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Daily Archives: October 26, 2020

The fight against fake news and electoral disinformation

Oxford University Press Blog: “Just as COVID-19 is a stress test of every nation’s health system, an election process is a stress test of a nation’s information and communication system. A week away from the US presidential election, the symptoms are not so promising. News reports about the spread of so-called “fake news,” disinformation, and conspiracy theories are thriving as they did in 2016. Disinformation and “fake news” are not new, but the 2016 US presidential election placed the phenomenon squarely onto the international agenda. The spread of false and manipulated information dressed as news is closely associated with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In a 2018 study, researchers examined the exposure to misinformation during the American election campaign in 2016; they found that Facebook was a key vector of exposure to fake news. It becomes harder to differentiate between false and trusted information when supposedly everyone can publish and spread information online that looks like news to large groups of people. The spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories has been identified as a problem in several states, for example in Florida, and news publications, such as the New York Times, are daily tracking viral misinformation ahead of the 2020 election. While disinformation and foreign influence was of great concern in the 2016 election,  disinformation from domestic sources is additionally reported as a major threat in the 2020 US election. The spread of fake new, rumors, and conspiracy theories is problematic in itself, but the main damage of such orchestrated campaigns might be the systematic erosion of citizens’ capacity to recognize facts, the undermining of established science, and the sowing of confusion about what is real or not…”

Until a coronavirus vaccine is ready, pneumonia vaccines may reduce deaths from COVID-19

Via LLRX – Until a coronavirus vaccine is ready, pneumonia vaccines may reduce deaths from COVID-19 – Prof. Robert Root-Bernstein is an immunologist and physiologist interested in the effects of combined infections on immunity vaccines. Two vaccines – pneumococcal vaccine and the Hib vaccine – protect against bacterial pneumonias. These bacteria complicate both influenza and… Continue Reading

How to turn on end-to-end encryption in Zoom (and why you should)

Fast Company: “Zoom has finally launched end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for all users. The launch is a long time coming and will be sure to make Zoom users the world over more confident in using the service, which has become a critical tool for businesses and employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously to Zoom’s end-to-end… Continue Reading

Over 40 million people already voted by mail. Here’s how to track your ballot online

CNET – “You may be able to track your ballot using BallotTrax, or through the website for your state’s Secretary of State. “Americans have been voting early this year ahead of the 2020 elections, with more than 61.2 million votes already in and nearly 41 million of those being mail-in votes. And if you’ve decided to vote by mail… Continue Reading

The Third Wave of COVID-19 in the U.S. Is Officially Worse Than the First Two

TIME – “Just days before a momentous and unpredictable Presidential election, the United States has reached a new record high in the number of daily COVID-19 infections, surpassing the peak in mid-July during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic’s domestic toll. As of Oct. 24, there was a weekly average of 23.0 infections per… Continue Reading

How Trump impacts harmful Twitter speech: A case study in three tweets

Brookings – “But what about Trump’s online speech? Just as he targets his opponents in rallies and speeches, he also takes to Twitter to dole out criticism and ad hominem attacks. Here, we examine three recent tweets from the president and whether his tweets have a similarly negative impact on the quality of other online… Continue Reading

Most U.S. Voters See Misinformation Online and Many Believe It.

BNN Bloomberg – “The SurveyUSA poll of more than 3,000 registered voters found that 65% reported seeing political disinformation in their Facebook feeds. A quarter of them reported believing the claims. Conducted between Oct. 14-19, the survey revealed that 85% of registered voters read that mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud, with 35% believing… Continue Reading

When New York’s Strand Bookstores asked for help, 25,000 online orders flooded in

Washington Post – Readers rushed to the aid of the iconic bookseller after its owner called on them to #savethestrand – “…Founded in 1927 by Benjamin Bass, a Jewish Lithuanian immigrant, with $300 in cash and a $300 loan, Strand grew into one of the largest independent book houses in New York. It is one… Continue Reading

Finding A Path Forward To Regulate The Legal Industry

Law360 – Gerald Knapton – “Some important changes for the legal profession are underway and a sea change seems possible. The most important decision to be made is whether lawyers will continue to regulate themselves or if a new supervisory body — probably some form of an independent, nonprofit regulator with delegated authority over some… Continue Reading