Oct 7, 2017

Buzzfeed takes on fake news

Buzzfeed

Over the past year, Buzzfeed has positioned itself at the forefront of covering fake news and disinformation online, and has become the go-to source for tracking right-wing media and propaganda machines. On Thursday, the viral publisher broke a story about how under former White House advisor Steve Bannon's leadership, Breitbart smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist ideas into the mainstream.

Why it matters: Buzzfeed has turned itself into a formidable source of hard news on digital media trends and viral news — topics the company understands better than anyone.

"BuzzFeed News has a mission to cover all aspects of the internet, and the reality is that rumors, hoaxes, propaganda, and all manner of digital deception are a part of the internet," Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed News Media Editor tells Axios. "So we've taken on a global effort to investigate and debunk the false stuff, as well as to try and reveal who's behind it, and what role platforms and other players have in this whole ecosystem."

InfoWarzel: The company has invested heavily in covering the right-wing media ecosystem. Buzzfeed Reporter Charlie Warzel authors an entire newsletter dedicated to the topic called InfoWarzel.

Fake News scoops: Buzzfeed now employs a half-dozen full-time media reporters and editors, focusing on everything from fake news to news economics to the right-wing media landscape. A few of the highlights:

  • A report on how Macedonia became a global hub for pro-Trump news was one of Barack Obama's favorite pieces last year.
  • A piece on how viral junk election news stories outperformed real news on Facebook shed light on how much Facebook Pages were being used to misinform biased audiences.
  • A report on how hyper-partisan news sites and Facebook pages are created by the same company in Florida provided an example of the economic incentives for fake news perpetrators.

Media and big tech: Buzzfeed has also invested in coverage of today's hottest topic: the growing rift between publishers and big tech companies.

  • Last week's deep-dive on how the rise of platforms has created a demand for cheap information to be created for Americans overseas was one of the first stories to explore fake news machines fueling micro-economies globally.
  • This week, Buzzfeed broke a big story about the Murdoch's charge against Google and Facebook's control of the media.
  • Earlier this month, editor-in-chief Ben Smith's piece on the growing frustration with Silicon Valley became an instant viral hit, shedding light on an ongoing backlash against big tech.

Go deeper

In photos: How the coronavirus outbreak is impacting on daily lives

A woman receives a rose delivered to her via a drone in Lebanon's coastal city of Jounieh. Photo: Joseph EidAFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on the lives of people around the world.

The big picture: The first known case outside China was in Thailand on Jan. 13. Since then, global infection numbers have surged, and governments around the world have responded with measures designed to curb the spread of the virus — ranging from lockdowns to physical distancing enforcement. There were more than 723,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections by early Monday, per Johns Hopkins data). However, life hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic, but it has changed. Here's how.

See photosArrow22 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Global death toll surpasses 34,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 34,000 people and infected over 723,000 others globally, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 10,700 deaths early Monday.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30,

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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