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Month: June 2018

Reporter resigns after falsely saying shooter wore a political hat

Reporter resigns after falsely saying shooter wore a political hat

Berry’s apology came after his earlier controversial tweet, in which he posted an image of the president’s “Make America Great Again” hat and implied that Jarrod Ramos dropped one on The Capital Gazette’s newsroom floor before gunning down five people Thursday. The tweet has been removed. … Berry lamented that his tweet “feeds the warped minds of people who think we wake up every day and try to push an agenda.” Source: Springfield Republican reporter resigns after tweet about Maryland…

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Facebook, Google accused of tricking users on privacy settings, making privacy difficult

Facebook, Google accused of tricking users on privacy settings, making privacy difficult

According to the BBC, the Norwegian Consumer Council use several tricks to push users away from selecting privacy enhancing options, and instead, trick users or force users into sharing more information than they may want. The social media companies make selecting appropriate privacy options difficult, provide options that give only an “illusion” of privacy, make selecting enhanced privacy a more difficult process than selecting little privacy, and leave out information so that users are unable to make informed decisions –…

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Another explanation for why propaganda works so well

Another explanation for why propaganda works so well

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.   Bertrand Russell The most effective propaganda generally leverages and works off of…

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The main purpose of social media is to spread disinformation?

The main purpose of social media is to spread disinformation?

Is the main purpose of social media to spread disinformation? Sure seems so, whether intentional or unintentional. Yesterday, our local Sheriff’s Office spread disinformation on Twitter with a goal of encouraging safe driving (definitely approve that!) But they did so by using a logical fallacy linking bike and pedestrian accidents to cellular phone usage, a conclusion that is false per the reference they cited in their tweet. Because viewers of the tweet learned something that was not true, viewers became…

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If its on social media, it must be true …

If its on social media, it must be true …

Appeared on Facebook. It’s a misquote, taken out of context, says Snopes. (June 28th – the original post has been replaced and rewritten with the following) Violence broke out at a protest over removal of Confederate related statutes at a protest in Charlottesville, VA. Trump said: “I think there is blame on both sides,” the president said in a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had…

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The joy of living in a fact-free world of official government propaganda #Cellphone #Crashes #Propaganda

The joy of living in a fact-free world of official government propaganda #Cellphone #Crashes #Propaganda

WCSO is the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. They put out this social media poster on Twitter, regarding cell phone usage / distracted driving and fatalities. They cite ODOT Crash Analysis & Reporting, 2015. But check the details. Per the ODOT report just 1 of the 73 pedestrian fatalities was linked to cell phone usage (see page 18, fatal pedestrian accident data). 0.7% of all accidents and 0.5% of accidents having a fatality were linked to cell phone usage. Most people…

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News: Being overly dramatic

News: Being overly dramatic

The Intercept published an article about likely locations of NSA voice and data intercept equipment located in AT&T “central office” network switching locations. They’ve promoted the article on Twitter with this poster: Electronic equipment does not need a windowed office with a view. Duh. They are kept in “fortress-like concrete structures” because they are designed as critical infrastructure keeping our voice and data systems running in the event of natural disasters. “and behind their fortified walls” … because we actually…

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40% of social media users deleted at least one account in the past year

40% of social media users deleted at least one account in the past year

A lack of trust in websites like Twitter and Facebook has prompted 40% of people with social media accounts to delete at least one of them in the past year, new research by public relations agency Edelman found. Source: Nearly half of social media users deleted at least one account in the past year

News: The difference between percent and percentile

News: The difference between percent and percentile

This is a frequent error in news reports: In 2015, Frappuccinos were 14 percent of Starbucks revenue: Year-to-date, however, the drink’s sales are down 3 percent — and now account for only 11 percent of the company’s revenue. Source: Starbucks has a ‘void in innovation’ and healthy beverages won’t turn the tide 3 percent of 14 percent is 0.4 percent, not 3 percent. What should have been written is “sales are down 3 percentile points“. As dictionary.com says Never leave…

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Political misinformation is harder to correct than health misinformation – especially among the educated

Political misinformation is harder to correct than health misinformation – especially among the educated

We have covered this phenomena before. The first information people receive, even if subsequently proven to be incorrect, is what stays in people’s minds. This is one of the reasons that propaganda based on lies is often successful. It is very hard to refute erroneous propaganda statements. New research indicates that corrections have a moderate influence on belief in misinformation. ….“The alarming growth of misinformation and the limited repercussions for non-institutional actors for knowingly or unknowingly misleading the public turned…

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News: They don't care about accuracy

News: They don't care about accuracy

Clarke, club president of CARE, said his interest is transmitting using LP or “low power” apparatus. John Laybourne, vice president of the Rogue Valley Amateur Radio Club, used a high-power 10,000 watt setup needing a gas-powered generator for the off-the-grid event. Source: In era of Wi-Fi and LTE, ham radio enthusiasts don’t mind a challenge | The Columbian Depending on license class, band and geographic location, the limits are 5 watts, 50 watts, 200 watts or 1,500 watts peak-envelope-power, not…

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News: How poor reporting becomes propaganda

News: How poor reporting becomes propaganda

Reporters and statistics rarely work well together: In 2018, the average premium on the exchange was $5,798.83 and for 2019, companies are proposing to sell products with an average premium of $6,274.08. Source: 2019 insurance on the Obamacare exchange in Ohio will increase | cleveland.com An average provides useful information about a random distribution – ACA premiums are not a random distribution. ACA premiums are a non-linear distribution. When prices are across a non-linear curve, the average tells us little…

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News: Click bait versus actual news headline

News: Click bait versus actual news headline

I’m so old, I was taught that a news headline encapsulated a brief summary of the news article. Today, the purpose of a headline is to act as “click bait”. This screen capture from Google News illustrates the concept – the one at the bottom is the “old school” approach. The past week has seen a flood of “news” reports about immigration issues-some were mostly correct yet some, may be many, were poorly researched, left out context, and were intended…

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