He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right.
"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction," Coler says.
So in this case, the fake news was created by the left to discredit the alt-right, rather than by the alt-right to promote their views. Oh man. I don't think this tactic can lead to anything good. I hope we don't get to the point where it's really just all out information warfare... and it seems like we're already halfway there.
I would say that this individual who was a liberal tried to do this. This isn't like a group of leftists conspiring to do (anti-)propaganda. It is pretty stupid, and his continuation of it is extremely confusing.
Sorry, but a side rant to the more "entrepreneurial" startup-cats who browse here. Would you consider this fellow and others like him an entrepreneur? I ask because there is talk in the article that he is one. Even if you take him at his word that he is trying to highlight the problem of disinformation rather than profit off of it, it seems quite suspect to me.
A good analogy here is a cook serving spoiled food to highlight healthy and safe cooking habits, regardless of who it hurts. It makes no sense.
People do not care about the truth.
+ Fake news goes viral.
+ Medium tells people that the ones who passed away still love and talk to them.
+ Religion in general.
+ Advertisements about medicines with fake doctors.
+ Advertisements in general.
+ Sensationalized scientific breakthroughs.
And then there is a lot not true, but it is at least within a context clear that it is not true, like fairy tales and literature. All the other examples are however disinformation and people doing business using it.
Sounds pretty entrepreneurial to me.
Even on Hacker News?
Aren't there "entrepreneurs" who repeatedly fail?
My interpretation of entrepreneur is someome who fails with other people's money.
The one you described is just a business person.
But then why didn't he stop when that didn't work? I would guess that it's just a way to try to rationalize his shady business to himself.
I agree it was a terrible idea.
We live in a world where the Daily Mail is the most-visited English language news web site and people are using fucking toasters to launch DDOS attacks.
The internet has gone to hell. We've already lost.
Places like HN are rare these days. If there is anything similar, please let me know.
If, however, you don't think there are echo chambers here, you might want to look again.
The parameters are just different here.
The echo chambers here tend to be related to > surprise, surprise < technical stuff, and things can get pretty heated and occasionally mean. Fortunately there is a lot of self-policing here, but on some topics you might notice excessive downvoting of non-inflammatory opinions that simply run counter to what the herd is thinking.
People might not care about your gender/religion here, but they do focus on other attributes. I've seen people marginalized or dismissed as not being "real programmers" for using a glossy screen, PHP (not so much now, but PHP debates were really bad a few years ago), etc.
On any given day, you'll find some people who think that Microsoft/Google/Facebook/Apple/etc. are crooked and evil and will never change their opinion. On the same note, you'll also find people who think Apple/Tesla/Elon Musk/etc. are infallible.
More recently, if you look at the debates over the whether the new Macbook Pro is "pro enough", you'll see a lot of comments to the effect that "it's [not] like that for me, so it must [not] be true for you/everyone else [either]", which is pretty similar to the bubbles people sit in the non-HN world too.
But yea, aside from the tech-centric bubbles and biases, the intellectual climate here is pretty refreshing compared to Reddit, Twitter or FB.
This is what I was trying to say in my original comment. I guess I got a bit too hyperbolic :)
My point is, of course it feels comfortable amongst like minded people. But don't extrapolate that to mean this is somehow a special place that's uniquely accepting of all opinions. If you don't believe me, do what the guy in the article did, and play devil's advocate in a few comment threads here.
HN has a hard liberal slant. There are a lot of bleeding hearts in SV, so not much of a point to bring political views into tech discussions.
I try to avoid any "technical" convos on what people fear may happen when legislation doesn't even exist in the planning phases yet.
Too many irrationally scared people to have those exchanges.
I don't believe that to be true. Firstly "Hacker News" isn't a coherent whole, and also in any politically charged discussion here there are always diametrically opposing views.
Edit: The Trump thing, from my perspective, seemed to get wrapped up in one post and then people moved on.
I'm with you on the Tesla worship.
There are some detractors.
And I think there's a lot of people here who, like myself, don't have much to add to the conversation and keep quite.
There are pretty diverse political views here. I don't know if you remember all the HN discussions on Brendan Eich's political donations a while back, but things got pretty heated on both sides. The for and against arguments pretty much drowned out any opinions in the middle.
I'm sure the people on alt-right forums feel the same way about their fellow posters.
Alt-right forums have a specific agenda, the former would have none. I see HN in that regard, but that's just me.
> But the agenda of HN feels to me like "have productive, civil discourse, in a generally pro-technological advancement vein"
I agree with this. That is why I'm here. But here we also have a lot of censorship and imposed moral and behavior rules frequently unfair toward some types of discussions or arguments.
I used to enjoy Google+ for the same reasons. The crowd was smarter, geekier and seemed a far cry from the Facebook swamp. Unfortunately in the last 6 months or so G+ has been infiltrated. This place and a few subreddits are all I know of.
We now have a pop Internet. I too was optimistic years ago that it might not become crap, but I think we are just seeing the reality here.
Make no mistake, it's always been all out information warfare. The difference now is that the new messengers are not high ranking government or business people and the medium is faster and easier to penetrate.
In the past you had to have background, credential and access to get your word into one of the few mediums available, Radio, TV or Print. Now all you need is to make something look good enough and find the right audience.
If you look at evolution, it is just a fight over whose genes get passed over to the next generation. Genes are just biological encoding of information. Viruses are almost entirely strands of DNA, that is until they find a host cell to infect their information with. In a way it is all just information warfare.
