Investigating Fake News With Google, YouTube & Facebook

Tech bosses Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey were being questioned last week by politicians in the US Congress over the proliferation of disinformation on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook in the first such since the storming of the Washington Capitol building, which many believe will prove a tipping point for greater regulation of Social Media..

Specifically, the hearings are related to the Congress'  consideration of scrapping Section 230, the legislation that was crafted in the early days of the internet so that website owners could moderate sites without worrying about legal liability, by effectively saying that they are not publishers.

Because social media is a public platform, anyone, including news outlets, can post anything without being accountable for fact-checking and it left to users to distinguish misinformation from disinformation and plain lies in their feeds.  Academics and practitioners alike have asked why people share such misinformation, and sought solutions to reduce the sharing of misinformation

The sharing of misinformation on social media, including, but not limited to, blatantly false political ‘fake news’ and misleading and partisan content, has become a major topical focus of public debate and academic study.

Although misinformation is nothing new, the topic gained prominence in 2016 after the US Presidential Election and the UK’s Brexit referendum, during which entirely fabricated stories, which were presented as legitimate news, received wide distribution via social media. 

This is a problem that has gained even more attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. and the Capitol Hill riot following the 2020 US Presidential Election.  

  • First in the line of fire was Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg who favours limited reforms, going further than his two peers. "We believe Congress should consider making platforms' intermediary liability protection for certain types of unlawful content conditional on companies' ability to meet best practice to combat the spread of this content," he wrote. 
  • Twitter's Mr Dorsey said efforts to combat misinformation must be linked to "earning trust" from users by focusing on "enhancing transparency, ensuring procedural fairness, enabling algorithmic choice, and strengthening privacy".
  • Mr Pichai  referred to Section 230, saying repealing it "would have unintended consequences - harming both free expression and the ability of platforms to take responsible action to protect users in the face of constantly evolving challenges".

The truth and accuracy of news headlines has little effect on social media users' sharing intentions and sharing itself does not necessarily indicate belief. Most participants say it is important to share only accurate news, however to investigate this apparent contradiction, various surveys have been done and a field experiment carried out on Twitter. The results show that subtly shifting attention to accuracy increases the quality of news that people subsequently share.

Together with additional computational analyses, these findings indicate that people often share misinformation because their attention is focused on factors other than accuracy, and therefore they fail to implement a strongly held preference for accurate sharing.

Misinformation is problematic because it leads to inaccurate beliefs and can exacerbate partisan disagreement over even basic facts. Merely reading false news posts, including political posts that are extremely implausible and inconsistent with one’s political ideology, makes them subsequently seem more true

In addition to being concerning, the widespread sharing of misinformation on social media is surprising, given the outlandishness of much of this content.

What differentiates misinformation from disinformation is the intent of the person or outlet sharing it. In a study by researchers for from Indiana University, misinformation is classified as “false or misleading content including hoaxes, conspiracy theories, fabricated reports, click-bait headlines, and even satire.” Misinformation is not deliberately intended to deceive. Instead, it aims to shape or change public opinion on a given topic.

Indiana University:     Nature:      BBC:       NiemanLab:      MailChimp:      Image: Unsplash

You Might Also Read: 

Social Media Has Gone Global:

Easy Cyber Knowledge Chapter 3  - Social Media & Social Change (£) :

 

« Facebook's Internal Content Rules Revealed
CISA, NSA And The Dual Hat »

Quartz Conference
CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

NordLayer

NordLayer

NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses — from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security. 

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO is the market leader in HPE Non-Stop Security, Risk Management and Compliance.

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

Privacy Professor

Privacy Professor

Privacy Professor provides information privacy, security and compliance services, tools and products to organizations in a wide range of industries.

SealPath

SealPath

SealPath enables companies to protect and control their documents wherever they are: In their PC, in their corporate network, on a partner’s network, in the cloud.

AnchorID

AnchorID

AnchorID is a digital identity company that allows consumers to use a universal username, combined with smartphone authentication, to access sites and apps.

European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA)

European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA)

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) is a centre of expertise for cyber security in Europe.

AFCERT

AFCERT

AFCERT is the national Computer Emergency Response Team for Afghanistan.

Redicom

Redicom

Redicom is an independent consulting agency focusing on identity management, strong authentication and single-sign-on.

IGX Global

IGX Global

IGX Global is a provider of information network and security integration services and products.

AnubisNetworks

AnubisNetworks

AnubisNetworks is one of Europe’s leading threat intelligence and email security suppliers.

TUV Rheinland OpenSky

TUV Rheinland OpenSky

TUV Rheinland OpenSky offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolio of security solutions and services for connected devices, platforms and IoT.

Swiss Cyber Think Tank (SCTT)

Swiss Cyber Think Tank (SCTT)

The Swiss Cyber Think Tank is a business network for Cyber Risk & Insurability, providing an industry-wide networking platform for insurers, technology and security firms.

Cloudsine

Cloudsine

Cloudsine (previously Banff Cyber Technologies) is a cloud technology company specializing in cloud adoption, security and innovation.

24By7Security

24By7Security

24By7Security are Cybersecurity & Compliance Specialists with extensive hands on experience helping businesses build a defensive IT Infrastructure against all cyber security threats.

DataDog

DataDog

DataDog provides Cloud-native Security Monitoring. Real-time threat detection across your applications, network, and infrastructure.

Dashlane

Dashlane

Dashlane puts all your passwords, payments, and personal info in one place that only you control. So you can use them instantly. Securely. Exactly when you need them.

TatvaSoft

TatvaSoft

TatvaSoft is a custom software development company delivering business IT solutions and related services to customers across the globe.

CYDEF

CYDEF

CYDEF provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art cybersecurity protection that is accessible and affordable to organizations of any size.