral-facebook-trump-clinton-2016-11

 

 

Essay: I Want YOU! (to stop spreading fake news).

Incorporating a business into the world of social media can be challenging. The competition to grab the attention of people scrolling through their newsfeeds requires more than bright colours and click bait. Your content has to be relevant and easily accessible. But more importantly, your content should be something that people want to hear about. Otherwise the backlash can be staggering. Recently the Donnelly Group, an independent business based out of Vancouver that owns pubs such as the Bimini and the Lamplighter, made another shift in their business by purchasing the now closed Railway Club. The Railway Club had been a Vancouver staple since the 30s, but fell out of business after it’s last owner couldn’t keep it up. Then when he couldn’t see it they shut it down. When Vancouver local Jeff Donnelly decided to buy the club one would think enthusiasts would rejoice, right?

Wrong. Shortly after the news broke the CBC released an article interviewing partner Chad Cole on the future of the club, where in the interview he stated that “unfortunately [live music]’s not going to be a core element of this new pub.” The news of the Donnelly Group buying out the club spread like wildfire over Facebook and the comment sections of Georgia Straight articles and those done by Vancity Buzz were alive with internet rage. Comments ranged from “For most people The Railway Club is synonymous with live music…to bring the place back without live music is very disappointing” to “I’d rather tear it down than turn it into another generic vapid soulless chain bar. Not going” to calling out employees who work there: “…then the greasy, little floor manager comes over and says “how can I make this right for you?” What a joke”.

The anger was on. But despite the complaints of no live music, the article continued to explain that there would in fact be live music, just not as frequently as the venue had in the past. A follow up article was released emphasising that there would be at least four nights of live music a week due to the backlash. As for the “bad beer, worse food”, the Donnelly Group actually sources almost all of their beer and food locally, and is a proud supporter of local breweries and sponsor of Vancouver events. If any of the commenters had attempted to do the smallest bit of research into this new group that was reviving their so-called favourite establishment when nobody else would, they would learn all of this. This is the effect of social media news.

People have gotten used to bite sized pieces of information. Today things are limited to 140 characters, 7 second videos and status updates to express huge events in our lives. When our attention span has been trained to be so short, all we read is the headline. The drawback is that these headlines can be misleading and often don’t give people the correct information. Pre-conceived biases people hold can be triggered by a negative headline they don’t agree with or enlightened by one that they do. How many times have you “liked” or reacted to an article’s headline without clicking on the link? According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 62% of U.S. adults get their news on social media. NPR reported that a Stanford survey conducted found that 80% of middle schoolers in 12 states couldn’t tell the difference between fake and real news. Based on the comments sections of certain Facebook articles, I’d wager that percentage would only be slightly less for adults. Fake news is effective because people believe what they want to believe. They want something to talk about, and when everyone has their own internet soapbox, it’s easy to yell your opinion into the void, however misinformed it may be. People see a title that supports their way of thinking and because it’s a “published” piece of writing, they cling on to that.

Publishing has changed now that Facebook is in play. In the Columbia Journalism Review’s article “Facebook is eating the world”, writer Emily Bell states “The future of publishing is being put into the hands of the few who control the destiny of the many.” Facebook’s power of news distribution is huge, and who can say what will and will not be published when people’s views of the truth have become so obscure, and even the president is spewing lies in national addresses. The technological powerhouses such as Google, Facebook and Apple have all started to dip their toes in the new industry, with Apple recently launching “Apple News” to add to the growing list of sources.

“When facts don’t work and voters don’t trust the media, everyone believes in their own truth.” claims Katharine Viner in her essay for the Guardian, published in July of last year. For a piece written over six months ago, the statements couldn’t be more true now. The world of publishing and how we receive and even accept our news is changing, and people blowing a restaurant chain out of proportion is just a small example. Incidents like #pizzagate that start off ridiculous and lead to shootings could just be the tip of the iceberg if people don’t start being more responsible for the news that they choose to regurgitate.

But the public doesn’t always believe they have time, or even consider looking deeper into the articles they’re being fed. In an attempt to stop the catcall of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, websites like Teen Vogue and Slate are attempting to educate their readers on how to spot false articles, with Slate even going so far as to create a Chrome extension that actually highlights articles on your newsfeed as possibly false if they come from uncredible sources. Despite this attempt, Slate’s headline for the announcement gives off the real message: “Only you can stop the spread of fake news.” The message is clear, and if people have a duty to themselves and to those around them to believe that the truth is not subjective when it comes to delivering facts. In the end, that’s what news media has always been and what we must fight to make it today.