Much like the mistakes made recently by the established political class in over emphasizing the predictive power of their metrics even as the world itself spins further and further away from them.
Vox even did an article on conspiracies and why they flourish on the right more than the left. Essentially it's low trust, highly engaged people versus lesser engaged people. If you don't trust anything, and you're consuming "knowledge", you're going to latch on to conspiracies.
 Or at least, that's what they want you to think.
If it is true then I would guess the reason is the relative lack of conservative media in America vs say the UK. In the UK if you want to get viewpoints from the extreme left and right just pick up the Guardian and the Express and read both. In the USA it seems harder. Are there any mainstream conservative-leaning newspapers? Whenever I see the term "conservative media" used in America it always means Fox News which is only a TV channel. Breitbart seems to be tapping into that market segment but again, it's not a newspaper.
If you have right wing views and have figured out that there aren't any media outlets that subscribe to your worldview, I can see that this would very easily look like a generic conspiracy and that in turn would breed receptivity to fake right-wing news simply because there are so few places with good reputation where such news is likely to be covered.
Umm... Hold on while I register a few sites...
Denounce those stories by making $30k a month as a spammer ? that's how this guy "denounces the alt-right" ? and NPR buys that argument just like that ?
My value judgement is that this is a terrible way to make money and it is unfortunate blatant lies are not somehow slander, despite it being about a prominent individual. The rolling stone was held liable for their false article about sexual assault. I wish this guy could be as well.
He duped millions of people.
When I heard this story yesterday, I started wondering how many people's views were actually changed by these outlandish stories (the FBI agent found dead with apparent links to the clintons comes to mind). My guess would be that many of those who devoured this sort of story were only confirming their previously held biases about the corruption of the clintons--they just enjoyed having more reasons to hate them. I would also suspect that along the edges of this population, let's say people who are open to either party but have faced economic challenges over the last 10 years, there might be a cumulative effect of reading headlines like this every day on Facebook, even if you don't read the articles and assume they are fake. Something subconscious that holds more weight that a simple opinion post by a friend. Trump himself used a variation on this idea by simply parroting unfounded accusations, fake news headlines, and conspiracy theories to brand Hillary as a criminal. And maybe that effects all of us, to some degree. In an election where 1% swings in a few states could have changed the overall result, these effects may have been very important.
I do think that FB, Google and others have the responsibility to prevent fabricated news stories from spreading like cancers.
How about they actually investigate and find out whether he is telling the truth or lying ? This isn't passing judgement , this is actual reporting. So he was lying back then but now he is telling the truth and "journalists" should not pass judgement ?
They don't have to engage in finger-wagging in order to be reporters.
They failed to debunk what he said.
> They don't have to engage in finger-wagging in order to be reporters.
Oh, now actual reporting is "finger-wagging".
How? He's making a claim about his motivations, how do you expect them to investigate that?
Yes and no. I suspect those people would have voted for Trump anyway.
I just got done reading The Righteous Mind (https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Relig...). After reading it, my default view on all these things: The final outcome is set in their mind, and they are merely looking for any reason to justify it.
(I mean, sure, things are elastic. His articles do play a role - just not that much).
It doesn't take much either way.
In the key states, if only 1 out of 100 Trump voters went for Hilary, she would have won by a larger margin.
Had she won, we would have been talking about how sanity prevailed, etc.
But the reality is the race was close enough that it doesn't make sense to have a narrative about why either person won. It was close enough that you cannot say this person made a significant difference or not.
If that sounds counterintuitive, think of it this way: List all the reasons you think Hilary failed (and not just external factors - include her own party's shortcomings).
Any one of these being improved could have resulted in a win for her. To single out one entity and blame him is silly. She lost because the race was close and she did not do all she could to win. She didn't lose because one person was spreading fake news.
Those in power have been there for all of our lives. J. Edgar Hoover only died in 1972 and his practice of information warfare was well in place by then. The "halfway" you speak of is in the citizen's awareness that anybody can be ratfucked and that they're going to need to be able to protect themselves. Maybe there should be a 2nd Amendment for data, packets, or internet connections in general.
The thing to remember -- and this comes before the time there was a net -- is that the vast majority of people are nice, socially intelligent, and well-meaning.
What the net is doing is convincing us that those in the out-group are simple-minded fools being led around by evil demagogues. That is not the case.
But the net is not doing that because of bad people on the net. The net is doing that because humans are predisposed to consume lots of content that tells them this. The fault is internal to each of us. The net is just automating the ability of content providers to take advantage of it.
I would have a hard time taking a guy who's the "godfather of fake news" at his word. Who's to say he isn't making this all up?
I honestly thing we're headed for full-blown Strossian memetic warfare. The amount of high-level shilling this election cycle (both professional and amateur) was unreal.
And what happens when a group comes along that REALLY DOES have absolutely crazy views? "Oh well, that was discredited, but that group doesn't ACTUALLY believe the (minority group here) are the cause of all our problems. That's just some fake news designed to discredit them. I like some of the less crazy articles by these guys. I think I'll still vote for the (actually batshit crazy neo-nazi party by another name of 2032)."
And although the term has a very tinfoil hat connotation "false flag operations" have also been a thing for millennia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag Even young children understand the logic of "I will do a thing and try to make it look like someone else did it."
>But it also creates an environment where you can't ever actually know what any group thinks.
