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Fake news is an existential crisis for social media 

The funny thing about fake news is how mind-numbingly boring it can be. Not the fakes themselves — they’re constructed to be catnip clickbait to stoke the fires of rage of their intended targets. Be they gun owners. People of color. Racists. Republican voters. And so on. The really tedious …

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Unilever warns social media to clean up “toxic” content

Consumer goods giant Unilever, a maker of branded soaps, foodstuffs and personal care items and also one of the world’s biggest online advertisers, has fired a warning shot across the bows of social media giants by threatening to pull ads from digital platforms if they don’t do more to mitigate …

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Tumblr also lousy with Russia-backed US election trolls: Report

The meme-laden Tumblr platform is the latest social media and blogging outlet to be unmasked as a distribution channel for Russian agents to rip at America’s societal fault lines and seek to influence citizens’ voting habits, according to a report by BuzzFeed News. Facebook and Twitter have been firmly in …

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Twitter accused of dodging Brexit botnet questions again

Once again Twitter stands accused of dodging questions from a parliamentary committee that’s investigating Russian bot activity during the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum. In a letter sent yesterday to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, DCMS committee chair Damian Collins writes: “I’m afraid there are outstanding questions… that Twitter have not yet answered, …

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UK to set up security unit to combat state disinformation campaigns

The UK government has announced plans to set up a dedicated national security unit to combat state-led disinformation campaigns — raising questions about how broad its ‘fake news’ bullseye will be. Last November UK prime minister Theresa May publicly accused Russia of seeking to meddle in elections by weaponizing information and …

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Facebook expands ‘Community Boost’ digital skills training program to Europe

Facebook has announced it’s expanding a free training program that teaches Internet-skills, media literacy and online safety to Europe. It says its “ambition” is to train 300,000 people across six EU countries by 2020 — specifically in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Poland. It also says it will be …

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Facebook agrees to take a deeper look into Russian Brexit meddling

Facebook has said it will conduct a wider investigation into whether there was Russian meddling on its platform relating to the 2016 Brexit referendum vote in the UK. Yesterday its UK policy director Simon Milner wrote to a parliamentary committee that’s been conducting a wide-ranging enquiry into fake news — …

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Tech in 2017: Crazy, troubled and out of control?

There’s no doubt about it, it’s been a difficult year for the technology industry. It’s also been a crazy year for tech, with cryptocurrencies surging and rollercoastering in value — presumably minting a few millionaires along the way, assuming they actually cashed their coin out. Yet even those strange crypto-highs …

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Study: Russia-linked fake Twitter accounts sought to spread terrorist-related social division in the UK

A study by UK academics looking at how fake social media accounts were used to spread socially divisive messages in the wake of a spate of domestic terrorists attacks this year has warned that the problem of hostile interference in public debate is greater than previously thought. The researchers, who …

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