Welp, I was going to write a much more nuanced post about problems with the Twitter appeals process, but I’ll just put this here instead for now. I got banned wrongly for a tweet last week where I was talking about the history of conspiracy theory and its relationship COVID-19 misinformation today. Someone had posted … Continue reading Twitter Should Cancel the Appeals Process or Make It Work (also: I’m in Twitter jail!)
Still banned from Twitter (over a dumb mistake their algorithm made), so I’ll just put this here — I am finding it really hard to figure out if some of these QAnon groups are really rifting at the moment over things not playing out as they were told or if the groups have been infiltrated … Continue reading Normie Infiltration
I have a couple people in my online social circle who were over the past month telling followers to “just watch” what would happen on the 6th, when everybody but them and their followers would be surprised that Joe Biden didn’t become president. At first, Mike Pence was going to heroically pull some imagined maneuver. … Continue reading Microclout
Disinformation has always been about getting elites to do things. That’s the point that so many who have looked at what percentage of ppl saw what on Facebook have missed. The public isn’t a target — it’s a vector (and it’s not the only vector). Hopefully, as we watch what’s going on today, people can … Continue reading When it comes to disinformation, the public is a vector, not a target.
In the misinformation field there’s often a weird dynamic between the short-term and long-term gains folks. Maybe I don’t go to the right meetings, but my guess is if you went to a conference on structural racism and talked about a mortgage interest deduction that was rebuilt to equalize wealth rather than exacerbate inequality most … Continue reading Control-F and Building Resilient Information Networks
From the Twitters, by me. What’s the cognitive bias that explains why someone would think having a list of 200 cognitive biases bookmarked would make them any better at thinking? (It literally says it’s “to help you remember” 200+ biases. Two hundred! LOL, critical thinking boosters are hilarious) I should be clear — biases are … Continue reading Memorizing Lists of Cognitive Biases Won’t Help
One of the founding myths of internet culture, and particularly web culture, is the principle of stigmergy. This will sound weird, but stigmergy is about ant behavior. Basically, ants do various things to try to accomplish objectives (e.g. get food to nest) but rather than a command and control structure to coordinate they use pheromones, … Continue reading The Stigmergic Myth of Social Media, or Why Thinking About Radicalization Without Thinking About Radicalizers Doesn’t Work.
I made a short video showing a New Year’s Eve Activity around SIFT, and getting serious for a minute with a New Year’s Day wish. I don’t know how many people know this about me, but I actually study misinfo/disinfo pretty deeply, outside of my short videos on how to do quick checks. If anything, … Continue reading A New Year’s Eve Activity (and a New Year’s Day Wish)
I’ve noted a new need in my open education work that isn’t supported by many tools and not found in any licenses. I’m going to call it “Chatham House Sharing” For those that don’t know, the Chatham House Rules are a set of rules traditionally used in association with reporters covering an event, but more … Continue reading Chatham House Sharing for OER
Back in January I started working on a web-based application to help teachers and others make fact-checking infographics as part of a Misinformation Solutions Forum prize from RTI International and Rita Allen. I got it to work, but as we tried to scale it out we found it had Security concerns (too much potential for … Continue reading Walkthrough for Windows App
One of the problems with microtargeted ads, and a way I’ve been thinking about them recently, is they resemble the tranched subprime mortgages that brought about the financial crash. Others have talked about this in the context of the digital ad market as a whole. The allure of digital ads was that you would finally … Continue reading Microtargeted Political Ads are the Tranched Subprime Mortgages of Democracy
Putting a couple notes from Twitter here. One of the ideas of SIFT as a methodology (and of SHEG’s “lateral reading” as well) is that before one reads a person must construct a context for reading. On the web that’s particularly important, because the rumor dynamics of the web tend to level and sharpen material … Continue reading It’s not the claim, it’s the frame
I signed up for the CBC Chatbot that teaches you about misinformation. The interface was surprisingly nice — it felt less overwhelming than the typical course stuff I work with. So kudos on that. On the down side it’s likely to make people worse, not better, at spotting dodgy Facebook pages. Why? Because — like … Continue reading The CBC Infolit Bot May Make People Worse at the Web
Years ago when I was a online political community admin, a member of our community invented a form of blog post to spawn discussion that was less about capturing fully formed thoughts and more about opening questions. He called it nine comments, and it was (I think) one of the best innovations of Blue Hampshire … Continue reading 9 Comments on “Doorbell Video” and Traditional News
I’ve had a few requests for the latest PDF of Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, so I’ve put it here.
As of yesterday, we’ve released the Check, Please! Starter Course, a three hour online module on source and fact-checking that can be dropped into any course or taken as a self-study experience. The techniques we teach in the course are the same moves in the popular open textbook Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, but we … Continue reading Check, Please! Starter Course Released
I’ve been going through my NextDoor community because — well, I have to keep on top of new problems in social media and information. On good days that means I scroll through TikTok, on bad ones, NextDoor. One thing people occasionally do on NextDoor is share Ring videos. Some are of legit crimes; the ones … Continue reading Ring Videos Create a Community Demand for Shareable Crime
A question we get asked a lot about our four moves curriculum is whether it sticks. Can a two or three week intervention really change people’s approach online to information permanently? Remember, we don’t do traditional news literacy. We don’t do traditional media literacy. We don’t teach people about newspapers, communications theory, or any of … Continue reading Does It Stick?
Author’s note: Back in early 2017 I introduced the “four moves”, a set of strategies that students could use on the web instead of checklist approaches such as CRAAP and incoherent lists of tips. The moves were based on my own experience teaching civic digital literacy and some emerging research from Sam Wineburg and others. … Continue reading SIFT (The Four Moves)
Found some disinfo on TikTok today (which had apparently been shared on Facebook as well). It’s a video that goes through a variety of completely bogus claims — there are plastic shards in rice that show up when put in a hot pan, harmful magnetic gunk in your baby formula, poisonous washing powder in your … Continue reading TikTok’s Current Disinformation of Choice Is Fake Hacks and Pranks