Fake News: The Rise in Wrong

Recently on social media and news outlets, people have been talking about fake news outlets, fake news stories circulating, and hoaxes on people about unreal events. As asked in class, how can we stop these fake news outlets from spitting out bad information to the general public? Furthermore, can this problem ever be completely solved, or will be left to deal with people being misinformed forever?

There are certain sites that put out satirical news for humor and enjoyment such as The Onion. The Onion was founded in 1988 and continued to post satirical news stories in print until 2013 when they stopped printing. They have since been posting from their website http://www.theonion.com. However, since they were founded on posting satirical news, their “news” stories are not counted in the circle of bad information.

According to Emily Willingham, a Forbes contributor, says that it’s not just “middle-agers or the elderly who didn’t grow up digital. Digital natives don’t do any better, according to a recent study.” Willingham goes on to ask if we should believe we are doomed since some of these fake news sites are being backed by foreign governments and are made to look so real. She says while it would just be easier to open up people’s head and pour vital, real knowledge, we must try to come up with a “usable framework” for when people see things on their Facebook feeds, or online that they can check through to justify if it is a real, reliable source of information.

You ask but how can I find out if a source I am looking at on my Facebook timeline is real or fake? My answer? Research it more. Look to see if other news anchors or newspapers you trust are spouting the same information. If not, you may be on to something. The Washington Post posted an article a few days ago giving it’s readers a few steps to determine real news from fake with some simple steps. Tip 1: “Determine whether the article is from a legitimate website:” Tip 2: “Check the contact us page.” Tip 3:”Examine the byline of the reporter and see whether it makes sense.” Tip 4: “Read the article closely.” Tip 5: “Scrutinize the sources.” Tip 6: ” Look at the ads.” Tip 7: “Use search engines to double check.”

With these helpful tips provided by the Washington Post, you can check out those stories on your Facebook timeline, your Twitter feed, and not be fooled by these fake news stories again because now you have tools to legitimize their authenticity.


(The Fact Checkers Guide for Detecting Fake News Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/11/22/the-fact-checkers-guide-for-detecting-fake-news/)

(A Scientific Approach to Disgusting Real from Fake News Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2016/11/28/a-scientific-approach-to-distinguishing-real-from-fake-news/#1b833cd26920)



Can Bloggers Be Sued? Yes, they can.

You may have seen in the news recently that big businesses are getting sued, organizations, but what about content creators and bloggers? Can they get sued too? Yes, they can.

During the midst of election season, a 70-year-old blogger named Webster Tarpley  posted to this blog, “Where is Melania Trump? It is also widely known that Melania was not a working model but rather a high-end escort. ” Tarpley posted this 3 months ago. The Daily Mail posted similar allegations against Mrs. Trump closely following Tarpley’s blog post. Both the blog post and the publication by the Daily Mail caught Melania and her attorney’s attention. Mrs. Trump and her lawyer are wanting to sue Daily Mail and Mr. Tarpley for $150 million dollars for defamation. She and her attorney’s said, “These are some of the most inflammatory allegations possible. These are some of the most inflammatory allegations possible.” Tarpley’s attorney, John Owen, declared that his client is a political blogger who likes to discuss political matters with his audience and that he shared information that was rumored on other outlets of social media and his client felt there should be a public dialogue about the rumored past of the prospective First Lady of the United States.

Since this debate  is on-going, I do see how Mr. Tarpley wanted to question the path of the rumored past of the prospective First Lady, but I do believe that is the Daily Mail who is at fault for posting such an article without complete confidence in its accuracy.

