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Month: January 2017

‘Can You Hear Me?’ Scam Warning is probably fake news

‘Can You Hear Me?’ Scam Warning is probably fake news

Dozens of news outlets reported on a purported scam wherein fraudsters supposedly falsify charges by randomly calling people and asking ‘Can you hear me?’ Source: ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Scam Warning CBS News prompted the latest round of this story. As Snopes notes, no one can identify an actual victim of the purported scam. Of course, it is a good idea to say as little as possible to telemarketers. However, it might not be a great idea to share the…

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“Leaving Social Media Could Save Your Sanity”

“Leaving Social Media Could Save Your Sanity”

Definitely a growing trend: “I’ve been screaming my opinions at the world via the internet for a solid decade now. Back in college, I discovered LiveJournal, which I filled with movie reviews, shoddy political analysis, and snark (which I directed at other people on LiveJournal). Then Facebook opened up! And Twitter! And Instagram! And you could link them. I have now spent a solid decade getting positive reinforcement and criticism — at least someone cares! — from strangers online. But…

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“Fake news” targets those with preconceptions says study

“Fake news” targets those with preconceptions says study

Study finds it is doubtful that fake news changed vote outcomes. “It may be less that false information from dubious news sources is shaping their view of the world. Rather, some people (about 8 percent of the adult population, if we take the survey data at face value) are willing to believe anything that sounds plausible and fits their preconceptions about the heroes and villains in politics.” Source: Researchers Created Fake News. Here’s What They Found. – NYTimes.com The study…

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Republican runs fake news web site

Republican runs fake news web site

Cam Harris, who fabricated viral stories about Hillary Clinton, did so while living in the home of his boss, a Republican member of the Maryland legislature. Source: Major Fake News Operation Tracked Back to Republican Operative Also see “Man behind ‘alt right’ fake news sites is registered Democrat” For all of these, making money is usually the motivation. Secondarily, they may be playing dirty politics, but as the 2nd link illustrates, even that meme is messed up when fake news…

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The first story is the one that is remembered, even if wrong

The first story is the one that is remembered, even if wrong

TL;DR Summary A media outlet ran a story with the headline “”Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point Scholarship“, based in part on muddled comments from Ben Carson that were not clear. The false version of the story was picked up by media and spread rapidly on social media. The story was eventually shown as incorrect and prominent media called the story a “lie”. But the damage was done. Propagandists know that the first message received by the target, even if…

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U.S. cities fall behind in wealth measure! :)

U.S. cities fall behind in wealth measure! :)

TL;DR Summary From a design standpoint, this poster is effective. Readers likely see it, quickly nod agreement, and then click Like and Share! It uses simple statements with an authority figure as the source of the quote. Some of the claims are false or misleading, but they all seem plausible. The poster works by making assertions (some of which are not true) and using an appeal to authority. The poster was designed to appeal to the preconceptions of its target…

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Effective propaganda posters that do not actually mean much

Effective propaganda posters that do not actually mean much

TL;DR Summary President Obama selected as the most admired man in the world, per Gallup Poll of U.S. residents. Analysis: True! And it is good that the US President is selected for this, in this poll. Almost every year since 1946, the current sitting President has been identified by this Gallup poll as the most admired man in the world. Doesn’t matter who is in office (except for Gerald Ford – it sucks to be Gerald Ford, apparently). This works…

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“No, it wasn’t always on our money!”

“No, it wasn’t always on our money!”

TL;DR Summary The phrase “In God We Trust wasn’t always on our money” states the propaganda poster. This poster is both true and false, depending on how you define “money”. It has been on some coins since 1909, for example. The goal of the poster was to argue about separation of state and church (we think). It works due to (a) a true assertion, and (b) “What you see is all there is” and the viewer is not aware that…

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Employers use Facebook profile photos to screen applicants

Employers use Facebook profile photos to screen applicants

“The candidate with the most favorable Facebook profile picture received approximately 21% more positive responses to his application in comparison to the candidate with the least favorable profile picture. The difference in the chance to be immediately invited to a job interview even amounted to almost 40%. “ Source: Employers use Facebook (photos) to screen job candidates — ScienceDaily Those who were judged more attractive were more likely to have their job application move to the next step. The researchers…

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Growing trend to shut off social media

Growing trend to shut off social media

The need to have more Likes and views than others – plus the perpetual outrage culture present on social media – is having impacts: I wouldn’t say I was suffering from all of those dilemmas, but I knew many people who were. As fabulous as social media can be in terms of connecting people, it can also cause so much anxiety and unhealthy feelings….. Hit that delete button. I promise you, you’ll be glad you did, even if it’s only…

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Repost: Media and social media perpetual “outrage culture”

Repost: Media and social media perpetual “outrage culture”

I posted this previously on November 17, 2016. Social media and media messaging have turned our entire world into a culture of perpetual outrage: We have a media system that loves to yell and scream. It is basically its default setting. Forget deliberation and civil discourse, it goes immediately to outrage and cynical condescension, or in other cases, relentless and unprovoked shaming. And we, as the consumers and residents of this culture, have come to confuse all this noise and…

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False: Trump Administration deleted “Climate change”, “LGBTQ” from WhiteHouse.gov

False: Trump Administration deleted “Climate change”, “LGBTQ” from WhiteHouse.gov

TL;DR Summary The Daily Beast reported the Trump administration deleted references to “climate change”, “LGBTQ”, “health care” and “civil rights” and other topics from the whitehouse.gov web site. Fake news and “real” news web sites promoted the theory that these topics were deleted as part of an upcoming period of darkness under the Trump administration. My Twitter feed was absolutely filled with links to these stories. Reality: As part of the change in administrations, the U.S. National Archives archived the Obama record…

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