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  1. #1
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    Social media: Telling real news from click bait


    Best Practices

    Social media: Telling real news from click bait


    By Lincoln Spector

    Like a lot of other people, I get much of my news from Facebook and Twitter. Sure, those aren't the best sources, but it is today's reality.

    If as I do, you believe that truth and accuracy are important, the ability to separate real information from satire or propaganda is a critical skill ó especially in an election year. It's also important that we discourage "information" that's simply designed to acquire website "clicks."

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/best-practices/social-media-telling-real-news-from-click-bait/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Two quick amplifications about "satire sites":

    1) Many of them will actually admit on their "About us" page that they are a satire site, which I'm pretty sure their lawyers made them do, because...

    2) ...they don't actually publish "satire" they publish "stories that sound like they are true."

    I would recommend to all that they put a sticky note on their monitor or a blank card in their phone case on which to note the sites like these that violate the basic rules of both "news" and "satire" (as well as the trust of their audience). Learn to look at the link referenced on posts in Facebook, because you can save yourself a lot of time (and embarrassment) by simply replying "Sorry, that's a click-bait site."

  3. #3
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    Both *Snopes and *PolitiFact have both recently been unmasked as not being nearly as unbiased as they have long claimed. Both, in fact, have long been secretly leaning strongly to the left, and the information on their websites has tended strongly to the left as well. Neither site is any longer able to claim neutrality or an unbiased approach to its information gathering. This just proves how right Lincoln's article is. We must be constantly on guard against what we read online.

  4. #4
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    Ditto what tdhadley67 said. PolitiFact regularly skews their assessments to treat statements made by righties worse than they treat those made by lefties.

    Lincoln, today's "reality" is what you make it be for yourself. Yes, a lot of people do get their news primarily from Facebook or Twitter. That doesn't mean you have to. The way you opened your article makes it seem like you feel COMPELLED to follow the crowd. Why? That's lame.

    "If Walter Cronkite said it, it was most likely true." Uh, that's what we thought at the time, but it was later shown to be not quite so.

    I'm not sure this article exactly belongs in Windows Secrets. But aside from that, it's a good reminder to be skeptical day in and day out.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I'm not sure this article exactly belongs in Windows Secrets. But aside from that, it's a good reminder to be skeptical day in and day out.
    My thoughts exactly, is there nothing more relevant to write about?

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    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    I agree, this is not Windows Secrets article material. Would make a nice forum post.

    That said, nice article for a chuckle or two, and for encouraging new members to sign up--welcome guys. It's been clear to me for a long time that we need two kinds of fact checking sites--one for statements I agree with, and one for those I don't

    Quote Originally Posted by Lincoln Spector
    If the news article isnít clearly dated, skip it.
    This applies to all web pages. It's one of the most annoying things on the web, trying to figure out when the material was written--makes it almost mandatory to use the date function in search engines, even if that can be spoofed.
    Last edited by Lugh; 2016-08-25 at 21:28.
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    One thing I have consistently found: People bring out this excuse—that Snopes, Politifact and other fact-checkers are "biased"—after having a plainly false claim debunked by one of them and being unable to prove otherwise. It has long been the case that the "liberal bias" argument rests mostly on counting the number of "negative stories" about, or in the case of fact-checkers "false" ratings given to conservatives. However, this is a "questionable cause" fallacy, claiming that the number of negatives results for conservatives is due to a bias without considering the possibility that there might be more negative stories about conservatives to be discovered.

    In fact, the "study" that supposedly proves that Politifact has a liberal bias comes from the right-wing funded "Center for Media and Public Affairs," long a source for distorted interpretations of facts that favor the right-wing views of money sources like the Olin and the Scaife foundations. This was the same outfit that produced a study that supposedly "proved" that Fox News' coverage was more balanced than that of the major broadcast networks, and a study about PBS's strong "liberal" bias that simply ignored its conservatively oriented shows in reaching that conclusion. Oddly enough, the latter was produced in time for Congressional debates about funding for public broadcasting.

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  10. #8
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imjcarls View Post
    this is a "questionable cause" fallacy
    Also sounds like "confirmation bias". For anyone interested, there is a nice set of similar effects listed here, plus a decent set of sources and references to further research confirmation bias.

    Or so I'd like to believe
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    You really are at the mercy of social media nowadays. You need it, but there's only so much you can do to navigate Facebook or whatever and avoid all the junk. I was off of social media for a while, now I'm back on it. Now, I've noticed if I enter my name in a search, I get all kinds of links to websites with my current address, past addresses, relatives, voting records and phone number. It even offers to make you a map to my house if you want it.

    I think Google and twitter has become at least 50% spam now.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lugh View Post
    Also sounds like "confirmation bias". For anyone interested, there is a nice set of similar effects listed here, plus a decent set of sources and references to further research confirmation bias.

    Or so I'd like to believe
    Don't we all? I actually went back and forth between slightly different fallacy definitions (there are actual websites where people argue about these instead of spending their time properly on Facebook posts), but "confirmation bias" seems right (unless the person is doing it deliberately for a paycheck).

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    This article was in appropriate because it was only casually related to Windows. Additionally it went on and on with no useful information.

  14. #12
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Couple of interesting BBC articles related to this phenomenon, confirmation bias, etc:

    Why is politics getting more tribal?
    In the US, for example, “very unfavourable” views of the other party more than doubled between 1992 and 2014, according to polls by the Pew Research Center. Fast-forward to 2016 and most – as opposed to just many – Republicans and Democrats view the opposition in deeply negative terms. Of nearly 5,000 people surveyed, over half believe the opposition is “closed-minded”, while around four in 10 are convinced supporters of the rival party are more “lazy”, “immoral” and “dishonest” than other Americans.
    Why are people so incredibly gullible?
    attempts to correct a myth have backfired so spectacularly, as the CDC found to their cost. Lab experiments confirm that offering counter-evidence only strengthens someone’s conviction. “In as little as 30 minutes, you can see a bounce-back effect where people are even more likely to believe the statement is true,” says Newman.

    The problem, she says, emerges from our deeply flawed memories. Correcting the facts “would work very well if we could play back our memories as if they were recorded on video, but years of research show the memory is not perfect – we fill in gaps and we lose information,”
    Would ya believe it?
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  15. #13
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    "Google to Penalize Pages with Intrusive Popup Ads Starting January"

    http://www.afterdawn.com/news/articl...paign=20160825

  16. #14
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    If someone like Lincoln gets his news from Facebook and Twitter, then we're in a bad way.

    I removed myself from Facebook six months ago (I never did the Twitter thing) as it was getting so bad. Don't ask me how, but I just knew when something was clickbait (actually, it's not really that hard). Trouble was, all my friends were falling for it and in the end I got tired of telling them.

    So now I'm Facebook-free, and guess what? My life hasn't ended!

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    There are no unbiased news sources any more (maybe it's impossible in the ratings-driven instant-information age) and if you're true to yourself you'll admit that when you think a news source is biased, they're usually not telling you what you want to hear.

    Having said that, I haven't quite decided where Breitbart fits into that notion.

    Years ago I worked for someone who was woefully unaware of the days' events. One day I asked him why he never watched the news or read a newspaper. His reply: "Why would I do that? It just depresses me". I thought it was an odd response back then but not any more.

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