All Misinformation stories

Ina Fried, author of Login
Apr 2, 2018 - Technology

The enduring lesson from April Fools' Day

Why do we only question what we read on the internet on April Fools' Day? Photo: Lego.

There is a big reason to oppose the sort of pranks that have become all too common in the tech and business worlds on April Fools' Day. Most just aren't that funny.

But, but but: A number of people pointed to a larger truth amid all the messages: Why is it that April Fools' Day is the one day a year where we view what we read on the internet with skepticism?

CBS News president teases 60 Minutes' Stormy Daniels interview

David Rhodes speaks onstage during the 2015 Winter TCA Tour. Photo: JB Lacroix / WireImage

David Rhodes, president of CBS News, told a conference in Jerusalem hosted by Israeli media giant Keshet that the delay behind Anderson Cooper's "60 Minutes" interview with Stormy Daniels is because there's "still a lot of journalistic work to do" rather than the threat of legal action from President Trump, Variety reports. He promised it would air soon, adding, “It’s hard to know [what its impact will be] in advance, especially since so many controversies in the current political environment have not necessarily broken the way you would expect them to."

The big picture: The narrative around Daniels, a porn star who allegedly had an affair with Trump and has since filed a lawsuit against him, isn't going away. Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said he paid Daniels out of his personal funds as part of a non-disclosure agreement, but Daniels said Trump never signed it and that Cohen was intimidating her "into silence."

Mar 12, 2018 - Technology

Local politicians join the "fake news" bandwagon

Photo: Cheriss May / NurPhoto via Getty Images

"Fake news" has become ubiquitous as a signal to a politician's supporters to ignore legitimate reporting and hard questions, and as a smear of beleaguered and dwindling local press corps, AP's Ryan Foley writes.

Why it matters: Experts on the press and democracy say the cries of "fake news" could do long-term damage by sowing confusion and contempt for journalists and by undermining the media's role as a watchdog organization.

Feb 22, 2018 - Technology

The science of conspiracies: Where Flat Earth meets Pizzagate

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

"Fake news" was rampant throughout the 2016 election — and it's still around. But it's hardly new: people have believed in conspiracy theories for ages, and scientists are no stranger to combating them.

The bottom line: From anti-vaccine conspiracies to climate change denial to those who believe in modern "fake news," many conspiracy theories are united by one idea: “Nothing is an accident. They never accept randomness,” says Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol who studies climate change denial.

Updated Feb 22, 2018 - Technology

Fake news plague: Big Tech boosted bogus Parkland claims

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were caught flat-footed when conspiracy theories about survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting were unintentionally elevated on their sites through algorithms that promote trending topics and popular content.

Why it matters: Pressure is building on social media companies to better manage the spread of misinformation during breaking news. But they're struggling to contain the problem without compromising openness, which can also help get facts out quickly.

Brazil seeks to fight fake news ahead of divisive election

A demonstrators in support of presidential candiate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Cris Faga / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Officials in Brazil are growing wary of fake news flooding into Facebook timelines and other online outlets, both from domestic and foreign actors, ahead of October's presidential election. They're now trying to crack down on organized attempts to mislead voters, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Americans got a detailed picture of election meddling and misinformation in Robert Mueller's indictments on Friday — and the U.S. isn't the only country dealing with these issues.

Updated Feb 8, 2018 - Technology

When the media becomes a political weapon

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Political operatives who once relied on one-sided media outlets and platforms during campaigns now acknowledge their role in the erosion of trust in media and facts in general.

Why it matters: Increased polarization of media on both sides of the political spectrum has created a crisis of faith in the objective truth, leading to an unprecedented erosion of trust in institutions in America. Experts argue this could have a serious impact on the future of Western democracy.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated Jan 28, 2018 - Technology

A fake new world

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Fake news. Fake followers. And just in time for 2020 campaigns, fake video.

  • What's new: The problems with social media are growing — and real. Because so much is fake. 
  • We have fake news. Fake facts. Fake people on social media. And fake audience size. 
  • Why it matters: It’s an epidemic of fake that is twisting everything from politics to our perception of people’s identity and fame. 
Jan 24, 2018 - Technology

U.K. launches rapid response security unit to fight fake news

Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is launching a "National Security Communications Unit" to combat fake news, one of many public steps May and other top government officials have taken on this issue.

Why it matters: The U.K. and other European countries have taken a much more aggressive stance on regulating technology companies that distribute fake news than the U.S.

May's spokesperson told reporters Tuesday that the unit will be tasked with "combating disinformation by state actors and others. It will more systematically deter our adversaries and help us deliver on national security priorities," according to Reuters.

Jan 18, 2018 - Technology

Trump's fake news awards

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The RNC rolled out Trump's fake news award winners on Wednesday night, labeling 2017 "a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news."

The page including the list of "winners" crashed shortly after publication (the RNC blamed unprecedented traffic), but it's now up and running. It underlines a main contention Trump has been making since the primaries — the "dishonest" media is against him.