Parting company with Facebook: Journalists working with the giant tech platform is a Faustian bargain, writes Mathew Ingram: “The benefits of doing business with Facebook don’t begin to outweigh the ethical compromises required to do so.”
Ingram asks: “How much of what you are doing serves (Facebook’s) interests rather than yours, or the interests of journalism, or society in general?”
Jail for defying data terms of service: D. Victoria Baranetsky notes journalists face possible penalties when using data from public websites like Facebook and Twitter.
No journalists have been prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, she writes, “but their sources have, and some journalists have been asked to stop using specific reporting tools by Facebook.”
Images and false portrayals: Rick Paulas reports that KTVU apologized for using an image from a murder victim’s Facebook account.
The news media often treat subjects differently according to race, writes Paulas, portraying black families as living in poverty and being involved in crime. This has “real-life consequences” and sways attitudes.
Hate speech defined as “a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity and serious disability or disease.”
The goal of its community standards “is to encourage expression and create a safe environment.”
Facebook says “we remove content, disable accounts and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety.”
Facebook guide to what to read, trust and share in News Feed:
Based on research, “we’re making it easy for people to view context about an article, including the publisher’s Wikipedia entry, related articles on the same topic, information about how many times the article has been shared on Facebook, where it has been shared, as well as an option to follow the publisher’s page,” write Taylor Hughes, Jeff Smith and Alex Leavitt.
Bias seen in Facebook coverage: Mathew Ingram writes that “at least some of the enthusiasm with which media companies are covering Facebook’s trials and tribulations stems from their resentment over how the company has stolen their readers and advertising revenue.”
Media executives failed to adapt quickly enough to the internet, and then in a desperate attempt to catch up, handed too much of their business to Facebook and Google, he writes.
The case for shunning hacked emails: Nathaniel Zelinsky calls for a “responsible journalism pledge” to prevent Russian from meddling in U.S. elections.
“Most reporters distance themselves from questions about the origin of information, so long as it remains verifiable, while tech companies tend to believe no one should restrict access to information on the internet,” he writes. “But at this particularly dangerous point in our nation’s history, reporters and Facebook alike just might be willing to embrace a new ethical obligation out of a sense of civic duty.”
Rumors, misinformation and fake news: Craig Silverman says he helped popularize the term “fake news” and now regrets it.
Silverman and colleagues published an analysis of 50 of the biggest fake news hits on Facebook in 2017.
“This highlights the challenge faced by Facebook to find ways to halt or arrest the spread of completely false stories on its platform, and raises questions about how much progress has been made in fighting this type of misinformation.”
Facebook “remains the home of massively viral hoaxes,” says Silverman.
Fake news might have proved more interesting to readers than the factual stuff.
This sobering thought has churned angst over whether social-media falsehoods contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential victory, not to mention whether the upset win could have been foreseen.
News consumers tend to believe reports that support their personal beliefs — an effect that psychologists call confirmation bias. People like to believe they’re right. In the election run-up, they clicked their way across the internet to prove it.
As President-elect Trump selects the people who’ll help him govern, observers are picking through the rubble trying to understand the forces behind a Republican victory. Here our concern is news-media accuracy and ethics.
Let’s start with something basic. What is fake news?
“Pure fiction,” says Jackie Spinner, assistant professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, appearing on WTTW-Channel 11 in Chicago in a “Chicago Tonight” program devoted to separating fact from fiction in internet news feeds.
“It’s something made up,” adds Spinner. “It’s fake.”