Saturday, December 17, 2016

The fox guarding the chicken coop

Facebook is arguably the very worst organization to lead the charge against "fake news" than any organization not called "The Onion", as Techdirt concluded long before Mark Zuckerberg's latest George Soros-funded crusade:
Facebook is generally seen as a key multiplier in this false force of non-news, which is probably what led the social media giant to declare war on fake news sites a year or so back. So how'd that go? Well, the results as analyzed over at Buzzfeed seems to suggest that Facebook has either lost this war it declared or is losing it badly enough that it might as well give it up.

To gauge Facebook’s progress in its fight, BuzzFeed News examined data across thousands of posts published to the fake news sites’ Facebook pages, and found decidedly mixed results. While average engagements (likes + shares + comments) per post fell from 972.7 in January 2015 to 434.78 in December 2015, they jumped to 827.8 in January 2016 and a whopping 1,304.7 in February. 

Some of the posts on the fake news sites’ pages went extremely viral many months after Facebook announced its crackdown. In August, for instance, an Empire News story reporting that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sustained serious injuries in prison received more than 240,000 likes, 43,000 shares, and 28,000 comments on its Facebook page. The incident was pure fiction, but still spread like wildfire on the platform. An even less believable September post about a fatal gang war sparked by the “Blood” moon was shared over 22,000 times from the Facebook page of Huzlers, another fake news site.

So, how did this war go so wrong for Facebook? Well, to start, it relied heavily on user-submitted notifications that a link or site was a fake news site. Sounds great, as aggregating feedback has worked quite well in other arenas. For this, however, it was doomed from the start. The purpose of fake news sites is, after all, to fool people, and fooled people are obviously not reporting the links as fake. Even when a reader manages to determine eventually that a link was a fake news post at a later time, perhaps after sharing it and having comments proving it false, how many of those people then take steps to report the link? Not enough, clearly, as the fake news scourge marches on.

Another layer of the problem appears to be the faith and trust the general public puts into some famous people they are following, who have also been fooled with startling regularity. Take D.L. Hughley, for example. The comedian, whose page is liked by more than 1.7 million people, showed up twice in the Huzlers logs. One fictitious Huzlers story he posted, about Magic Johnson donating blood, garnered more than 10,000 shares from his page. Hughley, who did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment, also shared four National Report links in 2015. 

Radio stations also frequently post fake news. The Florida-based 93XFM was one of a number of radio stations BuzzFeed News discovered sharing Huzlers posts in 2015. Asked about one April post linking to a Huzlers story about a woman smoking PCP and chewing off her boyfriend’s penis, a 93XFM DJ named Sadie explained that fact-checking Facebook posts isn’t exactly a high priority.
So, it's not the dark and ever-dangerous Alt-Right that is to blame for fake news, but celebrities and Facebook itself. Moreover, Facebook isn't even reliable when it comes to reporting its own internal metrics to advertisers, as it has been caught exaggerating its own traffic numbers for the FOURTH time. Or, as Facebook would prefer you see it, accidentally making mistakes that just coincidentally happened to favor its own financial interests again for the fourth straight time.
Facebook Inc. built a colossal business based on measuring something older advertising methods cannot: the granular details about people. Two months ago, the company copped to a flaw in that measurement. Then Facebook did it again. And again.

On Friday, Facebook revealed faulty metrics with Instant Articles, its mobile publishing system, the fourth disclosure of a measurement error since September. The admission sharpened calls for more independent organizations to monitor the performance of digital advertising. And some large firms that buy a lot of ads said they will more closely scrutinize their spending on the social networking giant and could shift marketing dollars elsewhere....

In September, Facebook shared its first measurement error: inflated viewership numbers for its video ads, a relatively new product. Two months later, the company disclosed additional metric errors along with new tools for third-party measurement companies, including ComScore and Nielsen, to track its system more closely.