You never could really. At best you could get a vague approximation that was hopefully not inaccurate in any way that would bite you in the ass.
And as French people have a very high proudness of their free speech policy, it's then very hard to oppose without being called a vile censorship supporter...
I found most fascinating - in a horrible way - the exchange he had with a conservative radio host (http://www.hughhewitt.com/donald-trump-makes-return-visit/):
HH: I’ve got two more questions. Last night, you said the President was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.
DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.
HH: But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.
DT: I don’t care. He was the founder.
DT: If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS.
The problem here is that he's saying a) Obama IS the founder of ISIS, and b) Obama created the conditions for their rise. One of these is reasonable (in the sense that it can be discussed) and one is clearly nonsense.
Which means that he can claim to his supporters one thing - the crazy one - and then defend himself against critics by pointing to the saner version and cry 'sarcasm!'. It's like the phrase "talking out of both sides of your mouth" but at the same time.
I'd blame George Bush moreso for removing bathist military folks from their jobs and banning them from government....the long term ramifications of that were insane.
> HH: I’ve got two more questions. Last night, you said the President was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.
You could infer from this that HH is trying to limit the President's culpability - a difference of "happened on my watch" vs "I am directly responsible".
> DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps DT's objection is over the implication from HH's statement, rather than to be taken literally. He goes on to temper his statement - the President had a "very important role", etc. Outside of this context, DT's objection is not very coherent, but that's the nature of a (presumably) unscripted, antagonistic interview. Case in point, HH blunders in their retort:
> HH: But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.
This objection is moving the goalposts. You can be a founder of something and hate it - the founder can be displaced, the "something" can change course, etc. You can tell HH is reading into what DT is saying - HH seems to think that DT is pushing a "the President is an ISIS sympathizer" narrative, which isn't at all indicated by DT's words, and he immediately disagrees:
> DT: I don’t care. He was the founder.
In thinking about this interview and how I just overanalyzed it, I reached a frustrating impasse. It would certainly be great if DT had the eloquence of Obama, and his statements were well-crafted and not so open to interpretation. On the other hand, relying too much on the eloquence of politicians leads you into a hole of "empty talk" - they say a lot of words, take no positions and after analyzing their response you realize it lacks any substance.
DT does not conform to the standard mold of a politician, so I think it's difficult to try and analyze him through it. He will eventually become President, and be forced to make decisions - actions are much easier to evaluate than words.
Ok, but Trump disagrees with you: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/12/donald-trump...
> Perhaps DT's objection is over the implication from HH's statement, rather than to be taken literally
Perhaps all sorts of things. That's the problem - throughout the campaign all sorts of Trump surrogates found themselves saying "What he actually meant was...".
> It would certainly be great if DT had the eloquence of Obama, and his statements were well-crafted and not so open to interpretation
It's totally fair to be suspicious of well-crafted statements of career politicians and prefer the "honest simple speech" of outsiders. I'm not sure that's a good description of the way that Trump talks, however.
It's impossible to prove, but I believe that he deliberately speaks ambiguously to serve his own purposes - which is the opposite of honest speech.
> He will eventually become President, and be forced to make decisions - actions are much easier to evaluate than words.
This is very true. And who knows, he might do great things - I'm not hopeful, though.
And so after the gullible rubes swallowed his bit of fake news hook line and sinker, he ran to tell the world.
All in all, it's an interesting bait and valuable lesson. Who knew you could make so much money like that? I guess now the train is gone and it might hit very hard a lot of blogs/new newspapers who try to get into the industry for being fake.
Your AdSense account's value is getting higher, folks!
See also: the complete HRC campaign.
You liked the Green Bay Packers, a gun owners group, an old 2008 Tea Party video, live 60 miles outside of a city and between 40-65? Not only is that profile there, Facebook ads will tell you almost exactly how large your reach is.
This is nothing more than information arbitrage, and that the unit economics from advertisers hasn't quite caught up yet. It's what allowed Buzzfeed to exist in the first place, and ultra targeted startups like Teespring to grow, by training a small part of the crowd to become content creators. Moreover, traditional content creators like NYTimes don't even understand how much they are being undercut cents-to-words.
You work out the funnel conversion, hope for some organic spread, and just pump things out. In a few years, this whole thing could be automated and AI generated to sway elections and public opinions. All you need is a training dataset for the targeted population's underlying views and beliefs.
Imagine a startup trying to do this at scale, growing 10% week over week or something insane. At this point it's basically going to match the velocity of information across online networks of people.
If this becomes a positive feedback loop where readers start to accelerate the spread after becoming radicalized - this becomes a social virus.
Legislation is a rather complex sport that requires deep understanding of repercussions.
I've seen rather skilled blockchain hackers talking economics, finance, politics and monetary policy. Their understanding of the current system (in terms of structure) was appalling. One needs to know the role of central banks before bashing them.
I am afraid that your average engineer will make a pretty incompetent legislator. So let's leave legislation to legislators... :-)
I disagree. Aside from a few highly political engineers and/or software devs, almost all engineers I know insist on actually looking at the facts and evaluating them to the best of their ability, regardless of their political inclinations. This is a very rare characteristic in our society, and I can't help but to believe it's a very virtuous trait to have for a legislator.
Most engineers also aren't inflicted with the lust for power and status like so many (most?) attorneys I know.
Most engineers also have a pretty rare ability to listen to and to accept criticism. That's not always something legislators can boast of.
