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Since 2016, Social Media Misinformation Has Both Improved and Worsened, Say Panelists

Adrienne Patton

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Photo of social media panelists at the State of the Net conference by Adrienne Patton

WASHINGTON, January 28, 2020 – Are Americans better or worse off since the disinformation debacle on social media in the 2016 election year? The question is a tech-focused echo of the quadrennial refrain said by presidential candidates. It was asked by the moderator at a panel discussion of social media and democracy at the State of the Net on Tuesday.

Each panelist agreed that there have been both improvements and new challenges since the 2016 election.

Camille François, chief innovation officer for Graphika, said that since the United States recognized the Russian trolls four years ago, many more actors now engage with misinformation agendas, including domestic trolls.

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said the leading tech platforms have each taken a different approach to tackling misinformation. Twitter, she said, has decided to not allow political advertising. But there are still complicated nuances around Twitter’s staunch ban, said Weintraub.

Weintraub sees serious issues with Facebook’s microtargeting marketing approach. Weintraub’s concern is the elimination of counter speech through microtargeting. If a platform user cannot see the misinformation available, then the user cannot counter it, said Weintraub.

Weintraub believes microtargeting advertisements have “the potential to magnify and amplify misinformation” instead of dispelling or negating it.

Annenberg Public Policy Center Distinguished Fellow Susan Ness said that while the situation has improved on some levels, “people now have far less trust in their institutions.”

François said it was difficult to define misinformation and calculate it. Indeed, she said, recognizing the danger of misinformation in an election and knowing who the actors are and how they organize their pursuits is of the utmost importance.

Weintraub said that no single entity could be delegated with the task of defining truth. Rather, Weintraub said that there needs to be a system for dealing with the material that is “just egregiously untrue, egregiously harmful.”

Adrienne Patton was a Reporter for Broadband Breakfast. She studied English rhetoric and writing at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She grew up in a household of journalists in South Florida. Her father, the late Robes Patton, was a sports writer for the Sun-Sentinel who covered the Miami Heat, and is for whom the press lounge in the American Airlines Arena is named.

Antitrust

Section 230 Has Coddled Big Tech For Too Long, Says Co-Author of Book on Amazon

Co-author of “The Amazon Jungle” says Section 230 has allowed Big Tech to get away with far too much.

Derek Shumway

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"The Amazon Jungle" co-author Jason Boyce

WASHINGTON, January 28, 2020 – Are Americans better or worse off since the disinformation debacle on social media in the 2016 election year? The question is a tech-focused echo of the quadrennial refrain said by presidential candidates. It was asked by the moderator at a panel discussion of social media and democracy at the State of the Net on Tuesday.

Each panelist agreed that there have been both improvements and new challenges since the 2016 election.

Camille François, chief innovation officer for Graphika, said that since the United States recognized the Russian trolls four years ago, many more actors now engage with misinformation agendas, including domestic trolls.

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said the leading tech platforms have each taken a different approach to tackling misinformation. Twitter, she said, has decided to not allow political advertising. But there are still complicated nuances around Twitter’s staunch ban, said Weintraub.

Weintraub sees serious issues with Facebook’s microtargeting marketing approach. Weintraub’s concern is the elimination of counter speech through microtargeting. If a platform user cannot see the misinformation available, then the user cannot counter it, said Weintraub.

Weintraub believes microtargeting advertisements have “the potential to magnify and amplify misinformation” instead of dispelling or negating it.

Annenberg Public Policy Center Distinguished Fellow Susan Ness said that while the situation has improved on some levels, “people now have far less trust in their institutions.”

François said it was difficult to define misinformation and calculate it. Indeed, she said, recognizing the danger of misinformation in an election and knowing who the actors are and how they organize their pursuits is of the utmost importance.

Weintraub said that no single entity could be delegated with the task of defining truth. Rather, Weintraub said that there needs to be a system for dealing with the material that is “just egregiously untrue, egregiously harmful.”

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Social Media

Josh Hawley Wants To Break Up Big Tech And Revisit How Antitrust Matters Are Considered

Senator Josh Hawley talks Section 230, antitrust reform, and the Capitol riots.

Benjamin Kahn

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on

Josh Hawley, right, via Flickr

WASHINGTON, January 28, 2020 – Are Americans better or worse off since the disinformation debacle on social media in the 2016 election year? The question is a tech-focused echo of the quadrennial refrain said by presidential candidates. It was asked by the moderator at a panel discussion of social media and democracy at the State of the Net on Tuesday.

Each panelist agreed that there have been both improvements and new challenges since the 2016 election.

Camille François, chief innovation officer for Graphika, said that since the United States recognized the Russian trolls four years ago, many more actors now engage with misinformation agendas, including domestic trolls.

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said the leading tech platforms have each taken a different approach to tackling misinformation. Twitter, she said, has decided to not allow political advertising. But there are still complicated nuances around Twitter’s staunch ban, said Weintraub.

Weintraub sees serious issues with Facebook’s microtargeting marketing approach. Weintraub’s concern is the elimination of counter speech through microtargeting. If a platform user cannot see the misinformation available, then the user cannot counter it, said Weintraub.

Weintraub believes microtargeting advertisements have “the potential to magnify and amplify misinformation” instead of dispelling or negating it.

Annenberg Public Policy Center Distinguished Fellow Susan Ness said that while the situation has improved on some levels, “people now have far less trust in their institutions.”

François said it was difficult to define misinformation and calculate it. Indeed, she said, recognizing the danger of misinformation in an election and knowing who the actors are and how they organize their pursuits is of the utmost importance.

Weintraub said that no single entity could be delegated with the task of defining truth. Rather, Weintraub said that there needs to be a system for dealing with the material that is “just egregiously untrue, egregiously harmful.”

Continue Reading

Social Media

Oversight Board Upholds Trump’s Ban From Facebook

The Oversight Board has sent the decision back to Facebook management, criticizing it for setting a “standardless” penalty.

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

WASHINGTON, January 28, 2020 – Are Americans better or worse off since the disinformation debacle on social media in the 2016 election year? The question is a tech-focused echo of the quadrennial refrain said by presidential candidates. It was asked by the moderator at a panel discussion of social media and democracy at the State of the Net on Tuesday.

Each panelist agreed that there have been both improvements and new challenges since the 2016 election.

Camille François, chief innovation officer for Graphika, said that since the United States recognized the Russian trolls four years ago, many more actors now engage with misinformation agendas, including domestic trolls.

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said the leading tech platforms have each taken a different approach to tackling misinformation. Twitter, she said, has decided to not allow political advertising. But there are still complicated nuances around Twitter’s staunch ban, said Weintraub.

Weintraub sees serious issues with Facebook’s microtargeting marketing approach. Weintraub’s concern is the elimination of counter speech through microtargeting. If a platform user cannot see the misinformation available, then the user cannot counter it, said Weintraub.

Weintraub believes microtargeting advertisements have “the potential to magnify and amplify misinformation” instead of dispelling or negating it.

Annenberg Public Policy Center Distinguished Fellow Susan Ness said that while the situation has improved on some levels, “people now have far less trust in their institutions.”

François said it was difficult to define misinformation and calculate it. Indeed, she said, recognizing the danger of misinformation in an election and knowing who the actors are and how they organize their pursuits is of the utmost importance.

Weintraub said that no single entity could be delegated with the task of defining truth. Rather, Weintraub said that there needs to be a system for dealing with the material that is “just egregiously untrue, egregiously harmful.”

Continue Reading

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