Problems persisted. Earlier this month, a report in Marketing Land, an industry publication, spotted a discrepancy between Facebook's internal metrics on how articles where shared and public measurements. Facebook confirmed the error. "That shouldn't happen," said Brian Wieser, senior analyst, Pivotal Research Group. "If anyone was concerned that Facebook's self-audit was not sufficient enough, they just proved it."
I don't know why anyone is surprised that Facebook is trafficking heavily in false information on every side. Look at who runs it. Once a con artist, always a con artist. That's been Zuckerberg's motif from the start.

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Blogger Kryten 2X4B 523P December 17, 2016 6:42 AM  

Is it bad form that literally laughed out loud at "Buzzfeed News"?

Blogger SteelPalm December 17, 2016 6:57 AM  

I have been perma-banned from FB for several months, as they claimed my name of "Deplorable X" was not real, and requested a photo ID displaying my real one.

That's right; the same people who don't believe in showing a photo ID to vote in elections wanted one to continue being a member of their shitty site.

They're not quite as awful as Twitter (Zuckerberg actually had to tell his Facebook employees, who are even more deranged than him, that no, they would not ban Donald Trump for "violating Community Standards), and they definitely play the PR game a bit better, but their goals are ultimately the same.

Anonymous Bobby Farr December 17, 2016 7:00 AM  

Why can't we have social media run by those nice white, American, clean cut, athletic Winklevoss twins?

Anonymous Clay December 17, 2016 7:00 AM  

Come to think of it...why don't they just HEAVY-DUTY shrink-wrap a person?

Fill it with nitrogen.

Anonymous Dav December 17, 2016 7:02 AM  

And yet with all fb's force multipliers, Hillary STILL LOST. I don't think they get it and I don't think they can "fix" it.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable December 17, 2016 7:06 AM  

If you think they're soiling their Depends now, wait until Trump actually starts doing things.

Blogger Phillip George December 17, 2016 7:09 AM  

Facebook's new recourse to quality control is
In CIA we put our Trust.

Eric Blair's 1984 is a documentary written in advance of the events. Fiction more accurate than published fact.

Blogger Gordon December 17, 2016 7:12 AM  

But, but Zuchy gets to hang out with Mutti Merkul and talk about how they're going to fight the Alt-ers together. Because lining up huge media company behind a leader of resurgent German power always goes well.

I want an unaverage funeral. Cremate me as inexpensively as possible. Dump the ashes in the Mississippi, which is unlawful, and zat is zat. No services. I know my weepy supporters will demand a full memorial rally in US Bank Stadium, but they can just suffer.

If you're the spouse of someone who is a current worker and who croaks, you can apply for a $255 death benefit from SSI: The paperwork is probably more onerous than the money warrants. It started back in 1935 as a thing for people who died before reaching retirement, and was computed based on what the monthly SSI benefit would have been. Later it got set to be at $255 and it's never changed since. It is not supposed to be a burial benefit.

And you could have found all this out yourself with 10 minutes of research. I know, it's hard, but someday they think we will have this electronic tool that will respond to vague questions and return the contents of libraries on the topic.

Blogger bosscauser December 17, 2016 7:31 AM  

C'mon, spreading fake news is fun!
Now, who decides what's fake?
And who gives a shit!

Let's go #PresidentTrump and hurry!

Blogger VD December 17, 2016 7:33 AM  

This blog is not Google. When you do your idiot "I know it's OT, but I'm so much more important than everyone I think my off-topic foray is justified because me", especially when it's one of the FIRST FUCKING COMMENTS on the post, that doesn't make it acceptable. It makes you an annoying, self-centered individual whose comment is certain to be deleted.

FFS, you KNOW it's off-topic. So don't do it. This isn't rocket science. This is simple binary stuff that even the lower mammals can comprehend.

Don't apologize. Don't mention it. Just don't do it again.

Anonymous Avalanche December 17, 2016 7:44 AM  

@8 "you can apply for a $255 death benefit from SSI: ... paperwork is probably more onerous than the money warrants."