Sources:

1. Bell, Emily. “Facebook is eating the world.” Columbia Journalism Review. March 7, 2017. http://www.cjr.org/analysis/facebook_and_media.php.
2. Colglazier, William. “The Best TIps for Spotting Fake News in the Age of Trump.” Teen Vogue. January 17, 2017. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/the-best-tips-for-spotting-fake-news-in-the-age-of-trump.
3. Domonoske, Camila. “Students have “dismaying” inhibility to tell fake news from real, study finds. .” NPR. November 23, 2016. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/23/503129818/study-finds-students-have-dismaying-inability-to-tell-fake-news-from-real.
4. Gottfried, Jeffery, and Elisa Shearer. “News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016.” Pew Research Center. May 26, 2016. http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/.
Oremus, Will. “Only You Can Stop the Spread of Fake News. .” Slate. December 13, 2016. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2016/12/introducing_this_is_fake_slate_s_tool_for_stopping_fake_news_on_facebook.html.
5. Viner, Katharine. “How technology disrupted the truth.” The Guardian. July 12, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/12/how-technology-disrupted-the-truth.

Assignment #1

False news has drastically grown within the past year, particularly through the unfortunate (no offence) Presidential election of Donald Trump. It’s systematic, misinformed, and it aids the destructive narrative of racism, sexism, and every other harmful –ism out there.

Within the environment of news media today and with the state of legitimate news, a reader always has to ask themselves who wrote it? Where did it come from? But why is it important to question this information?

New modes of communication have changed what types of images are created and expressed. The atmosphere of social media and news has distorted the simple action of clicking, and sharing.The power of false news does not lie within the medium producing, but in those who chose to share it.

The role of social media allows individuals their own agency, and their own type of ownership of information. Thus, echo chambers act as an agency for allowing systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, etc, to be reinforced and active. As Andrew Warner (2002) explains, echo chambers as public discourses “crave attention like a child…[and] the modern system of publics creates a demanding social phenomenon” (p.419).

False news on social media acts as a vehicle for validation of one’s thoughts, whether it be as trivial as tomatoes being a fruit, or as serious as Donald Trump denying minorities their rights.  Social media news feeds play a role in shaping public opinion by allowing false news to easily be curated, and circulated. In dispersing fake news, and allowing publics to actively discuss, and believe it, allows the medium to thrive. False news allows confirmation bias and that information reinforces their thoughts and makes the reader, or the person sharing or commenting, feel good about their opinion. It legitimatizes it.

The algorithm of social media news feeds allows information to be cherry picked, and methods of personalizing content acts as a filter to what type of news one can be exposed to.

Mike Caufield (2016) notes that digital literacy is more than going through a checklist. It is not solely about “using skills, but [also] knowledge.” It is the ability to use, distinguish, and critically read and produce digital content. In order to fully grasp the importance of digital literacy, one has to critically question where the content is coming from, who is writing it, and why is it important. He thoughtfully notes that “the person without the background starts from nothing and nowhere;” someone who has knowledge about something knows the right questions to ask. “Abstract skills aren’t enough,” one needs to be able to build upon their skills in terms of language, design, style, and method of delivery.


Probably the most used, and most effective, ploy of false news are titles. Titles allow sites to legitimatize their false news stories by using popular controversial topics and sensationalized news. Elle Hunt of The Guardian (2016) notes that “these stories – compelling to click on, and with a ‘truthiness’ quality to them – soar on the social web, where links are given the same weighting regardless of source.”

Caufield (2016) notes that recognizing certain aspects of a site, in terms of looks, symbols, and content, allows a reader to identify bias and the goals of the site. In regards to politics, without knowledge of far right or far left symbols and phrases, Caufield (2016) argues that it would appear “normal” to some, and “that’s the weird thing about [it]…. that’s what would make any informed viewer look a bit more deeply at it, not RADCAB analysis, not CRAAP, and not some generalized principles.” Without a common connection, one cannot can discern what is online because they will not be familiar with the content. Essentially, it is like asking a child to vote based on the colours blue and red – if one does not understand what the colours mean, it seems like a harmless decision.

As liberating social media is as a platform in sharing news, it can also be harmful and destructive. For those who understand the power of social media, and the strength of online circulation, it is a tool in which harmful narratives and false information can be easily spread.

In producing or reading content, “videos [or any type of online media] requires [an] understanding [in order to] develop a rich sense of media literacy” (Boyd, 2014, p. 210). The lack of knowledge on how to read media, or ignorance of recognizing false news will be potentially be the pitfall of critical discussion and the delegitimization of real news.

As an individual who shamefully does not know much about politics, I have enough applicable skills to differentiate unbiased, and real news. Satirical articles walk a fine line between false news, and critical exposure. It goes back to Caulfield’s argument of being informed – if one doesn’t recognize satire, it will become a nightmare.

“It’s not that readers are stupid, or even necessarily credulous: it’s that the news format is easy to imitate and some true stories are outlandish enough to beggar belief.” – Mike Caulfield


8Shit.net, recently distributed an article about the messaging platform Whatsapp, and how users would start getting notifications for screen-shotted messages. The reasoning behind? The CEO was “tired of his girlfriend screenshotting his chats.” It’s seems like a legitimate reason right? Reader’s are able to resonate with the reasoning, and it’s straight from the CEO himself. However, only those who are familiar with satirical sites, or false news, will look at this from a critical view. The first sign of that the article isn’t true, is the site’s name. 8Shit doesn’t try to be MSNBC, CNN, or BBC. They even provide a disclaimer at the bottom of the article, for people to discredit their information. Those who fail to recognize satire, are more than likely to fall into the circulation of false news.

