Facebook’s attempts to fight fake news seem to be working. (Twitter’s? Not so much.)

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

“The overall magnitude of the misinformation problem may have declined.” It’s fun to hate on Facebook, but credit where credit’s due: The platform’s attempts to get fake news and misinformation out of people’s feeds seem to be working, according to a new working paper from NYU’s Hunt Allcott and Stanford’s Matthew Gentzkow and Chuan Yu. Looking at the spread of stories from 570 fake news sites (the list, here, includes sites that publish 100 percent fake news and sites that publish some pure fake news along with other highly partisan/misleading stories), and using BuzzSumo to track monthly interactions (shares/​comments/​reactions/​likes/​tweets), they find that “the overall magnitude of the misinformation problem may have declined, at

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Here’s what the Financial Times is doing to get bossy man voice out of (okay, less prominent in) its opinion section

It’s fun to hate on newspapers’ op-ed sections (inspiring debate is kind of the point), meaning the job of editing them is not for the faint-hearted. And changing and diversifying them can be a challenge — whether you’re battling bad-faith arguments from the alt-right or just trying to get rid of a strain of [deep, booming, obviously male voice] “I want to tell you about Middle East policy.” The deep, booming “I want to tell you about Middle East policy” had been the problem with the Financial Times’ opinion section, but Brooke Masters is up to the challenge of fixing it. At the FT for more than a decade, she was the companies editor before becoming opinion and analysis editor this past spring. Her role — diversifying the 130-year-old paper’s opinion section, previously known as “Comment” and dominated by opining men — is just a piece of what the Continue reading "Here’s what the Financial Times is doing to get bossy man voice out of (okay, less prominent in) its opinion section"

Tripling its books coverage, New York Magazine will think of books as a “horizontal”

The best house, in my opinion, is a house where books are everywhere: not just on a single shelf in the living room, but on kitchen counters, in bathroom vanities, in bedside table stacks, in baskets on the floor, in backpacks and shopping bags. The same concept can be extended to the digital world. Why should books be siloed off on one section of a website, in a vertical, when you can think of them as a “horizontal” — putting them everywhere, threading them through everything you do? That’s what New York Media has decided to do with its books coverage. It’s named Boris Kachka as its books editor, and he’ll be in charge of tripling book coverage across New York Media properties — the print magazine, Vulture, The Cut, Daily Intelligencer, The Strategist, and Grub Street. The expansion kicks off this week with a “a premature attempt at Continue reading "Tripling its books coverage, New York Magazine will think of books as a “horizontal”"

With liberal and conservative outlets fighting, Facebook’s fact-checking program shows more cracks

So: ThinkProgress’s headline is undoubtedly clickbait-y, and that’s fine and not surprising because #Internet, and that the conservative Weekly Standard fact-checked the story was also not surprising. In this case, however, things got more complicated: The Weekly Standard is also one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners (the only one with an explicit political bent) — and, because it has the power to do this, also marked ThinkProgress’s Kavanaugh story “false” on Facebook, which means it gets totally demoted in people’s feeds. (Not that people are seeing much news in their feeds anyway.) Facebook’s other fact-checking partners are the Associated Press, PolitiFact, Snopes, and Factcheck.org. The Weekly Standard is the only one that explicitly associates itself with a political stance. When it uses its Facebook-given power to demote a liberal outlet, that feels troublesome. Except that I think The Weekly Standard is correct in this case, at least that ThinkProgress’s Continue reading "With liberal and conservative outlets fighting, Facebook’s fact-checking program shows more cracks"

From “uncool uncle” to “fun” “best friend”: Why people are turning from Facebook to…other Facebook-owned things for news

Multiple surveys bear this out, and it probably matches your own experience as well: Facebook is no longer growing as a platform for news. In the U.S., for instance, young people’s use of Facebook for news fell by 20 percentage points between 2017 and 2018. And Pew reported this week that the percentage of U.S. adults who ever get news from social media — or from Facebook specifically — was just about flat between last year and this year. It’s not that people are using their devices less; rather, they’re increasingly getting news from messaging apps, as reiterated in a report released Tuesday by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The report, conducted by Kantar Media, looks at the social media habits of users in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, and Germany; the entire sample was made up of people who said Continue reading "From “uncool uncle” to “fun” “best friend”: Why people are turning from Facebook to…other Facebook-owned things for news"

When maps go viral: A cartographer takes a look into user-made maps (and their unintended consequences)

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

Maps gone viral. Fast Company’s Katharine Schwab calls attention to an paper on viral maps — “maps that reach rapid popularity via social media dissemination” — and how they may be used to spread misinformation. Pennsylvania State University’s Anthony Robinson looked at Nate Silver’s “What if only women voted” 2016 election map and the maps inspired by that tweet. (A Twitter search for “map if only voted” turned up more than 500 unique maps — that’s them illustrating this article.) One map in particular — a kind of uber map, “2016 US Presidential Electoral Map If Only [X] Voted” — was created in response to Silver’s tweet by a graduate student named Ste Continue reading "When maps go viral: A cartographer takes a look into user-made maps (and their unintended consequences)"

10,000 members, more big donors, new kinds of readers: Here’s where the Texas Tribune wants to be by 2025

If you like newsroom innovation documents, you’ll love this: The Texas Tribune on Wednesday released its first-ever strategic plan, outlining where it wants to be by 2025. The nine-year-old nonprofit’s entire staff has been working on the document for nearly a year. (You can compare and contrast with the piece we ran in 2014 looking back at the strategic shifts of the Tribune’s first five years.) Here are some of the highlights and goals of the 3,000-plus-word report.