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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Facebook, Mozilla, & philanthropists fund $14 million initiative to counter fake news

    Facebook, Mozilla, and philanthropists fund $14 million initiative to counter fake news

    by Leandra Bernstein
    Wednesday, April 5th 2017

    Fake news headaches: Facebook & Google fight back against phony sources (WKRC)

    WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — A group of more than 25 technology companies, academic institutions and nonprofits joined forces this week to help combat the influence of fake news as a kind of restoration project for the digital commons.

    The News Integrity Initiative is a $14 million fund that seeks to improve how consumers and producers approach the news on a global scale in an age of rampant disinformation, propaganda and false facts. The project is being funded by nine deep-pocket donors, Facebook, Mozilla, AppNexus, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the Knight Foundation, the Tow Foundation and Betaworks.


    CUNY J-School @cunyjschool

    We're happy to announce the News Integrity Initiative, a global consortium aimed to advance news literacy.
    5:34 AM - 3 Apr 2017

    According to Facebook's head of news partnerships Campbell Brown, the initiative "will address the problems of misinformation, disinformation and the opportunities the internet provides to inform the public conversation in new ways." In a Facebook Live discussion with other project stakeholders, she identified the end goal, which is to "get back to some common understanding that we seem to have lost in this polarized country."

    Just as fake news has impacted more than just the American public sphere, the News Integrity Initiative is also reaching out to the international community and has already teamed up with organizations in Denmark, the Netherlands, Colombia, Germany, the UK, France, Hong Kong, Australia and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and it is being housed at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism.

    "It's going to be much more effective if we link arms and do it together," Brown said.

    The News Integrity Initiative is being launched at a collision point of declining public confidence in news media and a growing concern that bad actors are using fake news to attack democracies worldwide.

    During a public hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee pointed to a virtual army of "thousands of paid internet trolls and botnets" employed by the Russian government to "push out disinformation and fake news at a high volume." Those attacks, he said, continue to this day and are supported by state-run media enterprises seeking to "diminish and undermine our trust in the American media by blurring our faith in what is true and what is not."

    For Paul Waters the director of the Democracy Fund, one of the partners of the news initiative, "the erosion of trust in journalism" poses the most pressing threat to threat to democracy and its institutions. Part of that erosion of trust, Waters says, is the result of "self-inflicted wounds by an industry that hasn’t always served the needs of everybody in America."

    A 2016 Gallup poll showed that the public has a historically low level of trust in the media. While local news media tend to have higher trust ratings, the overall trend has been a steady decline for decades.

    View image on Twitter

    One of the solutions identified by Jeff Jarvis, director of CUNY's center for entrepreneurial journalism and current leader of the News Integrity Initiative, is rebuilding trust by improving the quality of news that platforms, publishers and advertisers are carrying to the public.

    "The entire discussion so far has been a whack-a-mole discussion," Jarvis said, which is largely focused on getting rid of "the bad stuff" like fake news and click-bait. But that's thje wrong approach, he said. "We can make some headway on that but we cannot really kill all the crap on the internet. What we need to do is have more quality."

    Alongside the decline in public trust for the news media has been a parallel decline in audiences and ad revenues for traditional newspapers and local television, and slow growth for cable news, all while news rooms have seen a sharp drop in the number of journalists.

    View image on Twitter
    Don Irvine, the chairman of the media watchdog group, Accuracy in Media, says the goal of the News Integrity Initiative to improve quality and trust is ambitious, but he questions whether it can be done.

    "That trust has been shot for a long time and it continues to dwindle down," he said. "And all the things that we see on fake news only drives that home, probably distancing the public even more from trusting any kind of news."

    As financial cutbacks in newsrooms impact the quality of information being consumed by the public, Irvine agrees that the news media as a whole should be encouraged to "practice more honesty and integrity," instead of chasing after headlines or posting click-bait to attract revenue. But he warns that it's a "difficult, subjective" mission to accomplish.