I think we need more scientists, engineers, software professionals, etc. in our political system, not less.
Also, what exact lack of understanding in terms of "structure" of the current system did you find appalling in those blockchain hackers? Can you be more specific?
Communist governments were super big on STEM and still implemented the same horseshit policies and woo woo beliefs.
>Most engineers also aren't inflicted with the lust for power and status like so many (most?) attorneys I know.
In the west, engineering doesn't attract those types. In other countries where its the quickest way to make buck? Hell yeah!
>I think we need more scientists, engineers, software professionals, etc. in our political system, not less
I think we need a bigger guild like organization with a lobby. Not some industry sponsored group either.
This is an excellent counterpoint. You're totally right that in many countries (former communist countries, particularly, as you say), STEM educated elites often were the top officials.
However, it doesn't detract from my point that in this country, we would benefit from more scientists and engineers in government.
> I think we need a bigger guild like organization with a lobby. Not some industry sponsored group either.
This may help us with professional issues, but it likely won't help our system of government.
I've been watching the various attempts at improving education in America and it smells
Exactly like what india/china have.
There's many details but broadly there's 1 major forces that shape this
1) as normal jobs dry up/stop paying a good wage, it puts a downward pressure on education in things like politics/English/arts/philosophy and so on. This means people shift to the only hope left - STEM
Talking to people on forums from America who were exposed to multiple streams (and not just STEM) I can say you guys have historically enjoyed a deep insulation/resilience to stupid ideas/half baked ideas. Because you had people with diverse information, you could always stop a neophyte engineer from executing a shortest path solution with costs not apparent to engineers.
Once you have no jobs left for those people, parents will force their kids into the only options left.
This saturates the system with posers - people who pretend to like engineering but would rather be psychologists, painters, marketers or any non technical job.
This overloads and blows the fuses in the higher education application process, which forces them to adapt by adding more criteria and stricter criteria to get in.
The kinds of engineers you produce tomorrow are going to be unconcerned with being engineers. They are engineers to finish their first job stint and get an MBA.
Ethics become a word and a course you waste your time on, because if ethics mattered you wouldn't be an engineer in the first place.
Any system proposed needs to build with this in mind. I think simply making it useful to have multi discipline knowledge will be a way to maintain Your cultural resistance.
Sorry if I'm rambling
Although admittedly in america, our lack of stem focus partially comes from the cult of money. Brilliant would be scientists and inventors are financially pushed towards the business, law, & finance fields.
It helps keep keep engineering well paid which is nice....but I suspect we've could have advanced much further if half the traders and quants on Wall Street were in an innovation oriented field.
Reminds me of a guy from a top comp science program getting paid to be basically a secretary in a finance firm.
And they won't be, until they get a taste for them.
The saying "power corrupts" exists for a reason, because it's true. Very few people in history have been able to resist the temptations that come with it and stay true to their principles.
You haven't had enough to know what it's like...
- How currencies are created by a population or state?
- How currencies are adopted/enforced to/by a population or state?
- What is the role of a central bank in a modern economy?
- How if the "Chair of the FED" appointed?
- What is the inflation rate?
- Why does a central bank get to decide the inflation rate?
- Why exchange currencies (e.g. USD, EUR, etc) are inflationary?
- What is democracy? (by extension is it in the best interest of a democracy having a CB-backed currency or a virtual currency?)
- Can a player with vast amounts of shares/bitcoins/USDs fix the price of the stock/share/btc?
- Can money be a-political?
> I think we need more scientists, engineers, software professionals, etc. in our political system, not less.
Two examples of technocratic governance are (A) Greece and (B) Economics/Finance:
(A) In 2015 Greece has been turned officially into a colony. In essence it's been a colony since 2010. All major political decisions are taken from a technocratic board. Basically the Greek govenrment acts as the executive branch. The legislative power been delegrated to a supranational authority, which 60% of Greeks rejected btw. The technocratic board, known as 'Troika', has done mistakes. While the IMF will issue a sorry we made a few mistakes statement and go home, people in Greece have to live with the consequences for the years to come. No Greek politician is capable of inflicting such MASSIVE amount of pain to an economy without getting a glimpse of hope in return, none. Only a technocrat can do that. Of course technocrats (much like neo-liberals or communists) will say that you're not technocratic enough, but this simply doesn't hold water: there's theory and practice. Practice shows that they've screw up massively, so massively that by the time they end-up with Greece, Greece may very well have been turned into a military-state of the worst kind.
(B) Currently finance relies on non-realistic financial models, to justify toxic asset risk dispersion/assessment. This dominance of mathematics in Economics (The queen of social sciences) has been going strong for the last 40 years or so. The problem is not that top university educated economists are not good with formulas. Some of those guys make rounds around your average engineer. The problem is that in order to explain social reality through a mathematical model they start accepting generilizations which are simply NOT true.
So in the end of the day, you have a mathematical model which is out of touch with reality and 2008 happens, Trump happens, Brexit happens... All these things happened because of the mathematicalisation of economics.
I think post-2008 it's really hard to argue replacing social sciences (and I believe legislation is a very social science, economics too) with technocratic counterparts. Everyone should have a say, but the final decision on social matters, should rest with social sciences.
Sadly, so does your average legislator.
We can no longer separate legislation from engineering. We need a way to get people who are good at both, whether that's training engineers as legislators, training legislators as engineers, or something else.
