At the end of a very good piece by The Verge reports editor Josh Dzieza about how Facebook is fanning the flame of viral fake news, Craig Silverman talks about an unanticipated priority.
A month ago, Silverman launched watchdog site emergent.info with Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism to debunk items like the one above, concocted by current fake news headline-grabber National Report:
Silverman is interested in the dynamics of online rumors generally, but the fake news sites have become an unexpected focus. “I’m actively now thinking about ways to go after these fake news sites,” he says. “We need some way to crawl these sites and figure out which stories are starting to get velocity so we can counteract them, ruin their incentive, prevent them from getting the big hits. But I have no idea what the best way might be. There are so many.”
Silverman’s project, part of the purview that Gossip Cop and Rumor Fix occupy, arrives on the heels of a 2014 change at the Facebook end that has greatly complicated the fake news situation. By adding trending topics to the Fb grid, the social network has inadvertently given fake news sites a common, critical bulletin board to shoot for.
So far, the story with the most social shares debunked by Tow fellow and Poynter adjunct faculty member Silverman is one involving a Florida woman who claimed to have three breasts.
P.S. National Report, via “professional journalist” Jane Agni, had the gall to post a “live blog” update about the fabricated situation in Purdon, TX. That, together with this, equals taking fake news to a new level of stink.
[Image via: emergent.info]
Previously on FishbowlNY:
How to Spot the Banksy BS