Essentially, fake news is the new form of click bait, but they have the advantage of potentially being believable. It has the ability to frame situations with bias, and in favour of the publisher. Let’s look at some more examples.

Last year, a video of a group of sorority girls were ridiculed for taking selfies at a baseball game. The announcers tore them apart and viewers are angry – as they were taking selfies instead of paying attention to the game. Here is a clip of what went viral:


The video has 53 million views. 53 MILLION VIEWS. What the viral clip didn’t show? The announcers, and stadium, asked people in attendance to tweet a fan photo, hashtagging #AZDATASTRONG to be featured in an upcoming broadcast.

Had this been included prior to the clip going viral, would the response to the video been different? One can’t say now, but now, one has all the information of the event, and not one that has been consciously framed. Even “legitimate” news sources are able to produce fake news.


The moral of the story? Always fact check before sharing something on social media (you do not want to add to the circulation of false news. Look into who’s writing the article, what there credentials are. Would you trust a fair political analysis by a far right Democrat supporter with links in their article all linking to pro-trump sites? They are certainly entitled to their opinion, but they are not a legitimate site or real and true news. It’s easier said than done but never take something you read off the internet at face value, unless you’ve done your research.

 

 


References:

Boyd, D. (2014). Chapter 8: Searching For A Public of Their Own. In It’s Complicated. Retrieved from http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf

Caulfield, M. (2016, December 19). Yes, Digital Literacy. But Which One? Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https://hapgood.us/2016/12/19/yes-digital-literacy-but-which-one/

Hunt, E. (2016, December 17). What is fake news? How to spot it and what you can do to stop it. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/18/what-is-fake-news-pizzagate

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics (abbreviated version). Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88(4), 413-425. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf

 

What Can You See In 40 Days?

40 Days…

40 days is all I have from the moment I leave Vancouver to the moment I board the plane headed back to Australia. Right now, all 40 of those days remain completely unplanned. What would you do if you had 40 days free to do whatever you wanted, restricted only by the continent of North America? Would you go to Hawaii and soak up the sun? Would you experience the hustle and bustle of New York City? Would you hire a car and road trip down the west coast? Well that’s what I have to figure out… and I have 54 days to plan it.

I have a rough plan. By rough, I mean I have a plan – it just changes daily. Today, the plan is this:

Week 1: Jasper + Banff + Calgary

Week 2: Boston

Week 3: New York City

Week 4: Orlando + Miami

Week 5: New Orleans

Week 6: Los Angeles

But I don’t know how many days it will be until I change my mind and decide that I need a new plan. So I’m asking for your help. Leave a comment and tell me what you would do if you had 40 days.

Process Post | sunday.26th.february.2017

Data Trails and Footprints

Reading the piece ‘Trying not to drop breadcrumbs in Amazon’s store‘ I found it really interesting how aware Suzanne was about the footprint she was leaving behind. Personally, I have never made a conscious effort to minimize my own data trails and reading the article opened my eyes up to how easy it is not to notice when you are leaving behind a data footprint at all. I believe that in most cases, to be part of certain ‘circles’ (Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.) you almost have to surrender to the idea that you will contribute to the analytics and you will leave behind some form of footprint. I think it is important to be extremely careful when dealing with certain personal information (details about yourself or your banking i.e. online shopping or dodgy websites etc.) which can pose safety issues – however, when it comes to your information simply being used to provide companies with user data + analytics I do not see this as necessarily being an issue or threat or something that I would aim to minimize.

#POSIEL THOUGHTS

Based on the peer review you received, make some changes to at least one design element on your site. Write about how you made that change.

Peer Review by James Wong:

The format of the blog is fun and looks modern, which gives it a nice feel. The title and subtitle are a little boring to me but due to this being a personal blog it does makes sense. The purple on the white is a nice touch for the title, but to have the body have it too seems like it is a bit much. The words are also a little small and hard to read. Having pictures is good, as it attracts readers and gives the readers something to references. There is social media links, and it is a in a nice place with a modern, simple icons.

TRACKING

This weeks results are very unusual… Monday thru Thursday all seem fine however Friday is off the scale and Saturday and Sunday show barely any phone use at all. I’m going to guess that something went wrong on the weekend and the tracking app was not tracking as it should have been (as much as I would like to claim credit for such a lack of phone time).

Violet Violence

Final images from this week’s shoot 

 

Yesterday I did a shoot for the Colorista campaign, and this was the final result. I wanted to highlight the hair colour with a neutral background so I used a minimalistic area to shoot. When dyeing my hair I noticed the end result didn’t look anything that resembled the box, but never less it was a memorable experience. It was my first time ever bleaching and dyeing my hair by myself so I was super worried I would mess up and create a line on my hair where the colour started and where my natural hair ended. So I was pleased with the ombre effect, and even more so with the colour because I previously had ash blonde highlights and I felt that didn’t suit my look. However with more of a red tone to this hair dye I found it to work with my complexion.