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Disinfo update – 29/10/2018

Facebook is paying the bill

Following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook has been fined £500,000 by UK’s data protection watchdog and European Parliament urges for the ban of targeted political advertising on Facebook to restrict the diffusion of false political information during the upcoming European elections. Under such scrutiny, Facebook has announced it will be downranking stories with false headlines. The new rating comes after several other recent changes to Facebook’s fact-checking project. Timely, former UK prime minister Nick Clegg, just has been appointed head of the global affairs and communications team. Hopefully, this appointment will ease relations between the social media platform and EU institutions. But on the eve of US mid-term elections, and as Facebook promised it would disclose the identity of whom political ads were paid by, Vice revealed it has easily managed to buy news on behalf of senators. Just when the company said last week it had removed 82 pages, accounts and groups linked to Iran that had targeted U.K. and U.S. users. Still a long way to go…

Brazil, India and Whatsapp

On 28/10/2018, Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil. As for most recent elections, false news was intensively spreading during the campaign. Different in Brazil was the massive spread of disinformation through Whatsapp. Alarmed, fact-checkers published an opinion in the New York Times which revealed the scale of the phenomenon. A similar situation on Whatsapp is happening in India. Viral misinformation has become a core problem on the platform, especially because misleading content is now shared virally through end-to-end encrypted solutions.

Join our next webinar on November 8. Govindraj Ethiraj, founder of fact-checking initiative BOOM will describe the disinformation landscape in India and how we can deal with fact-checking on Whatsapp.

From journalism to viruses

Did you ever wonder how journalists verify the truthfulness of eyewitness videos? The New York Times provides some insight on his eyewitness raw video verification process: a mix of traditional journalistic diligence and cutting-edge internet skills. Besides journalists, a new actor has entered the fight against disinformation. McAffee, the 30-year old company traditionally known for its anti-virus software, published an analysis of how cybersecurity breaches could contribute to disseminate false information during the US mid-term elections campaign. 


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