Over the past year, Facebook has struggled to combat the spread of fake news and misinformation on its platform. On January 11, the social media giant announced that it would change the algorithm of its news feed so that it would “prioritize what [users’] friends and family share and comment on,” according to The New York Times.
A prominent fake news website whose Facebook page has been verified by Facebook and which has been accused by experts of being a Russian proxy has revived the debunked fake news conspiracy theory known as “Pizzagate” in a new article. The article has also been promoted by Michael Flynn Jr.
On November 5, a gunman opened fire and killed at least 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX. The alleged gunman, Devin Patrick Kelly, was court martialed while in the Air Force in 2012 on charges of “assaulting his wife and child” and has been accused of stalking ex-girlfriends.
On October 17, the Russian publication RBC published a report on the Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm tied to the Kremlin, and how it impacted the 2016 election via social media platforms. Included in that report were the usernames of multiple Twitter accounts that these operatives used, the most prominent being @TEN_GOP.
Websites that have branded themselves as “satirical” or as intending to “prank” people are contributing to the problem of fake news spreading on social media and elsewhere online, as their articles are picked up by users and fake news purveyors who present the false content as real.
Donald Trump Jr. has repeatedly liked tweets that link to prominent fake news purveyor True Pundit, which played a major role in pushing the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. The president’s son also tweeted a True Pundit link on July 26, one of many times he personally promoted a serial misinformer.
Late on October 1, Stephen Craig Paddock reportedly opened fire at a concert in Las Vegas, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400. Police have located the alleged gunman’s roommate, who they believe “at this time not to be involved.”
Creating revenue streams for websites that post this sort of content gives them an incentive to spread misinformation. For example, CNN reported in September that fake news purveyors from Macedonia, where much of this type of content originates, get their “profits … primarily from ad services such as Google’s AdSense.”
Multiple fake news purveyors are pushing a story originating from a supposedly satirical website alleging that a Houston-area mosque is refusing to take in non-Muslim victims of Hurricane Harvey because of their religion. At least one of the fake news purveyors pushing the story is funded by Google AdSense.
Hyperpartisan media outlets, fake news purveyors, and fringe right-wing media figures are promoting a conspiracy theory that suggests that one of the white supremacist organizers of the rally in Charlottesville, VA, was really a “liberal double agent” who staged the rallies in order to “depict conservatives as white supremacists.”
President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, after neo-Nazi and other fringe media that have supported Trump called for him to do so. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court on July 31…
Dotcom based his claim on emails given to the conservative group American Center for Law And Justice (ACLJ) — where Trump attorney Jay Sekulow is the chief counsel — as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Over the past month, McMaster has worked to oust some members of the National Security Council (NSC) who were previously aligned with former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s chief strategist (and former Breitbart News head) Steve Bannon.
Media outlets that favor President Donald Trump are claiming that former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were involved with the death of a former Haitian government official. The claim is just the latest in a long-running series of unsupported allegations that the Clintons have murdered people.
The Times reported on July 8 that Trump Jr. met with “a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin,” and the next day reported that Trump Jr. “was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing” to the meeting. Initially, Trump Jr. falsely told the Times that the meeting, which was set up by publicist Rob Goldstone on behalf of a Russian singer, was “primarily about an adoption program.”
Fringe media supporting President Donald Trump have claimed that former President Barack Obama violated federal law and is acting as a “shadow president” because he has talked to former and current foreign leaders since the end of his presidency. The claims, which have at least partially been parroted on Fox News, are an extension of conservative media’s ongoing conspiracy theory that Obama runs a “shadow government.”
A false claim posted on 4chan that a Redditor who created an anti-CNN GIF, and who was tracked down by CNN, was just 15 years old made its way to Donald Trump Jr. and on Fox News within 12 hours. According to CNN and the reporter who helped identify the Reddit user, the man is actually middle aged.
A new report from The Guardian claims that Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller and Congress are likely looking into possible Russian collusion with pro-Trump websites and associates of President Donald Trump’s election campaign in order to spread fake news and misinformation on social media during the 2016 presidential election.
The mutually beneficial relationship between President Donald Trump and Fox News has been readily apparent for a while, partly because of the network’s Trump mania during the campaign. But after nearly 150 days of Trump’s presidency, Fox — and in particular Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends — has essentially become a propaganda outlet for the president.
Stewart, who was Virginia state co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, heavily courted the “alt-right” during his campaign, which he announced in April 2016. While he was the co-chair, Stewart wrote multiple pieces for “alt-right”-promoting website Breitbart.
Putin made similar remarks two days earlier during a panel discussion, which Kelly moderated, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, saying, “There is no specific evidence, no facts, just assumptions, allegations and conclusions based on those allegations nothing more.”
Forged documents originating on 4chan alleging that French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was evading taxes spread online thanks to an ecosystem that includes social media, “alt-right” outlets, and fake news purveyors. The campaign was seemingly aided by Russian-linked entities, and it subsequently reached Macron’s opponent, who aired the claim in a public debate. Macron is competing in a May 7 runoff against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Fake news — information that is clearly and demonstrably fabricated and that has been packaged and distributed to appear as legitimate news — was a major problem during the 2016 election, and such misinformation continues to be pervasive. Websites that spread fake news, which Media Matters has dubbed fake news purveyors, have additionally become part of an ecosystem with the “alt-right” that also spreads other kinds of misinformation, such as dubious claims and conspiracy theories.
On April 2, Mike Cernovich, a self-described member of the “alt-right,” claimed in a post on Medium that the “White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking” of Trump officials caught in surveillance of foreign officials “after examining Rice’s document log requests.”
Someone looking at only the TV screen would not know these potential stumbling blocks with the deal. Instead, they would see only a graphic saying, “Trump Delivers On Vow To Save Carrier Jobs,” essentially giving Trump the talking point he wanted.