It's easy to see what he's referring to here, and thus, he demonstrates that he's captured by fake news as well, and doesn't even recognize it. Half-truths or intentional misreading of things Trump has said are bread and butter of the left wing's fake news organizations.
As a side note, he succinctly explains with what is wrong with a coincident push by the same people, banning of certain viewpoints off Twitter. Oh well it's a private company, and they can run it how they want! Your free speech is not being violated. But as he just admits, these private entities are extremely powerful brokers of speech, and what they decide stays and goes has a very large impact on society. But, consistency is not the strong suit of these people. It is entirely whatever argument works at the time.
Yes you can and more
For a lot of the news categories Google thinks or knows I like, I get tons of headlines from questionable news sources, and the last time I looked, their preferences wouldn't let me blacklist repeat offenders from showing up in my main headlines feed.
You're not meant to buy it. You're meant to be envious of it. The target market is purchasing your envy. See Veblen's _Theory of the Leisure Class_.
DUI lawyers make bank on each DUI case (5k-20k+) so the price per click averages near $50!!!!!
What we are doing here is creating a collective fantasy world where the opportunity to steer the fantasy is traded on an open market. Now you get feedback loops and the whole thing spirals out into a kind of collective psychotic episode.
If it goes far enough we end up with substantial parts of our population living in pure fantasy worlds... and making decisions that unfortunately affect the real one.
But perhaps then AI could also be used to reveal such practices and shut them down.
All you need is a training dataset for the targeted population's underlying views and beliefs.
is not as easy as it looks.
Would you mind expanding on the Buzzfeed part a little? I don't really understand.
He wants you to believe that he tried, but he just couldn't get the left wing to fall for it. But anybody who has used Facebook as seen how popular AddictingInfo-org is, and it is an overtly left wing fake news site. It's not remotely the only one.
The fake news reporting is itself filled with fake news. And it's easy to find marks because after the election, many people need to find a scapegoat so they are turning off their critical faculties. The current complaining about fake news is a mirror image of the right's disrespect of the "mainstream" media. For instance all the reporting on the Trump-Russia covert email server communication matches the formula for fake news, it took a nugget of truth, twisted it, and tried to ride the lie long enough that by the time it was exposed as nothing, the election would be over and the "damage" done. But it wasn't fake news I guess because the outlet has to be small and the target and victim were reversed. Anybody looking at that should reasonably be upset about "fake news" but it's categorically ignored by the left. You are not inhumanly wise and immune to the effects of incentivized bias.
Listening to the audio of the interview, I couldn't help but hear him say the above with a sneer. He claims to be a registered Democrat, maybe it's true, but since this is how he makes his living, he clearly doesn't give a fuck in either direction. It's something I detect from a fairly large portion of supposed alt-righters online: they don't actually believe that the racism and fascism they're espousing is righteous or good for them/humanity, but they just don't give a fuck. Years of living with their main source of socialization coming via disembodied interactions in the ether of memes, cynicism, shock material, etc of 4chan and reddit has driven many to a deep and true nihilism. This guy is the one eyed king troll in the land of the emotionally blind.
I suspect you'd need a right leaning person with a similar background writing left bait fake news to have the same impact though. Write fake news about charter schools doing something bad (charter school puts LGBT students in detention) or fake churches doing bad (church in Idaho found funneling funds to Trump campaign) or fake doctors doing something the left would find atrocious but believable (medical clinic in Utah refuses to help unwed pregnant teens unless they agree to marry)
I say that because I know lots of traditionally left leaning people who believe all kinds of unscientific stuff with the same fervor as the "religious right". Auras, Rieki, Astrology, Homeopathy, Chakra, etc...
One factor is probably that the majority of newspapers (both left and right leaning) endorsed Hillary. If you wanted news that confirmed your decision to vote for Trump, you turned to alternative "news" media. Those were more likely to run fake news.
Another factor is that Trump was actively encouraging his supporters to reject traditional media and was promoting conspiracy theories himself.
In fact, the media was casting doubt on the authenticity of the leaked documents. MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, dutifully informed viewers that the transcripts "haven't been authenticated." (When referring to a leaked Goldman Sachs speech.)
Clinton said in front of the 66 million TV viewers of the second presidential debate, "The Russian government [is] directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election and WikiLeaks is part of that.."
The emails were either hacked or they're not real. Nobody has ever complained about their fake emails being hacked.
Outlets spent more time talking about how despicable the Russians were yet ignoring, for the most part the content of those emails. For example, one of those emails was Clinton campaign chair talking about "Needy latinos." Not a single word printed in the Times, the Washington Post or any mainstream media outlet. However, Trump says something 20 years ago and it becomes front-page news for literally a week. Given that one of the themes of this election was "racism" -- the characterization of the two people to which Podesta was referring would be considered relevant considering claims of racism were being made against Trump.
However, imagine if a "reputable" news organization dug into the Clinton Foundation's apparent irregularities with the gusto with which they covered Trump's purported sexual harassment.
For example, The Daily Beast published a story in October called "All of Donald Trump's Accusers: A Timeline of Every Alleged Grope." Now to their credit, they did use the word "alleged," however, if you look at their coverage of the Clinton Foundation, they were almost apologetic. For example, "Hey Hillary, It's Past Time to Shut Down the Clinton Foundation. It does great work. But in political terms, it's an albatross."
