Tag: Rumors and Misinformation

Goodbye to the Wild Wild Web

It felt like a dam breaking, or the changing of a guard. Within a 48-hour period this week, many of the world’s internet giants took steps that would have been unthinkable for them even months earlier. Reddit, which spent most of its life as a lawless free-for-all, banned thousands of forums for hate speech, including […]

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Reddit, Acting Against Hate Speech, Bans ‘The_Donald’ Subreddit

SAN FRANCISCO — Reddit, one of the largest social networking and message board websites, on Monday banned its biggest community devoted to President Trump as part of an overhaul of its hate speech policies. The community or “subreddit,” called “The_Donald,” is home to more than 790,000 users who post memes, viral videos and supportive messages […]

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‘PizzaGate’ Conspiracy Theory Thrives Anew in the TikTok Era

WASHINGTON — Four minutes into a video that was posted on Instagram last month, Justin Bieber leaned into the camera and adjusted the front of his black knit beanie. For some of his 130 million followers, it was a signal. In the video, someone had posted a comment asking Mr. Bieber to touch his hat […]

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Facebook Adds Labels for Some Posts as Advertisers Pull Back

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook rolled out measures on Friday to add more context to problematic political posts on its site, as the social network grappled with a growing outcry from some of its largest advertisers over the issue of hateful speech. Facebook said it would attach labels to all posts across its network that discuss […]

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Facebook Adds Labels for Some Posts as Advertisers Pull Back

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook rolled out measures on Friday to add more context to problematic political posts on its site, as the social network grappled with a growing outcry from some of its largest advertisers over the issue of hateful speech. Facebook said it would attach labels to all posts across its network that discuss […]

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Ad Boycott of Facebook Keeps Growing

Facebook put on an upbeat presentation to advertisers on Tuesday, the same day the clothing chain Eddie Bauer, the film distributor Magnolia Pictures and the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand announced that they would stop advertising on the platform through July. Those companies joined Patagonia, the North Face, REI and others in a growing […]

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Social Media Giants Support Racial Justice. Their Products Undermine It.

Several weeks ago, as protests erupted across the nation in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a long and heartfelt post on his Facebook page, denouncing racial bias and proclaiming that “black lives matter.” Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, also announced that the company would donate $10 million to racial […]

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Twitter Labels Trump Tweet About ‘Racist Baby’ as Manipulated Media

OAKLAND, Calif. — Twitter added a warning to a post from President Trump about a racist baby on Thursday, saying the tweet contained manipulated media designed to mislead people. The move is likely to escalate tensions between Mr. Trump and Twitter, which the president uses multiple times a day to broadcast messages to his more […]

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Scientists Take Aim at Another Coronavirus Study in a Major Journal

A group of leading scientists is calling on a journal to retract a paper on the effectiveness of masks, saying the study has “egregious errors” and contains numerous “verifiably false” statements. The scientists wrote a letter to the journal editors on Thursday, asking them to retract the study immediately “given the scope and severity of […]

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Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO — For months, Facebook has weathered criticism for its willingness to show all types of political advertising to its billions of users, even if those ads contained lies. Now the company is changing tack — sort of. On Tuesday, the social network said it would allow people in the United States to opt […]

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On Social Media, Who’s a Bot? Who’s Not?

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, a Twitter storm blew in about bots, those little automatic programs that talk to us in the digital dimension as if they were human. What first caught the attention of Darius Kazemi was the headline on an article from NPR, “Researchers: Nearly Half of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are […]

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Trump Has Made Alternative Facts a Way of Life

No president in the history of our Republic has been as disorienting as Donald Trump. His goal, even before he became president, was far more ambitious than to tell mere lies. It was to annihilate the distinction between truth and falsity, to make sure that we no longer share facts in common, to overwhelm people […]

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Twitter Removes Chinese Misinformation Campaign

OAKLAND, Calif. — China has stepped up its effort to spread misinformation on Twitter, creating tens of thousands of fake accounts that discussed protests in Hong Kong and the Communist Party’s response to the coronavirus, Twitter said on Thursday. The company said it had discovered and removed 23,750 accounts that were “highly engaged” in a […]

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Biden Readies Attack on Facebook’s Speech Policies

WASHINGTON — The Biden presidential campaign, emboldened by a recent surge in support, is going after a new target: Facebook. After months of privately battling the tech giant over President Trump’s free rein on its social network, the campaign will begin urging its millions of supporters to demand that Facebook strengthen its rules against misinformation […]

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Why Twitter Didn’t Label Trump’s Tweet on Martin Gugino