In January 2016 in Pennslyvania,  The Standard Speaker posted that a local blogger named Mark Robbins was being sued $4,000 by former congressional hopeful Andy Ostrowski over allegations that Mr. Ostrowski was posting  “false things on his blog about plaintiff and circulating it, and other communications, widely by email and otherwise.” Ostrowski says that Robbin had  been “impugning my character, suggesting I’m involved in all kinds of illicit activities.” Robbin claimed he got his information about Ostrowski from the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and stood by all of his posts about Ostrowski. Robbin claimed Ostrowski’s motives for providing counsel to a women Robin believes  “Ostrowski has no valid reason to help.” Robbin also pointed out that Ostrowski who has a suspended law license has a history of drug abuse and  that abuse may be continuing. One of Robin’s most defamatory posts was taken down, but Robin doesn’t recall having it deleted in the first place. Ostrowski says he is never one to shy away from his past, but lies and falsehoods, he cannot handle. “Robbins alleged the lawsuit amounts to retaliation against him for filing a complaint with the disciplinary board last month regarding Ostrowski’s conduct with the woman.”

Since I am not sure how this court case ended, or if it is still in motion, I do believe that public figures do need to realize that people may try to dig up their past and question motives more than others may. If Robbin’s correct in Ostrowski’s motives for this suit, and it is a retaliation for Robbin’s complaint, than Ostrowski may need to think more critically about his actions before he puts himself in a more public light in the future.

Overall, bloggers do have their right to freedom of speech, but need to be careful to share only what information is their personal opinion, but to also make sure whatever they post they can back up with proof for their statements.

Local blogger sued for defamation by attorney (Source: http://standardspeaker.com/news/local-blogger-sued-for-defamation-by-attorney-1.2000541)

Trump Lawsuit (Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/in-libel-suit-melania-trump-says-maryland-blogger-held-reckless-disregard-for-the-truth/2016/11/12/f9074a12-a76d-11e6-8042-f4d111c862d1_story.html?tid=hybrid_collaborative_1_na)




How Branding Failures Can Improve

Over the years, brands have tried to come up with new and more catchy ways of advertising their company and products to seem more appealing to customers. Skittles came up with the idea that one man in their commercials should turn everything he touches into Skittles. Sounds like a good idea right? However, the commercial turns dark  when you hear the man say that he cannot hold is newborn baby boy because everything he touches turns to Skittles. Oops. Way to escalate the situation too quickly Skittles.

But Skittles isn’t the only company that has tried to ramp up their advertising only to be criticized or to have their efforts backfire. Other companies over the years have received terrible reviews over one issue or another. Here I am going to give you 3 examples of how companies branding can be beneficial, and ways in which it can be improved to its full potential.

Example 1: Vera Bradley

Vera Bradley is a well-known company that produces anything from purses, suitcases, to laptop covers as well as backpacks. They are very focused on reaching out via social media by asking people to tell them about their favorite items of purchase and asking them to hashtag pictures of their merchandise. They are supportive of Breast Cancer Awareness month by selling bags during their “Carry Pink” campaign and are very supportive of feedback about their products. However, Vera’s most recent campaign slogan, “It’s Good To Be A Girl,” could have been executed better than it was. The campaign was supposed to let women contribute on social media about why they enjoy being a girl, but instead, the campaign didn’t think that not ALL girls want to accessorize with handbags, or “belt out every lyrics to their favourite song.” Needless to say, Vera Bradley knows that THEY love about being a girl, but not considered that all girls experience being treated as a girl the same way.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/272286

Example 2: IHOP

IHOP is a wonderful restaurant that allows family and friends to enjoy a cup of coffee while eating delicious pancakes all for a low price. They are great at advertising their newest editions to the menu and having discounts for kids and seniors on a regular basis. However, recently in a Tweet, IHOP made a reference to some pancakes in a photo saying, “flat but has a GREAT personality.” Even if they were referring to pancakes attached to the tweet, that comment comes off more as misogynistic than referring to fluffy, delicious pancakes. Let’s not crack jokes at the female anatomy while trying to sell a product, shall we?

