Fake news is a global concern says BBC survey

To many people, the phenomenon known as fake news is something that’s moved beyond just a news item itself and into the realm of trust. With so much reporting and commentary about fake news, it’s no surprise that we’re placing greater importance on verifying the truthfulness of what we read, listen to and watch that is called ‘news.’ Whether it’s online or via the traditional mainstream media, or from companies, governments and others, we want to feel assured that what we encounter as news is real and not fake or propaganda. Take the image above, a snapshot from the news I saw earlier today in the BBC News app on my Android tablet. To me, some of the news items […]

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How to play your part in fighting fake news

Facebook News Feed

One of the scourges of modern connected times is the rise of so-called fake news, a phenomenon that’s invasive and pervasive and a driver of distrust about what you read, see and hear online as well as fear, uncertainty and doubt about the sources that publish it. And not only such reactions upon immediate discovery, but also the unwitting spread of fake news by those who publish, talk about or share such content without knowing it’s false. It’s not new by any means – in the pre-internet days, it was called propaganda. Today, though, with the vast connectedness with others we enjoy via the global internet, it is so easy to amplify falsehoods, wittingly or unwittingly, with a quick retweet […]

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How Twitter Works – a legal opinion

Royal Courts of Justice

Most reasonable people are aware that if you publicly publish something defamatory about someone else that is false, you can be sued for libel. If you lose the legal case, it can be expensive for you in terms of damage to your reputation as well as a financial cost. (Related: the difference between libel and slander in UK law.) And I’d add that most reasonable people are also aware that the same rules on libel apply to all methods of public communication, including online. So, for instance, if you tweet something bad about someone that’s false, they can sue you for libel. Which is precisely what happened in the case of Jack Monroe vs Katie Hopkins, the judgement of which was published on March […]

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Addressing privacy and fake news on the web: Tim Berners-Lee’s call to action

Tim Berners-Lee

The recent rise and spread of so-called fake news is a topic that’s generating a great deal of opinion on what to do about it. I’ve weighed in, too, in a recent episode of the Small Data Forum podcast. Now, on the 28th anniversary of the founding of the World Wide Web, its creator Tim Berners-Lee offers compelling perspectives on this contemporary phenomenon, outlining three challenges for the web and, as he puts it, what we must do to ensure it fulfils his vision of an equalizing platform that benefits all of humanity: We’ve lost control of our personal data. The current business model for many websites offers free content in exchange for personal data. Many of us agree to this but […]

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Commenting: A matter of perspective

Google Perspective

One of the great benefits offered by the social web is the open way in which people can connect, not only via the obvious means of social networks but also through engaging in discourse and conversation in the commenting sections of websites, blogs, etc. Open conversation and the sharing of different points of view are foundational activities for many online publications, from mainstream media sites to individual blogs. To many, enabling readers, visitors and communities to comment on articles, reports, posts, etc, is the whole point of being online: to engage in conversation; to surface different points of view and opinion; to foster connectivity between people that helps enable greater understanding of others’ perspectives, and advance the conversation. Over the […]

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