The writer then goes on to complain about how Judicial Watch is scrutinizing the Foundation. The entire point of that piece and those similar is that the Clinton's should shut down the foundation because it's red meat for right-wing investigation and thus politically unhelpful. Not a single word about the allegation of pay-to-play or any number of ethical issues (such as the Foundation paying for Chelsea's wedding..) Interesting that only Fox and the NYPost reported this, despite this being hugely unethical and probably illegal and germane to the question of Hillary Clinton's trustworthiness and ethics as well as interesting to the IRS as well as donors who ostensibly are donating to charity. Jenna Bush drinking underage in Austin during the Bush administration got more coverage on CNN than what approaches embezzlement by Chelsea Clinton.
The purpose of this comment is to point out that those on the right who are typically targeted by fake news are so gullible to it because there is a large percentage of stories in the mainstream media that are anti-conservative yet there ARE substantial stories that the media either ignores or glosses over when it comes to the left. Chelsea Clinton potentially embezzling millions of charitable contributions is a huge story that at least warrants investigation. Sanders supporting DNC activist Seth Rich gets murdered, the media calls it a robbery despite nothing being taken, yet no enterprising reporter seems interested in digging any deeper?
What that means is that there is a market demand for more information about the stories that are hinted at but aren't fully reported. The left, on the other hand has plenty of well-reported anti-right news to read with mainstream outlets, thus their appetite for information is mostly satisfied.
As far as emails go, you can check out politifact for the sources that have been used to say that the Russians were involved:
It is a fact that that is the statement for Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as well as many other agencies (17, which you can see listed). I'm noticing here you have left off the beginning of the quote, without putting a […]. The beginning of the quote is "Our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the". While Hillary has lied in the debates and has been called out for it, there is no doubt that the above is a truthful statement, that is the position of the US intelligence community.
And yes, claiming that oh, maybe they aren't real is a bit disingenuous. Of course some fake stuff could be slipped in, but given the lack of major revelations within the emails, it seems pretty doubtful. On the other side of the coin, your story here is that there was so much dirt in the emails and the foundation, etc, but it wasn't widely reported, so the right resorted to fake news instead? That makes zero sense to me. If there is dirt that the media failed to report, why bother making up fake news?
Reading into your links, I can see why people resorted to fake news. Take the Clinton Foundation paying for weddings, living expenses, etc. The WikiLeaks email discusses an investigation of a alleged wrongdoing, not a wrongdoing itself. I'm sure there are Trump campaign emails where they discuss the alleged rape of a 13 year old. Would you think such emails are proof? No, of course not, it makes perfect sense for them to discuss the allegations and (then) pending trial. In the case of the Clinton Foundation, the discussion of allegations was 4 years ago. Did something come of the allegation? I haven't seen anything. The reason it wasn't reported is that it's a non-story. You can actually go and read the financial reports of the Clinton Foundation (something you cannot do of the Trump foundation incidentally).
The other big issue here is that fake news has not only been enormously popular on the right this election cycle, it has been leveraged by the campaign, including Trump (such as the "Blumenthal" quote) and his children. Donald Jr being particularly susceptible to retweeting fake news.
Not proof, but an interesting analogy: The relative success of right- and left-wing talk radio. Right wing talk radio is a huge industry, left-wing is practically nonexistent. Maybe it points to an asymmetry in how left- and right-wingers consume information. Granted, it could also be related to other factors such as having spare time for listening to talk radio, or having a job that doesn't require much concentration.
And the quality was just never there. While I have no use for Limbaugh, I respect that he delivers a quality product to his audience. In contrast, the liberal shows just seemed half-assed.
I'm pretty far to the left, but outrage propaganda turns me off. I also just don't react to the news in a tight feedback loop. I'm open minded, but being open minded means come back in a decade and see if my opinions have changed.
But still, if one assumes that the left gets information from newspapers and the right from talk-radio, it would support my thesis that there are left-right differences in consumption of information, making it plausible that there are also left-right differences in the consumption of fake news. There's en entire industry (advertising) devoted to exploiting measurable differences in how identifiable groups of people process information.
I think since they target a more educated consumer, they go more upscale than sensationalist yellow journalism.
Seems obvious to me, he started with that intent, thought that obviously the stories would be discredited and the people who bought it would be shamed.
It sometimes happens to organizations that promote an Onion article as real. It does a lot of damage to their reputations.
Then that didn't happen and he made a lot of money. He was disgusted by how stupid everyone is, liked the money and justified it to himself that he's conning money from gullible rubes who are bad people.
I don't know this guy, but I know more than one person just like him.
At the time I was completely bewildered as to the motive behind this, but I can only assume that it's the ad money, as paltry as that would seem. Coler's protestations notwithstanding.
If we've learned anything from the twentieth century its that corrupting the public discourse like this can lead to the slaughter of millions and the downfall of whole societies. This man and those like him deserve harsh punishment.
There's a similar interview here, with another left-winger who claims to be making "satire" and is more outwardly racked with guilt than this man, but who is also still cashing the adsense checks:
Also, slaughtering millions in the 20th century was usually the job of a big government in a big country and I have difficulty recalling that "fake news believers" or any kind of people actually voted for a war or went on the streets in favor of a war.
And practically always before and during these wars the governments regularly shouted "fake news" on everything that didn't fit their narrative.
I'm sorry if this seems like exaggeration or scaremongering but I find these stories terrifying far beyond the election of donald trump.
