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Facebook rolls out news verification tools to everyone in the US

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 14:15:00 -0400


Facebook has been fighting fake news for a while now, ranking "trusted" sources and demoting "engagement bait" stories. Last October, the company began testing a feature that provided information on article publishers to help people decide which sources were worth reading, trusting and sharing. Now the company is set to roll this out to everyone in the US, along with two more options to give you more context when you see a story in your news feed.

Source: Facebook

Google just made paying for the news dead-simple

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 12:05:00 -0400


Good journalism is worth paying for, full stop. As part of a larger plan to help valuable reporting thrive in an age where content is a commodity, Google unveiled a new tool for publishers called Subscribe that makes it trivial to -- what else? -- subscribe to premium news services.

Source: Google

BBC game helps kids lead the fight against fake news

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 08:20:00 -0400


The BBC wants the news consumers of tomorrow to understand and identify fake news, and has launched a game to help them do exactly that. The game, called BBC iReporter, puts young people in the shoes of a newbie BBC journalist about to break their first news story. Players must make all kinds of journalistic choices in pursuit of their scoop. Which sources should they trust? Where should they go to check their facts? Their objective, just like real journalists, is to deliver a tight, credible story against the clock, or face the wrath of their editor.

Source: BBC

Google Bulletin is powered by your hyperlocal news updates

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 14:20:00 -0500


Google has been toying with the idea of hyperlocal news for a while now. It tested Google Now cards back in 2013 that could display information as close as your neighborhood, for example. The company's latest take, Bulletin, is in testing as an app to create and instantly publish those hyperlocal stories from your phone. Currently only in early access in Nashville and Oakland, Bulletin encourages local journalists and everyday folk to capture a video, take a snapshot and build a story around events wherever they happen.

Via: Slate

Source: Google

Facebook, Google and others add trust icons to tackle fake news

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:27:00 -0500


More than 75 major news outlets have agreed to use Trust Indicators on their content in a bid to stem the tide of fake news. Facebook, Google, Twitter and Bing will display the indicators on their sites as part of a partnership with The Trust Project, which aims to promote authentic fact-based journalism.

Via: The Verge

Source: The Trust Project, Google, Facebook

Sen. Al Franken slams Facebook and Google's control of the press

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 10:31:00 -0500


Al Franken has again raised alarms about how Facebook and Google are misusing the "unprecedented power" they wield over how the public gets information. In a speech yesterday, he pointed out that while the firms control 75 percent of all news traffic referrals, both allowed Russia to interfere in US politics despite obvious signals. "The government has a responsibility to ensure that these corporations do not endanger our national security, our democracy or our fundamental freedoms," Franken said.

Via: The Guardian

Source: Facebook

Does social media threaten the illusion of news neutrality?

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:00:00 -0400


For journalists, social media can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share their opinion on a wide range of matters, from sports to politics. But at the same time, they have to remember to exercise caution, because whatever they say can be taken out of context and have major implications on the publications they work for. If a reader who follows your tweets or Facebook posts doesn't agree with you, that can motivate them to claim your entire newsroom is biased.

Facebook purges thousands of fake profiles ahead of UK election

Mon, 08 May 2017 07:05:00 -0400


Facebook has doubled its efforts to tackle fake news in the UK. As the nation heads towards a snap general election, the company has removed "tens of thousands" of accounts which it believes were involved in the spread of misinformation. The crack-down is attributed to new detection tools, first announced in April, which can spot suspicious patterns of activity, including repeat posting and sudden spikes in post volume. Tackling these bogus accounts will, as a byproduct, curb the spread of spam, fake news and other "deceptive content," Facebook claims.

Via: The Telegraph, Sky News

Wikipedia co-founder launches Wikitribune to fight fake news

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 04:36:00 -0400


Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales hopes to tackle fake news with a journalism outfit of his own. Wikitribune will be free to access and use crowdfunding to hire experienced reporters. They'll work alongside volunteers who can sub-edit articles, fact-check stories and suggest new topics for the site to pursue. "This will be the first time that professional and citizen journalists will work side-by-side as equals writing stories as they happen, editing them as they develop, and at all times backed by a community checking and rechecking all of the facts," Wales said.