Source: https://www.printsome.com/blog/2016/marketing-failures/

Example 3: Budweiser

Budweiser has captured audiences attention from commercials about friendship at the Superbowl, to reminding audiences to stay safe by reminding people that their “Friends are Waiting” to keep people from driving home drunk. Budweiser certainly knows how to work emotion into their commercials when the time is right, but their advertising record isn’t spotless. Recently Budweiser made a rather large advertising blunder by coming up with the hashtag #UpForWhatever. An image of one of their beers reads, “The perfect beer for removing “no” from your vocabulary for the night.” How did Budweiser manage to write these words and not see the implications is beyond me. Next time Budweiser, let’s not accidentally promote date rape.

Source: https://www.printsome.com/blog/2016/marketing-failures/

Overall, most companies are very thorough when it comes to advertising and how to come up with catchy slogans, pulling us in with emotional commercials, and even catchy hashtags. However, some companies come up with ideas that may not have been the best idea and it backfires on them allowing them to reflect on their mistakes. Advertising continues to evolve and will continue to, but until we are all perfect, let’s sit back and laugh at our past and future failures.



Why do new moms post so much on Facebook?

A new study conducted by Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a professor of human sciences and psychology at Ohio State University, may provide some answers as to why new mothers may post more stuff about their baby on Facebook. Sullivan analyzed data collected from 127 mothers and found that “when women felt more societal pressure to be perfect mothers and viewed motherhood as central to their identity, they were more likely to share child-related updates and photos.” Most new mothers also had their new baby as their current profile picture at one point or another symbolizing a new part of their life.

Sullivan also discovered  nine months after having their baby, mothers reported depressive symptoms such as loss of appetite, not being able to “shake off the blues,” and restless sleep. Sullivan was not able to directly pinpoint the exact cause-and-effect link between a mom’s increased Facebook use and greater depressive symptoms.

New mothers may be turning to Facebook to share photos and experiences with their new child to want to see affirmation and comments, but could also be seeking out validation of their good parenting skills. While these are noble efforts and Facebook can be a truly helpful platform, new mothers may be causing themselves unnecessary stress by posting all their baby pictures and stories. Sharing photos and experiences with others in not a bad thing, but it could cause us to want to tell more stories and photos if shown that other “like” or “comment” on our posts more if they contain these certain type of photos or stories.

My point being? In the world we live in today, we all want to know what everyone else is doing whether it’s traveling, building a family, etc. But it seems the more we share our lives with others, the more we feel we need to share more in order to show all we have accomplished. Everyone wants to show they can plan to the perfect Pinterest party and show how much we can travel, but is all the stress necessarily worth it for new mothers?


Source: http://mashable.com/2016/05/30/moms-facebook-photos/#K1sfiFiDoZqm

Article by Rebecca Ruiz of Mashable.com


Microsoft stops cash funding for GOP Republican Convention

Microsoft has said it will not provide cash support for the 2016 Republican National Convention a decision it says was made long before being pressured by advocacy groups began pressuring it to withdraw. Fred Humphries, Microsoft’s Head of Government Affairs, said the “software giant” will be providing technical support for the GOP convention and says they will not be changing any of their planned activities at the convention. However, Microsoft says the National Democratic Convention will have the same access to its products, but that it also plans to sponsor it.

The advocacy group Color of Change has been advocating that Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and other large corporations to withdraw sponsorship of the GOP Convention led by Donald Trump, “arguing that it equates to endorsing the candidate’s charged rhetoric.”

Color of Change is also petitioning Google to “Dump Trump,” however Google still says it will still live stream the convention. Color says this is a huge step toward improvement since the 2012 convention when Microsoft donated about $1.5 million which came from direct donations. Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson says it is asking companies such as Microsoft and others to stop advertising their products during the live-stream and also commercials at the convention.

The convention is said to take place in Cleveland on July 18 of this year.

Source: http://recode.net/2016/04/29/microsoft-says-it-will-not-provide-cash-support-to-the-republican-national-convention/

The “Bathroom Bill” is Backfiring

According to Mashable.com, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas are the latest two artists to cancel their shows in North Carolina due to the bill saying that transgender people must use the restroom according to their gender on their birth certificate.