>the governments regularly shouted "fake news"
This is another aspect of what I'm talking about. Once you break the good faith assumption of truth speaking in the public sphere, it becomes a vicious cycle as nobody is incentivised to speak truthfully.
Of course the press has always been used to manipulate the public, but this seems categorically different. The people who are writing these stories are shamelessly fabricating them, as opposed to uncritically republishing information fed to them by authority figures. This breaks down interpersonal trust in society in a way that simply pushing the government line doesn't.
Therefore having a wide spectrum of media is IMO desirable, even if it means fake news. The problem starts when the state regulates the media because that's when having only one (government friendly) source of information starts.
Finally, I think, the problem is not the liars but the acting believers. If you fall for such a lie, fine you are entitled to think whatever you want. However, if you act on it (by threatening or committing violence), then you become a criminal. But that part is already covered by current legislation.
It doesn't matter who the problem is, it only matters how to solve it. Claiming the mainstream media is lying ("lying press"/"Lügenpresse") and sowing distrust in traditional sources of truth was one of the tactics that helped Hitler rise to power. I don't know how to prevent this tactic, but the current approach of letting people just blatantly make shit up and push it as truth isn't working very well. It's very possible that it's the least bad approach, but we should at least consider the alternatives before concluding.
What was one of major factors in bringing down the Soviet Union - was information campaign of which Radio Free Europe was a major part. While, indeed their policy was dissemination of truth. Undoubtedly it would have been seen as "fake news" by the Soviets.
While I have no idea what is the solution to this problem, I am pretty sure that censorship is the worst thing we can do.
Also consider - that the main stream media conglomerates have recently justified "fake news" sources by doing a horrendous job themselves.
The Rwandan genocide was in many ways a grass roots movement - Most of the killing was perpetrated by normal everyday people using farm implements and the like. It was also incredibly efficient. 800,000 people killed in just 6 weeks - more efficient than the Nazi Holocaust. A big reason for that was the unfiltered radio, spouting hate speech and misinformation, rousing ordinary people and priming them to commit extraordinary, unspeakable acts.
Or would the censorship actually help the perpetrators? I.e. by shutting down "fake news" reporting about the ongoing genocide?
I used to be a news junkie. The amount of junk I would see from proper news organizations was eye-opening. Sure - not at his level - much more subtle.
When there is not enough skepticism, people like him are a guaranteed outcome. By taking things to the extreme, he did expose how flawed our approach to the news is, and how little standards we have for journalism.
To be honest, if people become skeptical of most news media because of him, that's actually a good thing.
Ha! He's hired some shady SEO company to write those. You can buy "spun" articles by the hundreds from black hat forums. I wouldn't be surprised if they were actually written by some poor Indian. No way can he pay 25 writers with $20-30K/month. It's just a get rich quick scheme, a spammer, but one that destroys a lot of public value in order to profit a little.
Maybe he spins them too, but getting huge amount of unique content cheaply is trivial if you don't care much about the quality.
FB has some hide buttons. Click it and up pops a menu. Click Hide Ad. Up pops a dialog asking Why don't you want to see this? Choose It's not relevant to me. This is followed by a Thanks dialog. And after it's hidden, it's not hidden. There's a grey box saying and asking You won't see ads like it. Undo?
FB also doesn't have some hide buttons. For suggested pages, I was getting a completely offensive German page. There was not way to hide it. And it showed up regularly. To be clear, I don't speak German and I really wasn't interested in what the page was purveying.
Their iPhone app is even worse.
If there's anyone from Facebook reading this, y'all are idiots.
Google News is pretty much the same. Frankly, everyone is pretty much the same.
I should be able to click hide or left swipe and it's gone. And no, I don't want to answer a quick five minute customer support questionnaire. Y'all don't like Ad Blockers? Well, I don't like not being in control of what's in my face.
But they should use hide clicks to determine whether to show that entry to others. I can imagine there are sophisticated ways of doing that. But it starts with that vote and right now FB, Google, basically everyone, is saying:
We don't want to give you that vote.
We just want to give you this ad
because that's what we're getting paid for.
Too bad I was not smart enough to get into this business.
I wish he would be more honest about it. I am pretty sure he's just doing it for the money. I don't blame him. That's good money.
The moral and ethical dilemma of it is kinda murky. Is it really his fault people are so stupid?
This is one of many examples of the dialog where this individual is speaking for others while ironically indicating he's running a "business". The fabrication and willful spread of disinformation is a powerfully disruptive behavior.
Truly they just get a thrill from getting a rise out of someone (and/or there's an economic motive, as is the case here), but they're able to post-rationalize it as a helpful service to their victims. They're pointing out areas of weakness; or they're playing 'devil's advocate'; or they're demonstrating the folly in engaging with an unreasonable person.
One of the things I find most frightening about people is that, generally, we all think we're the good guy.
Also the justification for nuclear proliferation. . .
What this needs is a click-baitey headline to make it go viral on the Right. Something like "You won't believe how this liberal guy made $$$ scamming conservatives!".
The entire raison-d-etre of the "alternative right" websites is that conservative views are being suppressed in the entire leftist-leaning media establishment. If anything, liberals missed the entire ideological wave by pitting their heads in the sand, until it hit came back to bite them.
Post an inaccurate article about evil Monsanto(and ignore its bigger gmo competitors) or the long dead debeers cartel(diamonds aren't pricy because of debeers).
