Misinformation

The big picture

YouTube pulls Bolsonaro videos over COVID misinformation

YouTube said it found incorrect comments about masks and hydroxychloroquine, in breach of its rules.

Jul 22, 2021 - Technology
The search for misinformation's measure

It's harder than you might think to reliably measure its scale or impact.

Dec 9, 2020 - Technology
When U.S. politicians exploit foreign disinformation

Each time a domestic politician embraces a disinformation campaign, it proves that they work.

Aug 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy
2020 rules of the road for the Age of Misinformation

Political strategists to find ways to navigate the new rules of Big Tech.

Jan 14, 2020 - Economy & Business
Tech platforms struggle to police deepfakes

Facebook, TikTok and Reddit all updated their policies on misinformation this week.

Jan 10, 2020 - Technology
Human actors are changing the spread of disinformation

It's switching from employees to volunteers.

Oct 17, 2019 - Technology

All Misinformation stories

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 14, 2021 - Technology

Facebook allows prominent users to break rules

Signage in front of the Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has long said that it applies the same rules to all posts, but internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal paint a picture of a company that allowed millions of politicians, celebrities and other high-profile users to break those rules without consequence.

Why it matters: It's hard to limit misinformation on a platform when you give a free pass to those with the most reach.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 14, 2021 - Technology

Deepfake-foiling startup gets $26M led by Microsoft

A faked photo showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Elvis meeting. (They didn't.) Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Microsoft's M12 fund is leading a $26 million investment round for Truepic, a San Diego-based startup trying to fight the emerging wave of digitally altered photos and videos, known colloquially as deepfakes.

Why it matters: Already a problem, manipulated media is expected to become an even bigger threat in the coming years as technology makes it easier to modify video to make anyone say anything.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Aug 23, 2021 - Technology

Facebook defends its misinformation metrics

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook says its release of quarterly data about the most popular content on its platform shows it's being more transparent, while critics complained that the information is selective and incomplete.

Driving the news: The White House blasted Facebook, with spokesman Michael Gwin telling Axios, "Facebook still refuses to be straightforward about how much misinformation is circulating — and being actively promoted — on their platform."

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Aug 18, 2021 - Technology

Facebook says it sees signs that COVID vaccine hesitancy is declining

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook said Wednesday it's seeing signs that resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine is weakening both in the United States and abroad, though it acknowledged it still doesn't have hard numbers on how frequently misinformation is being shared on its platforms.

Why it matters: Facebook touts a survey showing improved attitudes toward the vaccines, but that survey finding raises questions, as other polling has shown significant and entrenched hesitancy, especially in the U.S. It also doesn't show that Facebook or other social media can be credited for any shift.

Aug 2, 2021 - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The push for a "PBS for the internet"

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The concept of a new media ecosystem that's non-profit, publicly funded and tech-infused is drawing interest in policy circles as a way to shift the power dynamics in today's information wars.

Why it matters: Revamping the structure and role of public media could be part of the solution to shoring up local media, decentralizing the distribution of quality news, and constraining Big Tech platforms' amplification of harmful or false information.

Jul 30, 2021 - Technology

Lawmakers question CEOs on Spanish-language misinformation

Photo by Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

About two dozen Democratic lawmakers are sending letters to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Nextdoor requesting details about what resources the social networks are putting toward rooting out misinformation in Spanish and other non-English content in the U.S.

Why it matters: The letters follow the introduction last week of the Health Misinformation Act, which seeks to hold social media companies more accountable for misinformation on their sites.

Facebook's vaccine-misinformation mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In walking back his comments about Facebook "killing people," President Biden Monday conceded that the debate around vaccine misinformation is too complicated to be narrowed down to soundbites.

Why it matters: Inoculating people is the surest path to ending the COVID pandemic, but the U.S. vaccination drive has petered out against a tide of partisan rhetoric and suspicion fueled by misinformation.

Jul 20, 2021 - Technology

Conservative media diets tied to distrust in health officials

Expand chart
Reproduced from Annenberg Public Policy Center; Chart: Axios visuals

People who rely on conservative media have much less confidence in key public health institutions and experts, and are much more likely to believe misinformation about the vaccine, according to a new study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Why it matters: The survey finds a widening gap between Americans who trust key health institutions and those who don't.

Jul 15, 2021 - Health

Surgeon general urges social platforms to crack down on COVID misinformation

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaking during a press briefing on Thursday at the White House. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on social media companies Thursday to curb misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines in his first health advisory since being confirmed to the position.

Why it matters: Murthy said vaccine misinformation is a factor in the country's slowing vaccination rates. More than 40% of American adults are not fully vaccinated against the virus, and new cases have slightly increased in part because of the rise of the Delta variant.

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