Demi quoted, “North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law is extremely disappointing, and it takes away some of the LGBT community’s most basic rights and protections.But we will not allow this to stop us from continuing to make progress for equality and acceptance. We know the cancelation of these shows is disappointing to our fans, but we trust that you will stand united with us against this hateful law.”

Jonas and Lovato are not the only artists to recently cancel shows in North Carolina due to the passing of the bill. Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam cancelled their tour dates to North Carolina as well. However, Father John Misty decided to go ahead and perform in the state but have all of the proceeds of the concert go towards repealing the bill.

It is nice to see that more and more artists are becoming aware of the discrimination in North Carolina and finding ways to combat it in their own ways. In my personal opinion, I do not believe this bill is helping the United States because it casts a bad image on the South and how much we can go against basic human rights and discriminate again people for doing something so simple as using the restroom. Not all Southerns are discriminatory, there are good ones out there, but the majority of us are being drowned out by those who would rather deny people their human rights than leave the issue alone as we did before.

Source: http://mashable.com/2016/04/25/demi-lovato-nick-jonas-north-carolina-cancelled/#46dATCTmokq3

How Far Would You Go To Erase Something?

University of North Carolina Davis had to ask this question recently, and discovered the hard truth behind one of their greatest shames: the 2011 UC Davis Pepper-spray incident. The Sacramento Bee reported that UC Davis went to great lengths to delete videos and images and came face to face with the phrase “internet is forever” on a personal level.

This incident occurred when police pepper-sprayed peaceful, Occupy Wall Street student protesters sitting, at very short range. The backlash that came from this event was shown in photos and videos taken by students at the time of the event and even turned into a viral meme featuring John Pike the most prominent officer of the situation. UC Davis tossed up a lot of money to hire two separate counseling  services to erase all of the its bad reputation and to erase the memory of the whole event. “UC Davis paid $90,000 to one consulting firm, Nevins & Associates, for a “proactive online brand and reputation enhancement campaign.” The firm promised to create positive content, place positive news stories with strategic media outlets, and strategically filter negative search results” (Romano 1).

Even after these two different firms were told to clean up UC Davis’s reputation, they both failed miserably in that the second thing to pop up in Google’s search engine when you type in “uc davis” is “uc davis pepper spray.”

” If an entity of its size and stature, which has the ability to fling hundreds of thousands of dollars at a problem, can’t erase negative search results from the web, how can any of the rest of us” (Romano)?  As much as we as a society don’t like to admit it, everything we say, do, or type on the internet is stored somewhere in a database, and we will never be able to get it back. It’s there forever, whether you find that to be a good thing or a bad thing, the choice is up to you.

Video of “UC Davis Pepper-spray incident:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM

Source of article: http://www.vox.com/2016/4/15/11430462/uc-davis-pepper-spray-internet-history-revenge-porn



WARNING: Incoming Encryption Law

A bill has been raging though the courts and media, and already Silicon Valley is completely against it.

This bill “would require companies — from makers of “communications” devices like iPhones to secure messaging tools like WhatApp — to turn over information in response to a judge’s order.” This potential law was brought about after the recent starting of the San Bernardino FBI v. Apple case. This bill is essentially the Big Brother looking over communication apps shoulders and telling them they can either do it the government’s companies way, or the highway.

This law has a certain amount of lacking of technological solutions because it says that companies must simply hand over their information, or provide the government with technical assistance. It has the “no person is above the law” kind of tone.

But as Daniel Castro of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says, “While companies should comply with lawful requests, it is simply not possible for a company to do so when a customer controls the only keys used to encrypt data.” So it becomes abundantly clear that this case, just like the Apple case, that the government thinks they can bully companies into helping them in a court case. But in reality, what they don’t realize, is that most of these apps or phones now a days used, are to some extent password protected or encrypted already. This means that, according to Daniel Castro, this bill is setting itself up to further cause confusion like in the FBI v. Apple case and will ultimately cause more harm that good.

