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‘Transparency’ Is the Mother of Fake News
At first glance the bias in favor of unlimited speech and information seems perfectly reasonable and even unassailable. What arguments could be brought against it? An answer to that question has been offered in recent years by a small, but growing, number of critics.

In a 2009 essay in The New Republic titled “Against Transparency,” the law professor Lawrence Lessig (known as an apostle of openness), asked, as I just have, “How could anyone be against transparency?” Lessig responds to his own question by quoting a trio of authors who in their book “Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency” observe that by itself information doesn’t do anything; its effects depend on the motives of those who make use of it, and raw information (that is, data) cannot distinguish between benign and malign appropriations of itself. Misunderstanding and manipulation are always more than possible, and there is no way to assure that “new information is used to further public objectives.”

Another way to put this is to say that information, data and the unbounded flow of more and more speech can be politicized — it can, that is, be woven into a narrative that constricts rather than expands the area of free, rational choice. When that happens — and it will happen often — transparency and the unbounded flow of speech become instruments in the production of the very inequalities (economic, political, educational) that the gospel of openness promises to remove. And the more this gospel is preached and believed, the more that the answer to everything is assumed to be data uncorrupted by interests and motives, the easier it will be for interest and motives to operate under transparency’s cover.

[...]

The insistence on the primacy of narratives and interpretations does not involve a deriding of facts but an alternative story of their emergence. Postmodernism sets itself against the notion of facts just lying there discrete and independent, and waiting to be described. Instead it argues that fact is the achievement of argument and debate, not a pre-existing entity by whose measure argument can be assessed. Arguments come first; when they are successful, facts follow — at least for a while, until a new round of arguments replaces them with a new set of facts.

This is far from the picture of Nietzschean nihilism that Hanson and others paint. Friction, not free invention, is the heart of the process: You commit yourself to the standards of evidence long in place in the conversation you enter, and then you maneuver as best you can within the guidelines of those standards. Thus, for example, a judge who issues a decision cannot simply decide which side he favors and then generate an opinion; he must first pass through and negotiate the authorized routes for getting there. Sometimes the effort at negotiation will fail and he will say that despite his interpretive desires, “This opinion just won’t write.”

Any opinion will write if there are no routes to be negotiated or no standards to hew to, if nothing but your own interpretive desire prevents you from assembling or reassembling bits of unmoored data lying around in the world into a story that serves your purposes. It is not postmodernism that licenses this irresponsibility; it is the doctrine that freedom of information and transparency are all we need.
NYT  fake-news  transparency  free-speech  politics  oppression  potmodernism  2018 
12 days ago by zzkt
TheJournal.ie FactCheck is first Irish outlet to officially tackle misinformation on Facebook
TheJournal.ie FactCheck project has signed on to carry out third-party fact-checking on Facebook. This will involved testing the veracity of articles posted on the platform and attaching a rating and contextual information to contested items.


Awesome. nice one TJ
the-journal  fact-checking  facebook  fake-news  facts  journalism 
25 days ago by jm
Drew Cloud Is a Well-Known Expert on Student Loans. One Problem: He’s Not Real. - The Chronicle of Higher Education
His website, the Student Loan Report, is widely cited by news media for its surveys on loan debt, and Cloud is quoted at length. But both he and his organization are facades.
student-loans  fake-news 
25 days ago by dougleigh
We Should Put Fact-Checking Tools In the Core Browser | Hapgood
Early in the history of the browser various features were introduced that helped with navigation: bookmarks, bookmark organization, browsable history, omnibar search, URL autocomplete (which ended  up eroding bookmark use). Icons showing when a connection was secure. Malicious site blocking. But as the web developed, the main focus of the browser wars ended up being less the browser as a navigation device and more the browser as an application platform. The interaction designs and renderings browsers support still advance year over year but the browser as a piece of user-focused software stalled decades ago. Mobile use, with it’s thin, crippled UI, just compounded that trend. Extensions were proposed as a solution for extensibility, but the nature of them just served to further impoverish core development.
mike-caulfield  browser  web-browsers  fake-news  media-literacy 
29 days ago by jbrennan
You Won’t Believe What Obama Says In This Video! 😉 - YouTube
"We're entering an era in which our enemies can make anyone say anything at any point in time."
fake-news  video  Manipulation 
4 weeks ago by thot
Post-Authenticity and the Ironic Truths of Meme Culture
What I’ve sought to argue in this essay, then, is that we are indeed living in an a strange, surface-centric moment in popular, digital culture right now — where the original ‘essence of things’ has indeed become somewhat unfashionable (or just less entertaining). Social and media technologies, optimised for the diffusion of highly emotive, reaction-generating content, encourage a rapid trade in attention-grabbing ideas, over slower-burning systematic, contextualised thinking.

Yet, even as ‘authenticity’ as a claim and as an aesthetic feels outdated, deeper forms of ‘realness’ in our communications still persist. People are still seeking to communicate their deepest personal truths: their values, hopes and fears with each other. Through sharing media, we’re still creating community.

Nonetheless, the kind of truth in play is changing form: emotional and moral truths are in ascendance over straightforwardly factual claims. Truth becomes plural, and thereby highly contested: global warming, 9/11, or Obama’s birthplace are all treated as matters of cultural allegiance over ‘fact’ as traditionally understood. “By my reckoning, the solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half,” Kurt Andersen posits. Electorates in the US and Europe are polarising along value-driven lines — order and authority vs. openness and change. Building the coalitions of support needed to tackle the grand challenges we face this century will require a profound upgrade to our political and cultural leaders’ empathic and reconciliation skills.
culture  memes  generations  branding  demographics  irony  teens  danah-boyd  politics  fake-news 
5 weeks ago by jbrennan
The Web’s Recommendation Engines Are Broken. Can We Fix Them? | WIRED
a recent disinformation research project led me to a Pinterest board of anti-Islamic memes, one night of clicking through those pins—created by fake personas affiliated with the Internet Research Agency—turned my feed upside down. My babies-and-recipes experience morphed into a strange mish-mash of videos of Dinesh D’Souza, a controversial right-wing commentator, and Russian-language craft projects.
pinterest  fake-news 
5 weeks ago by jomc

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