Tag Archives: disinformation

Elon Musk’s Twitter is more dangerous than you think

Beyond Musk’s oft-repeated rants about free speech, may lie shadier plans to recoup the $44bn he paid for the site

By Adam Ramsay  Published 11-11-2022 by openDemocracy

The world is burning and Ukraine is trudging into a winter of war. Prices are spiralling and the NHS is limping. The US and Brazil have held the line against fascism, just, while Italy has fallen to the far right. Watching the disastrous takeover of Twitter by the world’s richest bam can feel a little frivolous. So what if it becomes a rich boy’s toy? It often felt like that anyway.

But the thing is, we can’t solve the world’s problems without talking, and social media has become the way we do that. At its best, a space beyond the increasingly oligarch-owned press where citizens of the world can chatter, gossip, joke and revolt; can organise into new collectives and explore new identities and senses of self. At its worst, well, I don’t need to tell you. Continue reading

Share Button

Direct democracy can force governments to better represent the people – but it doesn’t always work out

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a push for citizens initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

 

Susan Stokes, University of Chicago

In August 2022, a statewide referendum in Kansas saw citizens overwhelmingly reject a plan to insert anti-abortion language into the state’s constitution. It comes as a slew of similar votes on abortion rights are planned in the coming months – putting the issue directly to the people after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

But are referendums and citizens initiatives good for democracy? It may seem like an odd question to pose on International Day for Democracy, especially at a time when many feel democracy is imperiled both in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

Share Button

Fears Mount Bolsonaro Will Turn Brazilian Bicentennial Into ‘Violence in the Streets’

“No one can hold Bolsonaro back,” said a presidential campaign insider.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Bolsonaro (second from left) Photo: Força Aérea Brasileira CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Brazil is preparing for potential violence that could resemble last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol as far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro plans a pair of Wednesday events to mark the nation’s bicentennial.

“In the capital Brasília, security officials are bracing for a crowd of 500,000 people on the central mall, which Bolsonaro will address after overseeing the traditional military parade marking 200 years of Brazil’s independence from Portugal,” Reuters reported Tuesday. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Fox News Model’ Fomenting Divisions Within Democratic Societies, Global Watchdog Warns

“The ‘Fox News-ization’ of the media poses a fatal danger for democracies because it undermines the basis of civil harmony and tolerant public debate,” said the leader of Reporters Without Borders.

By Kenny Stancil   Published 5-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Members of Truth Tuesdays and Rise and Resist gathered at the first weekly “Fox Lies Democracy Dies” protest outside the NewsCorp Building in New York City on November 23, 2021. Photo: Diane Greene Lent/flickr/CC

A global press freedom watchdog group warned Tuesday in its annual report that media polarization within and between countries—driven by the rapid spread of right-wing disinformation on social media and the proliferation of pro-authoritarian propaganda—is “fueling increased tension” and escalating the likelihood of violence.

The 20th World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) assesses the state of journalism around the globe. The 2022 edition details the “disastrous effects of news and information chaos”—the product of “a globalized and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda.” Continue reading

Share Button

EU Enacts Landmark Social Media Law to End Self-Regulation by Big Tech

“As the U.S. agonizes over misinformation and hate speech on social media and the harm it does to democracy,” said one journalist, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act “to tackle the problem.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 4-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Jason Howie/flickr/CC

The European Union on Saturday passed a landmark law that seeks to reduce social media’s harmful effects by requiring Big Tech corporations to quash disinformation and illicit content on their platforms or else face multibillion-dollar fines.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) would compel Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms “to set up new policies and procedures to remove flagged hate speech, terrorist propaganda, and other material defined as illegal by countries within the European Union,” the New York Times reported. Continue reading

Share Button

What will 2022 bring in the way of misinformation on social media? 3 experts weigh in

A cutout display at a protest highlighted the connection between social media and the real-world effects of misinformation.
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images

Anjana Susarla, Michigan State University; Dam Hee Kim, University of Arizona, and Ethan Zuckerman, UMass Amherst

At the end of 2020, it seemed hard to imagine a worse year for misinformation on social media, given the intensity of the presidential election and the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. But 2021 proved up to the task, starting with the Jan. 6 insurrection and continuing with copious amounts of falsehoods and distortions about COVID-19 vaccines.

To get a sense of what 2022 could hold, we asked three researchers about the evolution of misinformation on social media. Continue reading

Share Button

US Votes Against UN Resolution Condemning Nazis, Labels It “Russian Disinformation”

This is far from the first time the US has voted against similar resolutions; it has done so every year since 2014, dismissing them as Russian attempts to delegitimize the Ukrainian government.

By Alan Macleod. Published 12-18-2020 by MintPress News

Supporters of the ultra far-right Azov Battalion march in Kyiv on August 24, 2019. Photo: Goo3/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The United States and Ukraine were the only two nations to vote against a United Nations resolution Wednesday on, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” The resolution passed 130-2.

The resolution featured 70 fairly bland statements condemning the crimes of Adolf Hitler, while also expressing concern at the rise of contemporary Neo-Nazi groups. Continue reading

Share Button

‘They Pointed Guns at My Kids’: Outrage After Florida Cops Raid Home of Scientist Who Refused to Censor Covid-19 Data

“DeSantis needs to worry less about what I’m writing about and more about the people who are sick and dying.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-8-2020

Florida state authorities on Monday raided the home of Rebekah Jones, a former state scientist who says she was ousted from her job for refusing to manipulate data about the coronavirus. (Photo: @GeoRebekah/Twitter/screenshot)

Data scientist Rebekah Jones on Monday evening assured Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that she would not stop reporting accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic in the state, despite a raid by state authorities at Jones’s home Monday morning which she says was aimed at silencing her.

Jones shared a video of state police entering her home with guns drawn while her children and husband were upstairs, saying the authorities pointed the weapons at her family while executing a search warrant in regards to an unauthorized message that was allegedly sent by Jones to the state Department of Health (DOH). Continue reading

Share Button

Trump lost the election, but he won the online disinformation war

Social media platforms have allowed US conservatives to delegitimise the election and sow mistrust of democracy.

By Peter Geoghegan. Published 11-9-2020 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: WNCT

In late August, roughly five weeks before Americans went to the polls, a story appeared in The New York Times reporting new data about the reach of fringe US conservative outlets on Facebook. The numbers were staggering.

Posts by far-right news site Breitbart had been shared three times as often as posts from the official pages of every Democratic member of the US senate combined in the previous 30 days. Conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro had chalked up 56 million interactions, more than the main pages of ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR put together. Continue reading

Share Button