The load of horse shit on gun controls blows my mind.
I'm glad you spent the 120 seconds of your life enumerating the ones that work over and over and over again. I wasn't even going to bother.
Left/Right just have different triggers that shut their brains down and make them believe what they're told without any thought whatsoever.
What that turned into was a state representative in the House
in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from
using their food stamps to buy marijuana based on something
that had just never happened," Coler says.
Coler, a registered Democrat, says he has no regrets about his
fake news empire. He doesn't think fake news swayed the
However, Coler insists this is not about money. It's about
showing how easily fake news spreads. And fake news spread wide
and far before the election. When I pointed out to Coler that
the money gave him a lot of incentive to keep doing it
regardless of the impact, he admitted that was "correct."
One example of a false speech review was the stolen valor act. Lot of doors left open here; http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/the_first_amendment_a...
I sort of think epistemological pollution is an externality of being stupid/gullible that we should make people liable for.
Laziness is pretty difficult to operationalize, but if you were literally too lazy to feed your children that would be a form of criminal negligence. So we do, to an extent, already do this.
Depending on who's judging, this comment could get you in some legal trouble if those laws existed.
Flawed people adjudicate and enforce laws. Because they are people. Forgetting that is dangerous.
This has nothing to do with power, and everything to do with a setting minimum legal bar for due diligence below which an individual can be held accountable in a court of law.
SNL would have been charged just this week.
Its almost like the people who put free speech protections in place educated themselves on power, history and law and then thought about it for a bit.
A viable free press was also meant to be a check agains power. I'm afraid of eroding that more than protecting the ability to lie.
Btw, the SNL example was a cheap shot, obviously parody is protected speeech and is totally different legallly.
Maybe it's a good idea not to unfriend your [Wrong side] voting facebook friends and relatives, but to keep your network diverse. At the very least you won't be as utterly shocked when [Wrong side] wins, even though absolutely no one you know would ever vote for [Wrong side].
We have a society that has been taught:
0) Truth is bad, honesty is a sin
1) Intellectualism is bad
2) Your feelings are as valid as facts
3) [Wrong side] are actually evil
4) [Wrong think] is as bad as murder/rape
5) Do whatever is required given the above
Lawlessness, riots, class struggle, fake news. It all seems a logical extension of what we're being taught.
Point 0 above might seem a little odd to you. So ask yourself: what is the dominant mode of communication in society today? Get up, walk around, observe who is telling you what. Remember, billboards, magazines, TV, salesmen, politicians all count.
Also, ask yourself how long anyone's political career (or even just regular old career) would last if they were honest and truthful 100% of the time?
While these small fake news creators deceive us through outright misinformation, big news corporations deceive us through priming.
If you repeatedly draw peoples' attentions to the same concepts and ideas over and over again; they will incorporate these ideas as part of their core belief system and it will cause them to block out real information which opposes those ideas.
Small independent 'news' creators just don't have the necessary scale to leverage priming effects, so they are forced to resort to outright 'sensational' misinformation to push forward their agendas.
I think that fake news is important for society, just like religion; sometimes the intention behind the text is more important than the actual information content within.
https://www.wired.com/2016/10/wireds-totally-legit-guide-rig... was from before the election and claimed that it would be virtually impossible, would require a conspiracy of thousands to get past all the safeguards, and was ridiculous.
https://www.wired.com/2016/11/hacked-not-audit-election-rest... after the election claims that actually, it's well established that they're hackable, and that the audits are so ineffective it's almost as though they're designed not to detect hacking.
Two completely contradictory positions, both backed up with an arsenal of facts and expert opinions and presented
as definite truth. All that changed is that the idea the election results could be hacked became anti-Trump rather than pro-Trump.
I would be cautious about outright filtering content without giving user some way to set thresholds. It feels like handing way too much power to the algorithm. I want to make the final (informed) decision on what to read and what to believe.
Have they? I got to admit I used to think this too. But in the past few years I've had quite a few occasions to talk to the media due to them covering a topic I happen to be (publicly) knowledgeable about. I've been quoted in a lot of media stories in various highbrow outlets. So I've been approached by journalists a whole bunch of times for stories.
However, I have never been approached by a fact checker. If news firms were routinely doing fact checks, I'd expect to see
1) Way fewer obvious mistakes that could be detected with 60 seconds Googling
2) Fact checkers emailing me as part of cross-checking stories they're doing on my area of specialism
But I see (1) a lot and (2) never. I've also never heard any journalist refer to fact checkers or tell me to expect my statements to be fact checked, or actually seen any evidence of these people existing at all.
He just said that because he don't want to be the bad guy in front of the reporter and his family.
Yes this story false. What's not false is that a DNC staffer was found murdered in DC and nothing was taken from his pockets right after the DNC email leaks. Assange suggested he was the source and offered up a $25k reward.
Otherwise, it is ineuendo: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Democratic_National_Com...
Some suggestions from John Bothwick Jeff Jarvis.
I particularly like #4. "Make the brands of those sources more visible to users".
If that's meant to imply that NPR publishes fake news, either you're a poorly done troll or you're exactly the sort that those fake news sites are targeted to. Just about everything "news" coming out of NPR can be well sourced, though that may be harder to do for investigative things like this story. Even for this one though I suspect there's enough information in the story to allow a qualified investigator to duplicate or verify their work.
He's probably just one of the contributing writers.
A demographic who are neophytes....