Fake news evolved from seedy internet sideshow to serious electoral threat so quickly that behavioral scientists had little time to answer basic questions about it, like who was reading what, how much real news they also consumed and whether targeted fact-checking efforts ever hit a target.
Sure, surveys abound, asking people what they remember reading. But these are only as precise as the respondents' shifty recollections and subject to a malleable definition of "fake." The term "fake news" itself has evolved into an all-purpose smear, used by politicians and the president to deride journalism they don't like.
But now the first hard data on fake-news consumption has arrived. Researchers last week posted an analysis of the browsing histories of thousands of adults during the run-up to the 2016 election – a real-time picture of who viewed which fake stories, and what real news those people were seeing at the same time.
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In a column in Monday's New York Times, Publisher A.G. Sulzberger writes: "There was a reason freedom of speech and freedom of the press were placed first among our essential rights. Our founders understood that the free exchange of ideas and the ability to hold power to account were prerequisites for a successful democracy. But a dangerous confluence of forces is threatening the press’s central role in helping people understand and engage with the world around them."
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A team of college students is getting attention from internet companies and Congress after developing a browser extension that alerts users to fake and biased news stories and helps guide them to more balanced coverage.
The plug-in, Open Mind, was developed during a 36-hour problem-solving competition known as a hackathon at Yale University.
The winning team was made up of four students: Michael Lopez-Brau and Stefan Uddenberg, both doctoral students in Yale's psychology department; Alex Cui, an undergraduate who studies machine learning at the California Institute of Technology; and Jeff An, who studies computer science at the University of Waterloo and business at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario.
That team competed against others to win a challenge from Yale's Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, which asked students to find a way to counter fake news.
The team's software, designed as an extension for Google's Chrome browser, will display a warning screen when someone enters a site known to disseminate fake news. It also will alert a reader if a story shared on social media is fake or biased.
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One of the first campaign promises Donald Trump made after announcing his candidacy for president was the idea to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Despite objections from critics over the cost and feasibility of the project, the Trump administration has continued taking steps to turn it into a reality.
Following an extensive nine-month reporting process, the USA Today Network has unveiled an interactive, multi-media report detailing the challenges and consequences of the proposed U.S-Mexico border wall.
"The Wall: Untold Stories and Unintended Consequences" incorporates a variety of tools and technologies including virtual reality, bots, aerial and 360-degree video, LiDAR data and podcasts to provide readers with an all-encompassing look at the border.
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Leading news outlets establish transparency standards to help readers identify trustworthy news sources
At a time when the public's trust in news is declining in much of the world, the news industry is launching a new set of transparency standards that help people easily assess the quality and reliability of journalism.
Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display Trust Indicators, which provide clarity on the organizations' ethics and other standards, the journalists' backgrounds, and how they do their work. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organizations as part of the nonpartisan Trust Project, also show what type of information people are reading – news, opinion, analysis or advertising.
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Losses from digital ad fraud range from $6 billion to $16 billion annually, and the current supply chain structure makes it easy and attractive to commit ad fraud with little chance of retribution. Marketers, agencies, publishers and technology suppliers are frustrated. Trust is at an all-time low. The industry is nearing crisis stage as marketers are seriously questioning, rethinking and redoing their digital investments.
How do we solve the ad fraud crisis? By recognizing three truths.
Read more from Tom Drouillard, CEO, president and managing director, Alliance for Audited Media.MORE
Jeffrey Herbst, president and chief executive of the Newseum, stepped down suddenly on Monday as the museum's board announced a full-blown review of its long-troubled finances.
The review could result in the sale of the landmark building on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to a statement from the Freedom Forum, the creator and primary benefactor of the Newseum.
The Newseum will remain open while the financial review takes place, the statement said.
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In addition to highlighting some case studies at the Key Executives Mega-Conference, highlights will be shared on the Solutions Stage from a recent study conducted by Dev/Con Detect, on the top 2,000 ranked Alexa news sites, benchmarking what percent of those sites had vulnerabilities to ad fraud, what types of fraud and tips.
Casey Hester, vice president, customer success with Dev/Con Detect, says: "Most cybersecurity companies working in media and advertising are focused on blocking bots and malware that only treat the symptoms. Our technology and indexing identifies the exact hijacked ad slots, ad-injections, and networks allowing 'spammy,' low-quality ads."
The Mega-Conference will be held Feb. 26-28 in San Diego, Calif.