How false news can spread – Noah Tavlin


There’s a quote usually attributed
to the writer Mark Twain that goes, “A lie can travel
halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Funny thing about that. There’s reason to doubt
that Mark Twain ever said this at all, thus, ironically, proving the point. And today, the quote, whoever said it,
is truer than ever before. In previous decades,
most media with global reach consisted of several
major newspapers and networks which had the resources
to gather information directly. Outlets like Reuters
and the Associated Press that aggregate or rereport stories
were relatively rare compared to today. The speed with which
information spreads now has created the ideal conditions for
a phenomenon known as circular reporting. This is when publication A
publishes misinformation, publication B reprints it, and publication A then cites B
as the source for the information. It’s also considered a form
of circular reporting when multiple publications report on the same initial piece
of false information, which then appears to another author as
having been verified by multiple sources. For instance, the 1998 publication
of a single pseudoscientific paper arguing that routine vaccination
of children causes autism inspired an entire
antivaccination movement, despite the fact that the original paper
has repeatedly been discredited by the scientific community. Deliberately unvaccinated children
are now contracting contagious diseases that had been virtually
eradicated in the United States, with some infections proving fatal. In a slightly less dire example, satirical articles that are formatted
to resemble real ones can also be picked up by outlets
not in on the joke. For example, a joke article in the
reputable British Medical Journal entitled “Energy Expenditure in Adolescents
Playing New Generation Computer Games,” has been referenced in serious
science publications over 400 times. User-generated content, such as wikis, are also a common contributer
to circular reporting. As more writers come to rely
on such pages for quick information, an unverified fact in a wiki page
can make its way into a published article that may later be added as a citation
for the very same wiki information, making it much harder to debunk. Recent advances
in communication technology have had immeasurable benefits in breaking down the barriers
between information and people. But our desire for quick answers may overpower the desire
to be certain of their validity. And when this bias can be multiplied by
billions of people around the world, nearly instantaneously,
more caution is in order. Avoiding sensationalist media, searching for criticisms
of suspicious information, and tracing the original source
of a report can help slow down a lie, giving the truth more time
to put on its shoes.

100 thoughts on “How false news can spread – Noah Tavlin”

  1. Sometimes it's circular reporting. Sometimes it's Poe's Law. Sometimes it's user generated content. And sometimes it's an autocrat intentionally interfering with international news in an attempt to distract global superpowers from his expansionist agenda. Just putin that out there.

  2. Person: This man recently died from cancer
    Anti-Vaxxer: Was he vaccinated
    Person: he got his flu shot recently
    Anti-Vaxxer: See, vaccines cause death as proven by this man

    Pls show to anti-vaccine people

  3. There is one five-letter name starting with a T that everyone who saw this is now thinking about.

  4. This is the age of clickbait where the most clicks in the least amount of time takes preference. Additionally now any website can quote a tweet and peddle it as news

  5. Commoner English:

    Well, We Are Here Now, Flat Earthers

    Special English:

    Well Well Well, Visualize The Overly Challenging Point Towards This Moment That We Exist On The Metaphorical Speck In The Sun’s Thermal Energy, The International Society Of Plate Shaped Planeters

  6. It says that AP and Reuters are aggregators. My understanding is the opposite; they report and others use their materials [under contract]. Here is a suit brought by AP precisely against a group that took their reporting without permission. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/03/25/285909.htm Clarification?

  7. Fake news is spread through operation mockingbird and news agencies like fox. Cnn. Wsj..tyt. pbs…npr…bbc… ect 80)

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  9. Os canalhas e as mídias a serviço de interesses escusos. E todas as bandidagens que não desejam abrir mão do poder. Querem agora controlar a liberdade da internet de qualquer jeito. Já perceberam que as TVs já não estão conseguindo mais manipular as massas do modo como eles sempre fizeram. Logo elas que são disparadas as maiores divulgadoras de mentiras e de dominação das populações, com enganações o tempo todo. Fora induções diversas e manipulações mil. Então agora declararam guerra ao único mecanismo livre que o povo possui. Virou prioridade máxima controlar de qualquer forma qualquer ambiente de liberdade digital. Até o Whatsapp eles querem controlar. O mais engraçado é que eles desejam tano dizimar tudo que é digital. Mas o voto eles fazem questão que continue sendo digital eternamente, para perpetuar os bandidos das panelinhas deles. Quem manda no mundo é quem detém as mídias. Fica claro isto diante do desespero deles

  10. I can't find anything confirming that the British Medical Journal published a joke article. Does anybody have any link?

  11. Why this is entire video is fake!
    These days you can only rely on reputable news sources such as the onion very simple tbh.

  12. So proud of TedEd for finding a great way to educate kids on this issue… so disappointed in the modern news industry for making this something that kids have to worry about

  13. "An internet so starved of content that facts are optional" is a quote that has always stuck with me whenever I think about this sort of thing.

  14. Funny when comming for the same people who let people who believe in bretharianism and free energy to lectures on your events.

  15. 2 + 2 = 5
    Here me out
    2 could = 1.5 to 2.4
    2.4 + 2.4 = 4.8
    5 could = 4.5 to 5.4

    Therefore if we do some rounding 2+2=5

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