Thursday, January 18, 2018
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"Don’t let yourselves be led astray," Francis says.
European Parliamentreader comments 27 Share this story Fake news hawkers have copped a sizeable telling off from Pope Francis, who has compared the phenomenon of spreading scandalous and false stories online to coprophilia—an abnormal fascination with poop. The Pope's pop at phony folk who run fake news stories on the Web—published mostly to stir up bizarre and frenzied smears against politicians and other public figures—sits at the extreme end of clickbait and, for many commentators, it left a skid-mark over the recent US election. "I believe that the media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey—without offence, please—to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true," he told Belgian Catholic weekly newspaper Tertio. "And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm." The Oxford English Dictionary describes coprophilia as an "Abnormal interest and pleasure in faeces and defecation," while the word coprophagia refers to people who eat faecal matter. He said that it was sinful to circulate fake news, adding it was "probably the greatest damage that the media can do." And described the spread of misinformation as deeply harmful because "opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth." He also warned—in a nod to the so-called "right to be forgotten" debate—against the use of slander to smear politicians that "can be used as a means of defamation," adding: "in defamation, we leak a document, as we say in Argentina, 'Se hace un carpetazo'—and we uncover something that is true, but already in the past, and which has already been paid for with a jail sentence, with a fine, or whatever.

There is no right to this.

This is a sin and it is harmful." The Pope's pungent words on fake news and coprophilia can be read in full on the Vatican's website, which has published a transcript of his interview with Tertio. This post originated on Ars Technica UK
Servizi Multimedialireader comments 27 Share this story On Monday, the top trending story if you searched Google for "final election vote count 2016" was a fake story on a site called 70News claiming that Donald Trump had won the popular vote, even though he had not. And in the week before the election, Facebook and Google were being criticized about fake news on their sites, which critics believe could have swayed the presidential race's outcome. Google responded Monday with a pledge to restrict fake news sites from using its AdSense advertising network. Facebook, for its part, updated its policy to clearly state that its advertising ban on deceptive or misleading content applied to fake news. "We do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news," Facebook said in a statement. And Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday tried to put the kibosh on the idea that Facebook's platform influenced the election. "Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes," Zuckerberg said. "The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other." Still, Google and Facebook are not preventing fake news or hoaxes from appearing on the social networking site or in Google search. Instead, the companies' policies are geared toward trying to reduce the financial incentive for producing fake news. And for Google, it's not just about seeking the truth. Advertisers don't want their wares displayed next to bogus content. "Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher's content, or the primary purpose of the web property," Google said in a statement. Google also has the same policy for pornography or violent content. AdSense vets content with artificial intelligence and humans to ensure compliance. For its part, Facebook has been hit hard by some who accused the social-media platform of tilting voters in favor of Trump by allowing completely fabricated stories, including one that Trump won the endorsement of Pope Francis, to circulate on the site. The Pew Research Center, meanwhile, in May said that 62 percent of Americans obtain some, or all, of their news on social media—the bulk of it from Facebook.
Spencer E Holtawayreader comments 19 Share this story Facebook faces more pressure from lawmakers in Europe, after Germany's interior minister called on the company to quickly remove hateful and illegal posts—on the same day that its chief Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that the free content ad network wouldn't morph into a media empire. The call from Thomas de Maiziere comes less than a week since a committee of MPs in the UK concluded that Twitter, Google, and Facebook were "consciously failing" to police extremism on their services. "Facebook should take down racist content or calls for violence from its pages on its own initiative even if it hasn't yet received a complaint," said de Maiziere on Monday. "Facebook has an immensely important economic position and just like every other large enterprise it has a immensely important social responsibility." But Facebook—which fired the human editors of its Trending feature and replaced them with a less-than-perfect algorithm on Friday—is cagey about being seen to edit the content that is shared on its site because it does not want to be labelled a publisher.

The moment it does that, Zuckerberg's firm would be open to domestic libel laws. Indeed, Zuckerberg reaffirmed exactly that stance on Monday during a live Q&A session in Italy, following a private audience with Pope Francis. "No, we're a tech company, we're not a media company," he said, after a pause, when asked by a participant if Facebook was an "editor" of news. He added that Facebook builds "the tools, we do not produce any of the content." Zuckerberg said: "We exist to give you the tools to curate... every person gets to program their own Facebook experience." He went on to describe social media as "the most diverse form of media that has ever existed." Germany's interior minister de Maiziere, however, is concerned about the lack of swift interaction from Facebook when its comes to removing posts that carry hate speech or illegal content. Facebook's public policy head in Germany, Eva-Maria Kirschsieper, responded to that criticism by telling reporters: "We see ourselves as part of German society and part of the German economy.

And we know that we have a major responsibility and we want to live up to this responsibility. We take this issue very seriously indeed." This post originated on Ars Technica UK