“Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.”
— Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928)
“Fake news” is merely a symptom of greater social ills. Our real problems: trust and manipulation. Our untrusted — and untrustworthy — institutions are vulnerable to manipulation by a slough of bad guys, from trolls and ideologues to Russians and terrorists, all operating under varying motives but similar methods.
Trust is the longer-term problem — decades- or even a century-long. But if we don’t grapple with the immediate and urgent problem of manipulation, those institutions may not live to reinvent themselves and earn the public’s trust back with greater inclusion, equity, transparency, responsiveness, and honesty. At the News Integrity Initiative, we will begin to address both needs.
Here I want to examine the emergency of manipulation with a series of suggestions about the defenses needed by many sectors — not just news and media but also platforms, technology companies, brands, marketing, government, politics, Continue reading "Our problem isn’t ‘fake news.’ Our problems are trust and manipulation."
Jimmy Wales changed encyclopedias and news while he was at it. And now he’s at it at it again, announcing a crowdfunding campaign to start Wikitribune
, a collaborative news platform with “professional journalists and community contributors working side-by-side to produce fact-checked, global news stories. The community of contributors will vet the facts, help make sure the language is factual and neutral, and will to the maximum extent possible be transparent about the source of news posting full transcripts, video, and audio of interviews.” The content will be free with monthly patrons providing as much support as possible, advertising as little as possible.
I’m excited about this for a few reasons:
First, I see the need for innovation around new forms of news.
Next, I want some news sites to break the overwhelming and constant flow of news and allow us in the public to pull back and find
Continue reading "Jimmy Wales’ new Wikitribune"
We keep looking at the problems of fake news and crap content — and the advertising that feeds them — through the wrong end of the periscope, staring down into the depths in search of sludge when we could be looking up, gathering quality.
There is a big business opportunity to be had right now in setting definitions and standards for and creating premium networks of quality.
In the last week, the Guardian, ad agency Havas, the UK government, the BBC, and now AT&T pulled their advertising from Google and YouTube, complaining about placement next to garbage: racist, terrorist, fake, and otherwise “inappropriate” and “offensive” content. Google was summoned to meet UK ministers under the threat they’ll exercise their European regulatory reflex.
Google responded quickly, promising to raise its standards regarding “hateful, offensive and derogatory content” and giving advertisers greater control over excluding specific sites.
Well, good. But this seems like a
Continue reading "Quality over crap"