Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fake News and the Internet

"In America, the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." Oscar Wilde 1887
Interesting look at how "fake news" gets spread on Twitter - an analysis of 4.5 million Tweets shows that falsehoods are 70 percent more likely to be shared. The really interesting part for me was "when bot traffic was added back into the mix, the researchers found that these computer programs spread false and true news about equally." So it's not the bots - it's the people.

To me there's a simple explanation why fake news gets spread more than real news. If something is real then a person is more likely to read it because the topic is of interest to that person and maybe, just maybe share it if the person thinks his social group would also find the subject interesting. Fake news, o the other hand, probably gets spread more because of the "can you believe this?" or the "hey guess - CNN or The Onion?" aspect. Those Tweets count too. 

I like to think that this process is helping the younger generations to have their BS detectors honed at a younger age. Just after learning not to fall for the "I got your nose" gag kids will be learning to take any news story with a grain of salt. Hopefully it will make it much harder for the media or political parties to fool or mislead these generations than it was for older generations.

And hopefully those who learn to discern the truth for themselves will be the managers and leaders of the future. While those you never learn that "I got your nose" is a gag will learn to say "Do you want fries with that?"

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