Which is why said paperwork is still sitting in my files 6 years after his death!

Blogger Cail Corishev December 17, 2016 7:56 AM  

If they can't reliably block the obvious, admitted fake news sites, they don't stand a chance against the real targets, such as pizzagate investigators using many links from mainstream sites. They can (and did during the election) keep certain themes out of their "trending news" feeds, but they don't stand a chance with the stuff people share to each other, which is what matters. They're trying to take pee out of the pool at this point.

Blogger Salt December 17, 2016 8:13 AM  

Facebook must be real news. I even heard Paul Krugman is going to become a regular contributor.

Blogger kurt9 December 17, 2016 8:13 AM  

Google inflates its numbers of "click throughs" on its ad word advertising feature. This is easily spotted by comparing the number of click throughs you are billed by Google to the actual site counter, if you install one on your website. Typically google's ad words will show twice the number of click throughs as compared to a site counter.

Blogger kurt9 December 17, 2016 8:15 AM  

Facebook has been trafficking in fake news all along. I consider the "news" that shows up on my page to be essentially click bait. I've never taken it seriously.

Anonymous Godfrey December 17, 2016 9:11 AM  

"There is nothing wrong with your [social networking service]. Do not attempt to adjust [the narrative]. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it [trend], we will [fake] the volume. If we wish to make it [disappear], we will tune it [out]. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the [rest of your life], sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your [social networking service]. You are about to participate in a great [hoax]. You are about to experience the [confusion] and [deception] which reaches from the inner mind to – the outer limits of a vast fraud perpetrated by Facebook."

Blogger Cail Corishev December 17, 2016 9:11 AM  

I consider the "news" that shows up on my page to be essentially click bait.

That's exactly what most of it is. Even a lot of legitimate news is given false or misleading click-bait headlines now because the sites are desperate for traffic.

I don't know how many times, during the election, friends posted "Aha!" links to articles with anti-Trump headlines that weren't at all supported by the article itself, and many times said the opposite. These weren't Buzzfeed; they were mainstream left and center-left news sites.

Anonymous Godfrey December 17, 2016 9:20 AM  

Yes, it's all the time. Even the game on Steam I used to play had a anti-trump "trending popular video" that remained "popular" throughout the entire election cycle. It's 24/7 propaganda.

I now have the same attitude of a Russian citizen who lived in the old USSR. Take their spoon fed narrative and believe the opposite.

Anonymous Didas Kalos December 17, 2016 9:21 AM  

(((they))) always lie.

Blogger Orville December 17, 2016 9:33 AM  

Sounds like FB is scalzied, what with their stats being a "little" off.

Anonymous EH December 17, 2016 10:21 AM  

I thought the Left was just play-acting to each other how shocked, appalled etc. etc. that they were over the election, but it seems they really have all lost their minds. Charlie Stross had a post last week "Eleven Tweets" which argued approximately: capitalism -> advertising -> "free" social media websites-> clickbait -> fake news -> politics of Hate -> Trump election, Brexit,
-- therefore banning ads on social media and mandating micropayments would end the clickbait arms race, fake news and the politics of facts, er Hate - and save all the rabbits from badfeels. (But maybe its Already Too Late. Whatever shall rabbits do?!)

There's an obvious lack of any connection to any real-world possibility, a total investment in their false narrative, a total obliviousness to what's going on in the real world with the mainstream news being the bulk of the fake news, (and the most dangerous and false propaganda), the "fake news" sites accused by the MSM usually being more reliable, no inking of awareness that their side had and has near total power in the media, academia, and permanent government, nor any acknowledgement that their side is now losing one national referendum after another, not because of the falsehoods of their opponents, but because of the falsehoods their own side demands everyone pretend to believe. But they have no inkling that they themselves are pretending to believe the foundational falsehoods of the Cathedral, doublethink and cognitive dissonance keeping their thoughts from ever going in that direction, so they can't imagine that other people have been consciously pretending to go along with the ever-escalating mandatory nonsense, let alone that there could be so many of them as to outvote the rabbits. Mentally, they can't even bring themselves to acknowledge the existence of the other side, so can't acknowledge that the other side not only spotted the problem of black propaganda and coordinated narrative control long ago, it has already started implementing practical countermeasures such as Brave, Gab, and Infogalactic.

