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Fake News: A Case Study

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Source: by Shelly Palmer

Real fake news articles feature fabricated stories crafted to push a particular agenda. In most cases, the thesis of the article is supported by alternative facts (lies). But there are more subtle, more insidious types of fake news. Specifically, articles that might pass a cursory fact check, but have been written to espouse a point of view unintended by the original author. Here’s a quick case study that demonstrates the technique and clearly illustrates why it will be nearly impossible to stop.

Last week I wrote a relatively popular article entitled “Facebook: Ministry of Truth?” It was published on my own website, as an opinion piece on LinkedIn, and in the digital opinion section of AdAge, where I am a weekly contributor. The thesis of the article is that in my opinion, Facebook’s idea to survey its users about the trustworthiness of any particular news source is misguided. I stated the problem, cited examples of what might go wrong, and offered a solution.

A few days later, a pull quote from my article appeared on Yahoo News in an article entitled “Facebook admits social media threat to democracy” by Rob Lever for AFP (Agence France-Presse, a French news site). Mr. Lever’s name is not linked to anything, and if you use the search box on afp.com, his name does not yield any recent results. That said, he’s easy to find on Google, and he looks like a pretty busy writer. He’s verified on Twitter, and he has a solid profile on LinkedIn. By all accounts, he’s a professional writer. But is he a trustworthy journalist?

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UN chief issues 'red alert,' urges world to come together in 2018 to tackle pressing challenges

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“On New Year's Day 2018, I am not issuing an appeal. I am issuing an alert – a red alert for our world,” said the Secretary-General.

“As we begin 2018, I call for unity. […] We can settle conflicts, overcome hatred and defend shared values. But we can only do that together,” he expressed.

Recalling that last year he urged that 2017 be a year for peace, the UN chief noted that unfortunately – in fundamental ways, the world went in reverse.

Perils, including deepening conflicts and new dangers emerged, and global concerns over nuclear weapons reached the highest since the Cold War, he added.

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