Via: The Guardian, The BBC

Source: Wikitribune

Recommended Reading: Technology hasn't improved the airline experience

Sat, 15 Apr 2017 12:30:00 -0400


How Technology Has
Failed to Improve
Your Airline Experience

Farhad Manjoo,
The New York Times

It hasn't been a great week for United, but that massive incident served as a harsh reminder that the airline industry has a long list of customer service issues. The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo details how technology has improved ride sharing, vacation rentals and more while the process of booking a flight and air travel still leaves a lot to be desired.

Facebook buys newspaper space to combat fake news

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 09:18:00 -0400


Facebook has splashed out on a bevy of full-page newspaper ads explaining how readers can better identify fake news. As Bloomberg reports, the marketing materials appeared in Bild, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Die Welt -- among other dailies in Germany -- on Thursday, pushing 10 "tips" for parsing information online. They're timely, given the German government is currently debating a new law that would fine social networks which fail to act on the problem. Specifically, platform holders would be penalized up to 50 million euros (roughly $53 million) if they don't offer proper reporting tools, or refuse to remove illegal content.

Source: Bloomberg

Google will flag fake news stories in search results

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:43:00 -0400


Google is taking a stand against dubious and outright 'fake news' by introducing a Fact Check tag in search results. If you ask for information about a highly contested subject, Google will serve a page from a fact-checker site at the top of your results. It's a small breakout box, similar to how Google shows recipes and band discographies. They'll be pulled from publishers like PolitiFact and Snopes, and will show information about the claim, the person who made the claim, and whether they think it's true.

Source: Google (Blog Post)

Twitter triples suspensions of pro-terrorist accounts in one year

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:47:00 -0400


If it wasn't already clear that Twitter is serious about stamping out pro-terrorist accounts, it is now. The social network has posted its transparency report for the second half of 2016, which reveals that it suspended over 376,000 accounts for backing terrorism. That's triple the 125,000 it took down one year earlier, and a still-hefty 60 percent more than the 235,000 accounts it pulled in the first half of 2016. While some officials still don't think Twitter is up to snuff (it's not proactively reporting extremist material to police, the UK says), there's no doubt that it's considerably more aggressive.

Via: Recode

Source: Twitter

UK newspapers want Facebook and Google probed over 'fake news'

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 08:15:00 -0500


The UK's newspaper industry is calling on the British government to investigate Google and Facebook's role in the controversial rise of 'fake' news. Responding to an inquiry set up by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the News Media Association (NMA), which represents both local and national newspapers, advised MPs to call on both companies for questioning. Grilling representatives in person would, it argued, help ministers to understand how important news is to their business models, and how their algorithms are being manipulated by fake news sites.

Source: News Media Association

All opinions are equal in BuzzFeed's new comment system

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:27:00 -0500


President Donald Trump's election win was shocking to many, which seems to say that Americans understand each other less than ever. Part of this disconnect may be a lack of exposure to opposing viewpoints. That's what Buzzfeed seems to think, and it's addressing this problem with something called Outside Your Bubble.

Source: Bloomberg, BuzzFeed

The Engadget Podcast Ep 24: The Biggest Lie

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 10:15:00 -0500


Senior editors Edgar Alvarez and Devindra Hardawar join host Terrence O'Brien to discuss the biggest stories of the week, including Facebook's Journalism Project and the Emoji takeover of Monopoly. Then they'll talk about Volkswagen's massive settlement and pending indictments. Plus they'll try to recap Dieselgate without messing up the timeline.

Facebook's fix for journalism involves digests and subscriptions

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:22:00 -0500


Facebook's efforts to mend fences with journalists just got a formal name. The social network just launched the Facebook Journalism Project, an initiative meant to "establish stronger ties" with the news world. The program will have it working with journalists on new business models, offering journo-friendly tools and encouraging everyone to both read critically and fight fake news.

Source: Facebook

Facebook hires ex-NBC anchor to head news partnerships team

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:29:00 -0500


Facebook has hired former CNN and NBC anchor Campbell Brown to head its news partnerships department and help it deal with a spate of recent problems around its news feed. In the newly-created position, Brown will "help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook," she wrote on her Facebook page. The social network no doubt helps she can help deal with fake news, strained relations with media companies and other issues.

Source: Facebook

Twitter test makes Reader mode the default on iOS

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 12:44:00 -0400


For its latest experiment, Twitter has enabled the Apple-built 'Reader' feature by default inside its iOS app. As the Guardian reports, this meanssome, but not all users are seeing simplified web pages when they click on links contained within tweets. The option, which appeared in the mobile version of Safari back in 2011, removes the formatting found on almost any site, giving you a cleaner, arguably more readable layout. The drawback is that you lose the page's visual identity and sometimes, Safari will make a mess of it, giving you a broken or space-riddled article.

