How false news can spread – Noah Tavlin


There’s a quote usually attributed
to the writer Mark Twain that goes, “A lie can travel
halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Funny thing about that. There’s reason to doubt
that Mark Twain ever said this at all, thus, ironically, proving the point. And today, the quote, whoever said it,
is truer than ever before. In previous decades,
most media with global reach consisted of several
major newspapers and networks which had the resources
to gather information directly. Outlets like Reuters
and the Associated Press that aggregate or rereport stories
were relatively rare compared to today. The speed with which
information spreads now has created the ideal conditions for
a phenomenon known as circular reporting. This is when publication A
publishes misinformation, publication B reprints it, and publication A then cites B
as the source for the information. It’s also considered a form
of circular reporting when multiple publications report on the same initial piece
of false information, which then appears to another author as
having been verified by multiple sources. For instance, the 1998 publication
of a single pseudoscientific paper arguing that routine vaccination
of children causes autism inspired an entire
antivaccination movement, despite the fact that the original paper
has repeatedly been discredited by the scientific community. Deliberately unvaccinated children
are now contracting contagious diseases that had been virtually
eradicated in the United States, with some infections proving fatal. In a slightly less dire example, satirical articles that are formatted
to resemble real ones can also be picked up by outlets
not in on the joke. For example, a joke article in the
reputable British Medical Journal entitled “Energy Expenditure in Adolescents
Playing New Generation Computer Games,” has been referenced in serious
science publications over 400 times. User-generated content, such as wikis, are also a common contributer
to circular reporting. As more writers come to rely
on such pages for quick information, an unverified fact in a wiki page
can make its way into a published article that may later be added as a citation
for the very same wiki information, making it much harder to debunk. Recent advances
in communication technology have had immeasurable benefits in breaking down the barriers
between information and people. But our desire for quick answers may overpower the desire
to be certain of their validity. And when this bias can be multiplied by
billions of people around the world, nearly instantaneously,
more caution is in order. Avoiding sensationalist media, searching for criticisms
of suspicious information, and tracing the original source
of a report can help slow down a lie, giving the truth more time
to put on its shoes.

100 thoughts on “How false news can spread – Noah Tavlin

  1. False news spreads whenever the original source of the "news" is less concerned with the actual truth of the situation and more concerned with an agenda. It then spreads when the people hearing it don't bother to question if the information they get is factual, which is easier when it already somewhat reinforces their own ideas.

    It's very difficult for someone to put aside their own personal filter and take themselves out of the story, especially since journalism has moved away from doing so. Thus it's nearly impossible to get good information anymore. You can't get it from corporate news, Facebook, any news outlet on the internet, or anywhere on YouTube. Instead of simply reporting events they all (pretty much admittedly) have a left/right, racial, political, gender, or religious bias. Even if just facts are presented, due to the complex nature of our world, what facts are chosen to be presented will have an effect on the recipient.

  2. We've finally arrived to the time when we can share information faster than we can understand it.

  3. Another satirical article is "Is Your Son A Computer Hacker?" No idea who wrote it, but it's * amazing*

  4. Sometimes it's circular reporting. Sometimes it's Poe's Law. Sometimes it's user generated content. And sometimes it's an autocrat intentionally interfering with international news in an attempt to distract global superpowers from his expansionist agenda. Just putin that out there.

  5. Person: This man recently died from cancer
    Anti-Vaxxer: Was he vaccinated
    Person: he got his flu shot recently
    Anti-Vaxxer: See, vaccines cause death as proven by this man

    Pls show to anti-vaccine people

  6. This video didn't work. We still have idiots calling everyone who disagrees with Trump "fake news".

  7. this is exactly why the only person I trust with serious things is myself.

  8. just like Abraham Lincoln said, “ don’t believe everything on the internet “

  9. I am tell he cracks up a bit when he says that thing about how real articles refrenced a joke article

  10. There is a paradox where someone said something as a lie, but also told the truth

  11. Just don't believe everything that you see on any news or internet article, easy.

  12. It happens in happens in india which often leads serious consequences. the media needs to be more honest

  13. This always happens in politics, Teresa may said a lie about Skripal, everyone believes it's russia

  14. The News is like YouTube they put a thumbnail or a title to attract the viewer.

  15. Hmmm false news. Reminds me of a certain news network and a lot of red

  16. The solution is to tell the truth but pretend it's a lie.

  17. There is one five-letter name starting with a T that everyone who saw this is now thinking about.

  18. This is the age of clickbait where the most clicks in the least amount of time takes preference. Additionally now any website can quote a tweet and peddle it as news

  19. Commoner English:

    Well, We Are Here Now, Flat Earthers

    Special English:

    Well Well Well, Visualize The Overly Challenging Point Towards This Moment That We Exist On The Metaphorical Speck In The Sun’s Thermal Energy, The International Society Of Plate Shaped Planeters

  20. It says that AP and Reuters are aggregators. My understanding is the opposite; they report and others use their materials [under contract]. Here is a suit brought by AP precisely against a group that took their reporting without permission. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/03/25/285909.htm Clarification?

  21. In the words of Sherriff Woody: “Somebody’s poisoned the water hole!”

  22. Fake news is spread through operation mockingbird and news agencies like fox. Cnn. Wsj..tyt. pbs…npr…bbc… ect 80)

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  24. Os canalhas e as mídias a serviço de interesses escusos. E todas as bandidagens que não desejam abrir mão do poder. Querem agora controlar a liberdade da internet de qualquer jeito. Já perceberam que as TVs já não estão conseguindo mais manipular as massas do modo como eles sempre fizeram. Logo elas que são disparadas as maiores divulgadoras de mentiras e de dominação das populações, com enganações o tempo todo. Fora induções diversas e manipulações mil. Então agora declararam guerra ao único mecanismo livre que o povo possui. Virou prioridade máxima controlar de qualquer forma qualquer ambiente de liberdade digital. Até o Whatsapp eles querem controlar. O mais engraçado é que eles desejam tano dizimar tudo que é digital. Mas o voto eles fazem questão que continue sendo digital eternamente, para perpetuar os bandidos das panelinhas deles. Quem manda no mundo é quem detém as mídias. Fica claro isto diante do desespero deles

  25. A sign of doomsday is that books will increase, but the knowledge will decrease. Prophet Muhammad is always right.

  26. I can't find anything confirming that the British Medical Journal published a joke article. Does anybody have any link?

  27. This is why the MSM hates when the DON Tweets cause they can't interpret for the public ???

  28. This is a very large problem that not enough people are taking in to account.

  29. Batboy is a patriot, a hero and a national treasure, and you will not convince me otherwise

  30. A really good video. Brief, to the point. How I could contact you concerning your video?

  31. Albert Einstein once said, ”99% of quotes were just made up by some random person on the internet”

  32. And now we all know how people in FYROM think they are descendants of Alexander the Great.

  33. As Chinggis khan once said "Don't believe everything you read on the internet"

  34. Why this is entire video is fake!
    These days you can only rely on reputable news sources such as the onion very simple tbh.

  35. So proud of TedEd for finding a great way to educate kids on this issue… so disappointed in the modern news industry for making this something that kids have to worry about

  36. "An internet so starved of content that facts are optional" is a quote that has always stuck with me whenever I think about this sort of thing.

  37. Funny when comming for the same people who let people who believe in bretharianism and free energy to lectures on your events.

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