How to Fix the Fake News Problem

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This piece originally appeared at CNN.com.

Unfortunately, word count prevented a more in-depth description of the Digital Fairness Doctrine I’m proposing. Likewise, there are many nuances to defining “fake news” that have to go unaddressed in an OpEd this brief. I’ll elaborate on these points in a future post, when the semester is over and all the papers have been graded.

Can tall tales swing an election? That’s the question being asked today in conference rooms across the digital media industry.

After Donald Trump’s startling presidential victory, many are wondering if an abundance of misleading or simply made up news stories gave President-elect Trump the edge he needed to win. Critics are calling on media companies to regulate the spread of phony news reports. Already, platforms like Facebook and Google have announced plans to curtail fake news by revising their algorithms and user policies. But will such changes really improve the trustworthiness of online news?

First, some perspective…

Read the rest at CNN.com

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Is Social Media Turning You Into a Zealot?

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This piece originally appeared at CNN.com

Have you heard? Hillary Clinton is dying of Parkinson’s disease. Also, Donald Trump thinks the United States shouldn’t have stopped the Bosnian genocide. Angry mobs of “Bernie bros” are hurling chairs at Democratic staffers. And President Obama, who smells like sulfur, is followed everywhere he goes by a swarm of flies.

These are fake statements, pulled from the bowels of the internet. Can you tell?

If you get your information from social media, the world is an almost supernaturally dark place these days. Our feeds and timelines are jammed with outrageous and incredible accounts that prove what we all already suspected: our political opponents are crazy. Maybe some of them are downright evil.

The good news is that much of what you read via social media isn’t true. The bad news is that more and more people believe it is…

Read the rest at CNN.com