Source: The Guardian

Security writer recovers from massive revenge cyberattack

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 18:31:00 -0400


Journalists are no stranger to making enemies bent on retaliation. However, it's becoming increasingly difficult to survive that retaliation in the internet era... just ask security writer Brian Krebs. An unknown party knocked his website offline last week with a massive distributed denial of service attack (620Gbps of non-stop data) as revenge for exposing two major cyberattack sellers who've since been arrested. He's only back online after taking advantage of Alphabet's Project Shield, which protects journalists against censorship-oriented denial of service campaigns. His previous anti-DDoS provider, Akamai, had little choice but to drop him -- the company tells the Boston Globe that a sustained attack on that level would have cost the company "millions."

Source: Krebs on Security, Boston Globe

How a robot wrote for Engadget

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 13:00:00 -0400


John McCarthy, the late computer scientist who first coined the term "artificial intelligence," famously said: "As soon as it works, no one calls it AI any more." What was once cutting-edge AI is now considered standard behavior for computers. As I write this, my computer is continuously performing millions of tasks, caching files, managing RAM and balancing CPU loads. The algorithms behind many of these operations would have been considered AI years ago. Now it's just software.

Last year, I looked into how well neural networks -- programs that behave like a scaled-down version of your brain's neurons -- are able to write. My plan was to create a bot that could write articles for Engadget. As I discovered, we're not yet at the point in which such applications can think and write like humans, but they can do a reasonable job of writing readable sentences. As I noted at the time, some companies are using less "advanced" methods to produce content automatically. One such company is Automated Insights, whose tools are used by a number of companies to autogenerate reports, and also by the Associated Press to write articles about sports and finance.

I've been using one of Automated Insights' products, Wordsmith, trying again to make a computer write like Engadget. It's easy to argue that Wordsmith isn't AI. It doesn't use machine learning and neural networks, but it does work. And thanks to that fact, I've been much more successful in my mission to automate the art of the tech blog.

ThinkProgress joins Medium's growing list of publications

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 02:05:00 -0400


When Medium shifted its focus from independent writers to a more full-fledged blogging platform earlier this year, it nabbed an impressive lineup of small, but influential sites. Now Medium can boast its biggest addition yet when the liberal site ThinkProgress moves over to the platform next month.

UK tech and gaming magazines are banding together

Thu, 23 Jun 2016 09:10:00 -0400


It's no secret that most magazines are struggling to retain, never mind increase their readership. The medium isn't dead, far from it, but the ever-growing competition online is forcing publishers to rethink what they print. The latest strategy is, unsurprisingly, to create scale through consolidation. Future PLC, the company behind Edge, T3 and MacFormat, as well as the more online-oriented TechRadar and GamesRadar, is now acquiring its fellow magazine maker Imagine Publishing. The deal is worth £14.2 million ($21.1 million) and will be settled entirely through shares.

This is what Kobe's 20-year career in basketball looks like

Thu, 14 Apr 2016 08:30:00 -0400


Information is beautiful, none more so when data is combined with the power of the web to let us visualize the previously unseen. It's one of the reasons why data journalism is so engaging, since it helps show things that you would have otherwise had to trawl through mountains of spreadsheets to understand. This is one such example, the L.A. Times' breakdown of almost every shot Kobe Bryant took during his two-decade tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. Head on over to the Times' website and you'll be able to delve into the stats, with each type of shot, the game and the distance all included. Oh, except for two shots from the 2012-13 season which got missed by the NBA's shot tracking data. But hey, nobody's perfect.

Source: L.A. Times

Medium attracts The Awl and other influential publishers

Tue, 05 Apr 2016 13:41:00 -0400


Medium started as a no-fuss blogging site for passionate writers seeking good design and a larger audience. Over the last three years, however, the platform has slowly expanded and become a home for larger publications too -- both established brands and smaller ones conceived by Medium. Today, the company has announced that a whole slew of small but influential websites are migrating to its platform. These include The Awl, Pacific Standard, Femsplain, The Banana Boat, NewCo Shift and The Bold Italic. Time Inc's Money and Fortune magazines will soon follow.

Source: Medium