As Gaurav Laroia, general counsel for the Free Press says, “If this dangerous bill passes, it would outlaw not just end-to-end encrypted communications but also the tools that protect our information from criminals, hackers and foreign governments working to undermine the security of millions of people and businesses. Our right to privacy should extend beyond in-person conversations to include communications made via the Internet and wireless networks. Encryption is the tool that makes this possible.”

So the question still remains, how far would we go to protect our privacy, and how willing is the government to know everything about us from our texts, emails, browser searchs, telephone calls? The answer is? They are getting greedy, now they want EVERYTHING.

Source: http://recode.net/2016/04/08/senate-draft-encryption-bill-dangerous/

Autism Helped Through Apps

Autism is a disease that affects 1 in 68 children in the world according to the CDC. For most autistic children, speaking is a struggle. Today, more than 13 apps are now available in the App Store on Apple products from the iPad to an iPod touch that can allow these children to communicate better using apps to better enable their communications with others.

One of the more common apps used to help people with autism is called Proloquo2Go made by AssistiveWare: this app “can be customized to best fit the needs of individual users.” People can customize phrases put into different columns and select which phrase they would like to play such as “please”, “thank you”, or even “Mom.” This app was used in the UK by a child named Ruby. In her case it has helped significantly. Her teacher, Pauline Hoy Green, says in the video that Ruby would hit her up to 30 times each day, but since having the iPad, her behavior has improved 95% and she had not been hit all day. Ruby’s mother says that this technology enables Ruby to have a voice and describe through the words and pictures what she wants to communicate.

With all these apps becoming available to more and more people with the technology of Apple, more people with autism will be able to communicate better with everyone and won’t make them as afraid of not being able to be heard. For adults with autism as well, these apps can help with communicate if they go to a cafe for example, they can communicate with their waitress and tell them what they would like to order. This technology isn’t only better for people with autism personally, but their families and friends around them. Normally we think of technology as now a days becoming a bad thing, but we must remember that all the technology we currently have can change at anytime and can continue to grow!

Ruby’s Case: https://youtu.be/nBIcGXCEaTw

Source: http://mashable.com/2016/04/02/autism-apps/#NoqeOUOli8qQ

Trump Rally Causes Fight

According to Mashable.com author, Jonathan Ellis, reported that at Donald Trump’s rally on Saturday in Arizona, seemed relatively calm. However, his next event in Tucson was a whole other issue.

A video was released by NBC News’s Frank Thorp V, a man appearing to punch and kick a protestor while security people were leading him away. Another video below the first was videoed by a protestor to show “how crazy it would be.” Apparently, “The protester is holding a poster with an image of Trump when the man rips it out of his hands, then punches him.”

The man who threw the punches was led away by security personnel. The protestor was interviewed later by newspaper Arizona Star Daily. He identified himself as Bryan Sanders and claimed that “Trump is bad for America.” “‘The guy grabbed the sign out of my hand as I was being escorted out of the building, and sucker-punched me,'” Sanders said.

 This scene reminds me of the Trump rally from last week where a white man sucker-punched a black protestor while being escorted up an aisle. On Saturday in Tucson however, the protestor appears to be white but the man punching and kicking him appears to be black. At the same rally, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was captured on video grabbing the protestor’s collar who had caught the attention of a Trump campaign security guard. The video of this alleged incident was captured by Jacqueline Alemany of CBS News. A statement later went out stating that the protestor had done the collar grabbing instead of Mr. Lewandowski but the video footage does not lie.
Several people are questioning, why was Trump’s campaign manager even in the stands anyways, and why did he feel the need to go to this protestor specifically?
We shall never know. But the moral of the article is, people are always watching, and don’t believe for one second that people aren’t going to record what they want. So no matter how you try to spin the lie, the video proof will always be much stronger than anyone’s spoken word because video shows physical, hard proof.
Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2016/03/19/trump-tucson-rally/?utm_cid=hp-hh-sec#NoqeOUOli8qQ