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Evidence Can Change Partisan Minds: Rethinking the Bounds of Motivated Reasoning
Can factual information change partisan opinions? According to theories of partisan-motivated
reasoning, citizens maintain their partisan viewpoints by dismissing counter-attitudinal
information while uncritically accepting evidence that supports their views. Contrary to the
conventional wisdom, I find that citizens sensibly update their opinions about highly contentious
issues when presented with new information. In three survey experiments with 7200 participants
and an observational study leveraging a sudden flow of new information, my results indicate that
people respond to the strength of evidence when processing new information. Partisans changed
their policy opinions in the same direction in response to the same information, and often
converged toward the evidence. They generally did not diverge except when primed to feel
adversarial toward the opposing party or when exposed to arguments loaded with insults.
Overall, these results suggest that people may engage in biased information processing when
they are induced to feel defensive about their partisan viewpoints, but not by default
article_with_melissa  democracy_with_melissa  cognitive_democracy  PDKL-Ninety-five 
8 days ago by henryfarrell
Eight people charged with running a multimillion-dollar online ad scam - The Verge
The Department of Justice has unsealed indictments against eight people who allegedly ran the infamous online advertising scams 3ve and Methbot. The defendants, who are primarily from Russia, are accused of collecting more than $36 million from companies who thought they were paying to place ads on websites. But the ads were never seen by a human being — instead, the defendants allegedly used a server farm and a botnet to simulate billions of visits to real pages
16 days ago by henryfarrell
The spread of low-credibility content by social bots | Nature Communications
The spread of low-credibility content by social bots
Chengcheng Shao, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Onur Varol, Kai-Cheng Yang, Alessandro Flammini & Filippo Menczer
Nature Communicationsvolume 9, Article number: 4787 (2018) | Download Citation

The massive spread of digital misinformation has been identified as a major threat to democracies. Communication, cognitive, social, and computer scientists are studying the complex causes for the viral diffusion of misinformation, while online platforms are beginning to deploy countermeasures. Little systematic, data-based evidence has been published to guide these efforts. Here we analyze 14 million messages spreading 400 thousand articles on Twitter during ten months in 2016 and 2017. We find evidence that social bots played a disproportionate role in spreading articles from low-credibility sources. Bots amplify such content in the early spreading moments, before an article goes viral. They also target users with many followers through replies and mentions. Humans are vulnerable to this manipulation, resharing content posted by bots. Successful low-credibility sources are heavily supported by social bots. These results suggest that curbing social bots may be an effective strategy for mitigating the spread of online misinformation.
cybersecurity_class  PDKL-Ninety-five 
22 days ago by henryfarrell
People Are Arguing About Whether This Trump Press Conference Video Is Doctored
deliberately sped up — but the change in format, from a high-quality video to a low-quality GIF, turns the question of whether it was "doctored" into a semantic debate.

This video analysis by BuzzFeed News demonstrates what the GIF conversion process does to video. While it's not technically "sped up" by intent, it effectively is in practice. The video-to-GIF conversion removes frames from the source material by reducing the frame rate. The GIF-making tool GIF Brewery, for example, typically reduces source video to 10 frames per second. Raw, televised video typically has a frame rate of 29.97 frames per second.
5 weeks ago by henryfarrell

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