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Facebook to roll out new tools to tackle fake news

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2016

A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

 

Facebook Inc. said on Thursday it will introduce tools to prevent fake news stories from spreading on its platform, an about-face in response to rising criticism that it did not do enough to combat the problem during the U.S. presidential campaign.

The social network company stressed that the new features are part of an ongoing process to refine and test how it deals with fake news. It has faced complaints this year involving how it monitors and polices content produced by its 1.8 billion users.

Facebook said users will find it easier to flag fake articles on their News Feed as a hoax, and it will work with organizations such as fact-checking website Snopes, ABC News and the Associated Press to check the authenticity of stories.

If such organizations identify a story as fake, Facebook said, it will get flagged as “disputed” and be linked to the corresponding article explaining why.

The company said disputed stories may appear lower in its news feed, adding that once a story is flagged, it cannot be promoted.

A few weeks ago, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said it was a “crazy idea” that fake or misleading news on Facebook helped swing the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump. But criticism persisted amid reports that people in the United States and other countries have fabricated sensational hoaxes meant to appeal to conservatives.

Critics said fake news often was more widely read than news reported by major media organizations.

Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, Facebook users saw fake news reports saying Pope Francis endorsed Trump and that a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead.

The effort by Facebook is intended to focus on the “worst of the worst” of clear hoaxes created by “spammers for their own gain,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president in charge of its News Feed, said in a blog post.

Some far-right conservative writers quickly pounced on the announcement, decrying it as a covert attempt to muzzle their legitimate content.

“Translation: A group of incredibly biased left-wing fake news outlets will bury dissenting opinions,” Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large of the far-right website Infowars, which routinely peddles unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, said on Twitter.

Facebook has struggled throughout the year to mollify conservatives who fear the company may be censoring them. The company fired contractors who managed the site’s trending news sidebar after a report by Gizmodo in May quoted an anonymous employee claiming the site routinely suppressed conservative news.

On Thursday, Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for U.S. public policy, met with President-elect Trump at his Manhattan tower. — Reuters

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US students focus on media literacy to learn how to differentiate real news from propaganda and hoaxes

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

At Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, 12th grade students comb through news articles and social media content over their laptops.

Using a digital curriculum called Checkology developed by Bethesda-based non-profit News Literacy Project, they are learning to differentiate between news and opinion, propaganda and satire.

Their teacher, Patricia Hunt, uses current news affairs such as immigration and government shutdowns, as well as social media posts and TV shows to teach them signs of a fake or legitimate news item.

The explosion of social media and a rise in fake automated accounts called bots that spread false information like wildfire during the 2016 presidential elections was a wake-up call to ensure the fight against fake news was equipped for the digital age.

“They’re not exposed in the same way to mainstream media like i grew up with. They are really prone to the trappings of these fake news websites or just social media in general. What is legitimate and what is not legitimate. They really need exposure and they need those skills,” says hunt,” said Hunt.

In 2017, eleven states, including Virginia, California, New York, and New Jersey, have introduced or are considering bills that would introduce media literacy skills into the classroom.

The term ‘fake news’ gained currency as a buzzword during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Alan Miller, the News Literacy Project founder has been working with students since 2009, teaching media literacy skills in after-school programs in New York, Washington, and Chicago.

“It’s the technology, the profound technological changes and the way that people — the access they have to information and the challenge of sorting the informational wheat from the chaff, that have really made this such an urgent matter,” said the founder.

Miller says Checkology, launched in May 2016, now reaches hundreds of thousands of students in 81 countries, with more than 11,000 educators in the United States alone, who have registered to use the virtual classroom program.

“if somebody that’s ignorant of the facts that’s going on in the world right now can become really fearful, then that stops them from going out and speaking up for themselves and their community,” said Salvador Posas, a student. — Reuters

 

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U.S. to modernize nuclear capabilities with an eye on Russia

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 5th, 2018

Concerned about Russia’s growing tactical nuclear weapons, the United States will modernize its nuclear ‘triad’ – land, sea, air – capabilities, top Pentagon, and state department officials said on Friday.

Some critics said the decision could increase the risk of miscalculation between the two countries.

“We call on all states possessing nuclear weapons to declare or to maintain a moratorium on nuclear testing. Going forward, we are also eager to increase transparency and predictability to avoid miscalculation among nuclear weapons states and other possessor states. That includes re-establishing the conditions necessary for greater trust with Russia, and improved transparency with China as it expands and modernizes its nuclear forces,” said Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Tom Shannon.

It represents the latest sign of hardening resolve by President Donald Trump’s administration to address challenges from Russia, at the same time he is pushing for improved ties with Moscow to rein in a nuclear North Korea.

The focus on Russia is in line with the Pentagon shifting priorities from the fight against Islamist militants to “great power competition” with Moscow and Beijing.

The rationale for building up new nuclear capabilities, U.S. officials said, is that Russia currently perceives the United States’ nuclear posture and capabilities as inadequate.

“We must keep America’s deterrent credible by making it modern. The 2018 NPR [Nuclear Posture Review] calls for modernizing the nuclear triad and command and control system, which is necessary, affordable, and long overdue. Our nuclear triad has kept us safe for over 70 years. We cannot afford to let it become obsolete,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

The Pentagon’s NPR, which is largely in line with the previous review in 2010, said the U.S. will modify a small number of submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads with low-yield options. — Reuters

 

 

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Newly appointed PNP spokesperson vows to fight fake news

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018


MANILA, Philippines – The newly appointed spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) admits that the position he is now handling poses him a big challenge.

But on his first day as the voice of the PNP, he promised to fight fake news and propaganda.

PNP spokesperson and PNP PIO chief PC/Supt. John Bulalacao believes that information is powerful, and asks for the help of the legitimate media to fight for fake news.

“Information that is properly managed is a reflective of leadership that is not only responsible, mature and accountable but also one that conveys integrity, sincerity, and clarity of vision and purpose,” Bulalacao said.

He said it is important to help the public distinguish the real news from those who just want to deceive.

Bulalacao added that he will be more transparent and open to the public.

“We should be able to help the public in distinguishing truth from propaganda, facts from fake news, objectivity, and impartiality, from sensationalism and demagoguery,” Bulalacao said.

Prior to his appointment, Bulalacao served as the regional directorial staff of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

He also served as the deputy director of the Logistics Support Service and Chief of Staff of the Civil Security Group, Assistant Chief of the Firearms and Explosives Office and as Provincial Director of Cavite.

Bulalacao is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Maringal Class of 1988. – Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

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