OAKLAND, Calif. — President Trump aimed his Twitter feed on Tuesday toward a 75-year-old man who had been shoved to the sidewalk and badly injured by police in Buffalo, N.Y. Mr. Trump speculated that the man, Martin Gugino, could be a provocateur affiliated with an anti-fascist movement. The president also wondered if the man had […]

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Behind China’s Twitter Campaign, a Murky Supporting Chorus

As the Trump administration lashes out at China over a range of grievances, Beijing’s top diplomats and representatives are using the president’s favorite online megaphone — Twitter — to slap back with a pugnaciousness that is best described as Trumpian. Behind China’s combative new messengers, a murky hallelujah chorus of sympathetic accounts has emerged to […]

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The Complex Debate Over Silicon Valley’s Embrace of Content Moderation

The existential question that every big tech platform from Twitter to Google to Facebook has to wrestle with is the same: How responsible should it act for the content that people post? The answer that Silicon Valley has come up with for decades is: Less is more. But now, as protests of police brutality continue […]

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Two Huge Covid-19 Studies Are Retracted After Scientists Sound Alarms

The studies, published in renowned scientific journals, produced astounding results and altered the course of research into the coronavirus pandemic. One undercut President Trump’s claim that certain antimalarial drugs cure Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, concluding that the medications in fact were dangerous to patients. The other found that some blood pressure drugs […]

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Early Facebook Employees Disavow Zuckerberg’s Stance on Trump Posts

SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, faced fresh criticism on Wednesday as nearly three dozen people who worked at the social network in its early years called out his decision to leave President Trump’s aggressive posts on the site unaltered. The former employees said in an open letter that Mr. Zuckerberg’s position was […]

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There’s No Home Remedy for Coronavirus Lies

Around the beginning of the pandemic, I started receiving WhatsApp messages from fellow Somalis instructing me to drink warm water, eat garlic and apply black seed oil every day to prevent Covid-19. These are homeopathy remedies familiar to most Somalis. So while the claims were untrue and could provide a false sense of invincibility to […]

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Snapchat Stopped Promoting Trump Account

WASHINGTON — Snap said on Wednesday that it has stopped promoting the Snapchat account of President Trump after determining that his public comments off the site could incite violence, in another hardened stance by a social media company against the president. Snap, which makes the Snapchat app that is popular among young users, said Mr. […]

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A Week of @realdonaldtrump Shows the Challenge of Policing His Tweets

Twitter and its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, placed warnings on three of President Trump’s tweets last week, taking a measured but hotly debated step to place some limit on the president’s use of social media to spread falsehoods and incite his followers. Twitter attached labels refuting two of Mr. Trump’s tweets on voter fraud and […]

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Zuckerberg Defends Hands-Off Approach to Trump’s Posts

SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, on Tuesday stood firmly behind his decision to not do anything about President Trump’s inflammatory posts on the social network, saying that he had made a “tough decision” but that it “was pretty thorough.” In a question-and-answer session with employees conducted over video chat software, Mr. Zuckerberg […]

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Facebook and Twitter Must Do More About Trump’s Tweets

While Twitter and Facebook dithered over whether to append warning labels on outrageous and dangerous posts from Donald Trump, the president continued to tweet and post. Twitter took the plunge last week with a fact-checking link on two misleading and false tweets about mail-in voting and, later, an admonition that the president’s tweet warning protesters […]

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Misinformation About George Floyd Protests Surges on Social Media

On Twitter and Facebook, hundreds of posts are circulating saying that George Floyd is not actually dead. Conspiracy theorists are baselessly arguing that George Soros, the billionaire investor and Democratic donor, is funding the spreading protests against police brutality. And conservative commentators are asserting with little evidence that antifa, the far-left antifascism activist movement, coordinated […]

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Twitter Had Been Drawing a Line for Months When Trump Crossed It

OAKLAND, Calif. — Jack Dorsey was up late Thursday at his home in San Francisco talking online with his executives when their conversation was interrupted: President Trump had just posted another inflammatory message on Twitter. Tensions between Twitter, where Mr. Dorsey is chief executive, and Mr. Trump had been running high for days over the […]

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While Twitter Confronts Trump, Zuckerberg Keeps Facebook Out of It

SAN FRANCISCO — Earlier this week, as Twitter executives waded into a confrontation with President Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, took a very different tack: He kept his head down. Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter, took to his site not long after to say Twitter would not back down, presenting a stark […]

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In Brazil, a President Under Fire Lashes Out at Investigators

RIO DE JANEIRO — The embattled president of Brazil stood outside his mansion on Thursday, indignant and angry, wearing a necktie patterned with assault rifles. The day before, the police had raided properties linked to several of his most die-hard supporters as part of an investigation into an online network distributing disinformation, one of an […]

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