    Creating a set of objective industry standards that might just bridge the trust gap is what Sally Lehrman is working on from Santa Clara University's Trust Project, also a partner of the News Integrity Initiative.

    "We hope that our trust indicators become the new standard, that's what we're aiming for," she said of the extensive list of possible news industry guidelines.

    View image on Twitter

    Lehrman explained that the system of indicators is entirely different from the idea of a rating system. That proposal has often been put forward during the fake news debate to put either the public or an outside entity in charge of evaluating the quality of a news source.

    But creating that kind of system throws open the doors to possible manipulation or censorship.

    "It's not a rating where people weigh in," she said. "It's more about creating transparency of what are the workings behind the news, what goes into a quality story." Practically, that means clicking on a link and having information about the author, whether the story is news, opinion or sponsored content, and then making even more information available about the media company, like its corrections policy, its ownership, and other information.

    "That's the kind of information we found out the public really wants to know in order to differentiate quality from other types of information," Lehrman said, explaining that the Trust Project's indicators were developed after interviewing news consumers and working with a team of international news leaders.

    Alongside their work with the News Integrity Initiative, the Trust Project is also working with major social media giants like Google and Facebook about how the indicators could be integrated into content hosted by those platforms.

    According to a 2016 Pew poll, more than 60 percent of U.S. adults got their news from social media, out of those users, a majority only get their information from a single site. A separate study by the Reuters Institute of journalism looked at international habits of news consumption and found that 73 percent of people got their news online.

    View image on Twitter

    Having an online or platform-based delivery system for news creates big opportunities for technologists to fight the spread of fake news and improve trust between the public and the news media, according to Betaworks CEO John Borthwick.

    "Trust is when you click on a URL understanding what is the trust that you can place in that click," he said in a Facebook Live discussion. "I think that there is a lot of opportunity for startups to think about this and address it."

    The $14 million fund provides an incentive for technologists, social scientists and others to try to produce the most innovative, effective and user-friendly ways to combat the spread of disinformation.


    John Borthwick

    Good news about Fake News. @jeffjarvis CUNY initiative develop trust + integrity systems gets $14M. Excited @beaworks is part of this …
    7:57 AM - 3 Apr 2017

    Before formally announcing their partnership with the News Integrity Initiative, the Knight Foundation along with the Rita Allen Foundation and Democracy Fund put out a call for applications to come up with "ideas to combat misinformation on the web and restore trust in quality journalism." The three organizations committed $1 million to the endeavor. The winners will be awarded up to $50,000 in grants for answering the question, "How might we improve the flow of accurate information?"

    In recent months, it has become difficult to discuss current events without the conversation inevitably slipping into the topic of fake news. Especially from the White House where President Donald Trump accuses reporters in America's newsrooms of spreading "fake news" about him on almost a daily basis.


    Donald J. Trump

    It is the same Fake News Media that said there is "no path to victory for Trump" that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!
    6:02 AM - 1 Apr 2017

    This level of attention and the fashionable debate tactic of calling disagreeable facts "fake news," has raised the question of whether and how public discourse returns to some set of common grounds, but also whether the intense focus on fake news is only serving to aggravate the problem of public distrust.

    "We all want to see fair and balanced, good, honest media," Irvine said. "But when you spend so much time on it, and there's this incredible focus on fake news that everyone thinks it's the major plague of the century and if we don't do this our country and our future are ruined, it's probably gone a little too far."

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

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  3. #3
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    Mar 2006

    The powers that be have decided

    We are not at all happy about the fact that people the world over - and especially America now have the means to communicate with each other. They can now report facts that are actually happening and show it to the world. They can express their views concerning detrimental government actions and crooked politicians.

    This could spread and grow.

    This is like a grass fire, you can't seem to control them.

    We are going to stop it - now.

    Oh, and we must, simply, must bring Russia into all this- let's find ourselves some honor-challenged politician to do it for us - doesn't matter what jersey he/she wears.
    Last edited by nntrixie; 04-06-2017 at 03:25 PM.

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