Inside the fight against fake news, Twitter’s efforts to silence trolls and more in this week's Digital Media Mash Up, produced by the Center for International Media Assistance.
How tech and media can fight fake news
Leaders of the most important tech companies in the world are grappling with fake news, as embarrassing screenshots of bogus Trending Topics and Google News headlines go viral. The presidential campaign turned a spotlight on this viral disinformation, but it has been growing for a while in a crack in the media sidewalk. Over the last few months, it overran its surroundings: In fact, fake news drew more engagement on Facebook than real news as the election drew to a close. (Columbia Journalism Review, 11/17)
Twitter introduces a mute button for trolls as it struggles to fight online abuse
Twitter took another step Tuesday in its long fight against trolls, announcing that it will give users a mute feature to weed out harassing words and phrases from their notifications.
The company plans to roll out the feature more broadly over time, Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, said in an interview with The Washington Post. She said that adding the feature to the social network’s notifications was a priority based on the feedback from Twitter users. (The Washington Post, 11/15)
3 reasons why messaging apps are key to media freedom
Governments around the world are targeting encrypted messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Telegram, which can be used to spread news and information quickly and securely. This is one of the key findings from Freedom House’s 2016 Freedom on the Net report, which was released earlier this week. In fact, WhatsApp, which was purchased by Facebook in 2014, was blocked in 12 countries last year. This makes it the most blocked tool worldwide. In places where it has not been explicitly blocked, governments are requesting data about user communication and have even considered implementing laws that would make encrypted communication illegal. (CIMA, 11/18)
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Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via Tim Franklin Photography.