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Vassy Kapelos: This might be
Canada's most persistent piece of fake news.
It comes from a 2004 letter to the editor
printed in The Toronto Star.
It says refugees in Canada receive more money
from the government than retired citizens.
It's not true.
In fact, a retired Canadian is eligible for about double
what a refugee gets,
depending on the province.
But you can still find the falsehood circulating online,
even though The Star and the Canadian government
debunked it.
[loud buzzer]
You should also know that Jagmeet Singh
is not wanted for terrorism in 15 countries.
Nor did the mayor of Dorval, Quebec
stand up to Muslim families
who asked to take pork off school menus.
He didn't do that. They never asked.
And this website that looks like a local Quebec news site,
it's actually an advertising revenue scheme
based in Ukraine.
[wings flapping]
All of this fake news seems to unravel
with just a little bit of digging.
So why do people keep falling for it,
and how can you better spot it?
♪ [theme]
First, let's get clear about the definition.
[tv static]
This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,
Vassy: Fake news has been used to describe everything from
political spin to pranks to conspiracy theories,
even to media outlets politicians don't like.
You are fake news.
I like real news, not fake news. You're fake news.
The fake news, the enemy of the people.
That's why researchers say we should stop using those words,
and instead, say "misinformation",
or "disinformation".
They define disinformation as the deliberate creation
or sharing of false information to mislead people.
Misinformation is the act of sharing information
without realizing it's wrong.
Whether it's a headline designed to sway opinions,
make money, or it's simply just misconstrued,
sharing this stuff can have real consequences.
Misleading social posts shared in 2017,
encouraged Haitian asylum seekers to try and cross
in to Canada from the U.S.
WhatsApp messages like this one said
Canada had invited all Haitian nationals in the U.S.
to apply for residency.
It wasn't true, but for people facing
possible deportation back to Haiti,
it was something they wanted to hear.
Researchers say there are a ton of reasons
people share fake news.
Some are just sharing stuff that they agree with.
Some are deliberately making trouble.
Others just don't know what they're sharing is false.
Gordon: I do research on human reasoning/decision making.
I research, essentially, the science of human study.
Vassy: Gordon Pennycook says social media platforms
prime people to be, quote, "lazy thinkers".
Gordon: Mostly, it's just, you know, pictures of dogs
and babies, and -- [chuckling]
-- and things like that.
And you might come across a news article,
but you're not really in the sort of mode
that you ought to be in when you're engaging with --
with actual news content.
Vassy: Among other things, his research looked at the effect
of repeat exposure.
Gordon: We basically showed people fake news headlines
in the format that they would be on social media,
and what we showed is that a single prior exposure
to a fake news headline
increases later belief in that headline,
regardless of whether the person remembers having seen it before.
Now consider the convincing nature of a video clip.
Check out this moment between Prime Minister Trudeau
and Brazil's President Bolsonaro at the G20.
Clips of it started circulating online
with partisan groups saying it showed
"awkward and pathetic Trudeau being snubbed
on the world stage".
Global News tried to clarify the disinformation
by tweeting a longer version of the video showing
the two men did, in fact, shake hands.
But you'll notice that the correct information
didn't spread as far as the disinformation.
And that, experts will tell you,
is what's wrong with social media.
Ultimately, it's calibrated for engagement
so that, um, the more people are enraged and engaged,
and ultimately, divided on these sites,
the more they use them,
and the more they post, and the more they share,
which is ultimately good for the platforms --
the business model of the platforms.
Vassy: Taylor Owen studies
the political impact of digital technology
at McGill University.
He says people should be sceptical of content
that makes them angry,
especially during an election year.
Taylor: Pipelines, reconciliation,
immigration, these things that we already know
are in the popular debate,
how are they being amplified,
how are they being torqued
by people trying to divide us against each other?
So what else can you do to prevent falling
for disinformation?
Well, be sceptical of what you see online.
Read the whole article.
Sometimes that sensational headline doesn't match
the body of the story.
Ask yourself, "Is the author or organization familiar to you?
Are they reputable?
Are other reputable outlets reporting the story too?
Look at the url.
If the content is imitating a legitimate site,
the branding might might match, but the urls won't.
If you really want to dig,
try a Google reverse image search of photos in the story.
And if you see something that's fake or misleading,
report it to the platform you saw it on.
But here's the problem,
not everyone has the time, skill, or will
to do this kind of sleuthing.
It's not just not knowing that much about the world,
you know, it's not like ignorance,
it's just not being, kind of, willing to think about things
which is a different sort of stupidity.
So what's the solution?
Well, there's no single easy answer.
Fact checking has the potential to be a really helpful
and powerful medium.
So holding politicians to account for the incorrect
things that they say.
Vassy: Jason Reifler studies public opinion
and political psychology
at the University of Exeter in the UK.
He says news organizations, journalists,
and social media platforms all have a role in preventing
the spread of disinformation.
But studies show little things you do can help too.
On the individual basis, calling our friends and relatives out,
in a nice, you know,
not in to what starts as a huge political argument,
but just pointing out when they're saying things
that aren't correct.
But that can have a beneficial effect.
As the world gets bigger, and more connected,
we need that sense of-- of intimacy more than--
more than ever.
Vassy: Facebook says it's employed fact checkers,
and moderators,
and will take down accounts
that try to interfere with the election.
Plus, governments around the world have been turning up
the pressure on companies, like Facebook, to do more.
The platforms are failing their users.
Vassy: Canada has also signalled it's considering penalties
for tech platforms that don't clamp down on disinformation.
And if they don't, we will hold them to account,
and there will be meaningful, financial consequences.
Vassy: But they haven't acted specifically on that.
♪ ♪
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Why it’s so easy to fall for fake news and how to spot it

167 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on October 12, 2019
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