Good reads about journalism, tech and media

Nothing but the Truth: Technologies That Help to Fight Fake News

By Maryna Makarova

10 March 2019

During the US presidential election of 2016, an article based on a flawed argument claimed that Donald Trump won the popular vote. In reality, his opponent Hillary Clinton got up to 2.9 million more votes, but this false information gained over 4 million shares and engagements and become the world’s biggest fake news. A similar story during the same election happened with fictional Pope Francis’ endorsement for Donald Trump’s presidency. More

Researchers Say Fears About ‘Fake News’ Are Exaggerated

By Mathew Ingram

17 February 2019

It’s so widely accepted that it’s verging on conventional wisdom: misinformation, or “fake news,” spread primarily by Facebook to hundreds of millions of people (and created by Russian agents), helped distort the political landscape before and during the 2016 US presidential election, and this resulted in Donald Trump becoming president. But is it really that cut and dried? More

Proposed UK Law Could Expose Journalists’ Emails, Say Critics

By Jim Waterson

3 February 2019

British police forces could find it easier to access journalists’ private emails as a result of legislation making its way through parliament, according to freedom of speech campaigners, who are urging politicians to make a last-minute intervention to secure journalistic freedom. More

2018 is the End of Social Media as We Know It

By Michael K. Spencer

15 September 2018

Teens are now hyper aware of their mobile addiction and app consumption patterns. They are trying to cut the habit. This is resulting in a great exodus from older apps such as Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram in favor of niche apps that are peer- or video-centric. YouTube and Snapchat will be big winners here.

The Paradox at the Heart of Twitter

By Colin Horgan

13 August 2018

There is something wrong at the heart of Twitter.

Just ask Sarah Jeong. The tech journalist was recently announced as the New York Times’ newest editorial board member. No sooner had the news gone out than internet users on the right exhumed some of her long-buried tweets and accused her of racism against white people. In reality, Jeong’s tweets were flippant remarks mimicking and mocking white people who’d falsely claimed discrimination. She apologized, nonetheless. “I can understand how hurtful these posts are out of context, and would not do it again,” she wrote in a statement. Seeing the controversy as entirely manufactured, the Times stood by its new hire.

Peak Facebook

By M.G. Isegler

1 August 2018

This week, Facebook took a bath. A bloodbath. The company lost over $120 billion in value in a single day — by far the most ever for one company in that short of a span.

But what’s crazier to me is how such a drop happened. Facebook’s earnings were generally fine. A little light perhaps, but fine. It wasn’t until the company started talking during the earnings call that the run occurred. (There seems to be a clear trend of something bad happening every single time the company opens its collective mouth in some capacity.) And mostly it seemed to be about the guidance that the CFO gave, and the way in which he gave it.

Facebook Fails to Bring Traffic for News Publishers

By Frederick Yeung

20 July 2018

Over the years, Facebook has gained a dominant position in the global internet market as users relied on the platform not only to keep in touch with families and friends but also to access the latest news as well as photos, videos, music and all sorts of data floating around the online universe.

Facebook’s Fight Against Fake News

By Gillian Tett

11 July 2018

A couple of years ago, Greg Marra, product management director at Facebook, spent most of his time figuring out how to make the site’s News Feed more enticing. No longer. These days, Marra is engaged in a cyber version of cat-and-mouse, frantically tracking the “bad guys” disseminating fake news — then trying to shut down their accounts. “This work is adversarial — people are trying to penetrate our defences,” Marra told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week. Using language that might have emanated from the Wild West, he continued: “It sucks that we have to fight the bad guys… and the bad guys are creative. But we believe deeply in what we do…and in the fight.”

Facebook Has Begun To Rank News Organizations By Trust, Zuckerberg Says

By Ben Smith & Mat Honan

2 May 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that the company has already begun to implement a system that ranks news organizations based on trustworthiness, and promotes or suppresses its content based on that metric.

Zuckerberg said the company has gathered data on how consumers perceive news brands by asking them to identify whether they have heard of various publications and if they trust them.

Break Facebook’s Power and Renew Journalism

By Victor Pickard

19 April 2018

Facebook’s sudden fall from grace has toppled long-held assumptions that it couldn’t be regulated. Now a rare bipartisan consensus has emerged that Facebook’s unaccountable power may require government intervention.

The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal helped kick-start an overdue conversation about monopoly power, its pernicious effects on society, and government’s role in stopping it. With implications far beyond Facebook, a precious opportunity for structural reform has opened.