Google working to counter “fake news” and other fake stuff

Google wants to give higher priority, in search results, to authoritative sources. However, no one outside of Google knows what “authoritative” means nor how Google determines that information is “authoritative”.

How’s Google learning from the data to figure out what’s authoritative? How’s that actually being put into practice?

Google wouldn’t comment about these specifics. It wouldn’t say what goes into determining how a page is deemed to be authoritative now or how that is changing with the new algorithm. It did say that there isn’t any one particular signal. Instead, authority is determined by a combination of many factors.

Source: Google’s ‘Project Owl’ — a three-pronged attack on fake news & problematic content

Fake news, fake search results, fake online product reviews – everywhere we look, people are gaming the systems.

Fake news fools about 75% of the time

In a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for BuzzFeed News, 71 percent of self-identifying Democrats surveyed mistook fake news headlines for real stories. Those who identify as Republicans fell for the false headlines at a higher rate, with 84 percent of those surveyed believing they were true.

Source: The fake news stories that fooled liberals in 2016.

Read the original report here (UPDATE: This link goes to Buzzfeed, which confirmed in Jan 2017 that they lack traditional media editorial standards and publish items they are unable to verify as authentic.)

Critically, those who view “Facebook as a major source of news are more likely to view fake news headlines as accurate”.

Fake news is often written as satire, but sometimes it is produced as propaganda. The general goal of most fake news, however, is to drive eyeballs to advertisers. Indeed, that is the goal of much “mainstream” news reporting too, particularly today where every click on every web story is closely monitored, data mined, and used to shape future reporting.

Fake news successfully fools both right and left:

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The role of fake news sites in social media stupidity amplification

Many of the fake stories conservatives are tricked into sharing have been deliberately planted by the left to make fools of us.

Source: The Left is Busily Planting Fake Red-Meat Conservative News Sites | The Stream

Similarly, many of the fake stories published by Occupy Democrats are used to trick liberals into sharing and making fools of themselves (see prior posts on this topic).

We’ve written about this before and this also illustrates how the MSM does the same thing, as click bait, noted in the prior post.

The emotional jolts per minute metric – and no one cares if its fake news

TL;DR Summary:

  • TV news, especially, but print news too, relies on a concept of “emotional jolts per minute” to engage their viewer or reader.
  • An emotionally jolted viewer or reader is more likely to retain the story in their head.
  • An emotionally jolted person is more susceptible to advertising messages, which is good for the business.
  • The Washington Post ended their Internet meme fact checking column because they discovered that no one cares if the meme is false; as long as it agrees with their preexisting bias and ideology, it must be true!

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