They're thrashing around in their fantasy world, completely incapable of dealing with reality let alone reacting effectively to their opponents' moves. Keep an eye on them just in case, but I think for the most part they've broken and the Right can move into the "drive your enemies before you and hear the lamentations of their women" phase of operations.

Anonymous Clay December 17, 2016 10:38 AM  


Blogger James Dixon December 17, 2016 10:42 AM  

> These weren't Buzzfeed; they were mainstream left and center-left news sites.

The only problem with that comment is that there aren't any center-left news sites any more. Everything, especially the mainstream left is now far left.

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar December 17, 2016 11:17 AM  

How is Soros connected to this?

Blogger SteveK December 17, 2016 11:50 AM  

Facebook cannot know if something was intended to be parody, opinion, hyperbole, sarcasm, trolling etc.

Blogger James Dixon December 17, 2016 12:14 PM  

> Facebook cannot know if something was intended to be parody, opinion, hyperbole, sarcasm, trolling etc.

It doesn't matter what it was intended to be. Only how the special snowflakes at Facebook take it.

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar December 17, 2016 12:22 PM  

Found lots of info here:

Anonymous Just another commenter December 17, 2016 1:21 PM  

Fake News. You know, like human CO2 emissions are the primary cause of global warming, and a warmer planet will be bad, horrible, and deadly. And that islamophobia backlash is more of a problem than islamic terrorists. And that banning guns will make us safer, and it's totally constitutional. And government poverty programs alleviate poverty. etc.

Blogger Thucydides December 17, 2016 1:52 PM  

Yes, FaceBook's illegal manipulation of feeds was outed almost a year before the election, so we know their fake news was being beta tested at least that far back, (most likely even farther).

Besides dumping FaceBook, what is really needed is an unconverted alt-tech platform to provide a viable alternative. I know Vox said it isn't the time yet (and I suspect it is a matter of resources more than anything else), but hopefully people with the ability are working on this. The social media fork can't happen soon enough.

Blogger Aeoli Pera December 17, 2016 3:25 PM  

Zuckerberg appears to be the rare example of a person with both psychopathy and Asperger's.

Anonymous BBGKB December 17, 2016 5:30 PM  

I don't know why anyone is surprised that Facebook is trafficking heavily in false information on every side.

I am surprised they are reporting it. How is this info coming out? Is it people quitting and leaking the data? I imagine Cuckberg would do anything he thought could stop it, sadly when I showed up at his place with a male donkey I couldn't convince him of my power to stop it. Perhaps the Project Veritas Press pass was a bad idea.

I have been perma-banned from FB for several months, as they claimed my name of "Deplorable X" was not real

Even Shittivous Cook can get an ID.

I consider the "news" that shows up on my page to be essentially click bait

World to end tomorrow, black and brown latrinas to suffer most.

Blogger Skyler the Weird December 17, 2016 6:59 PM  

I was lucky when I setup my Facebook account to post to the SyFy channel Caprica web experience back when you could even list Canceron as your location.

They finally forced me to add an address and I put the studio in Vancouver where they filmed Battlestar Galactica. I get a lot of Canadian spam in my feed.

Anonymous @1n1 December 18, 2016 1:35 AM  

If your not on FB your not missing much. I log on to record what they say is trending in order to see the path of the drones. With the power that company wields, this data could be used to implicate them in the creation of market bubbles and other negative effects of disseminating marketing without producing a product.

Blogger kmbr December 18, 2016 11:51 AM  

I think it's funny that Facebook became poison to the young, probably 5 years ago.

Now it's a bunch of old farts and soccer moms pretending they have perfect lives and has been for a long time.

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