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posted by martyb on Thursday February 08 2018, @11:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-a-right-wing-thing dept.

Fake News Sharing in US is a Right-Wing Thing, Says Study

A study by researchers at Oxford University concluded that sharing fake and junk news is much more prevalent amongst Trump supporters and other people with hard right-wing tendencies.

From the Guardian:

The study, from the university's "computational propaganda project", looked at the most significant sources of "junk news" shared in the three months leading up to Donald Trump's first State of the Union address this January, and tried to find out who was sharing them and why.

"On Twitter, a network of Trump supporters consumes the largest volume of junk news, and junk news is the largest proportion of news links they share," the researchers concluded. On Facebook, the skew was even greater. There, "extreme hard right pages – distinct from Republican pages – share more junk news than all the other audiences put together.

Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US

What kinds of social media users read junk news? We examine the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address. Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, we find that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. We demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook's public pages.

http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/polarization-partisanship-and-junk-news/

[Ed. note: page is loading very slowly; try a direct link to the actual report (pdf). --martyb]


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday February 08 2018, @04:55PM (9 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday February 08 2018, @04:55PM (#635013)

    there is no such thing as objective reality

    It should be pointed out that that idea is and has always been a friend to every totalitarian regime that has ever existed. For instance, the Soviets functioned on that for decades with completely fraudulent reporting about everything and science based on nonsense like Lamarckism.

    There is objective reality. You can determine its condition and its rules by science, careful study, reason, etc. And if you don't, you will be susceptible to liars everywhere.

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  • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Thursday February 08 2018, @08:38PM (6 children)

    by meustrus (4961) on Thursday February 08 2018, @08:38PM (#635182)

    Please excuse me for going off-topic here, but I'm rather curious about something.

    I dove into some biology articles following a previous story about epigenetics, and found myself confused about Lamarckism. Not as to whether it had any merit; I am not a biologist and do not claim to make any judgements as to the merit of one man's work over another's.

    No, what was confusing was the extent to which the authors wanted to make damned sure nobody thought that epigenetics even smelled like Lamarckism. Given that the overall summary of it was the idea that individual organisms make adaptations to their environments, and that those adaptations are heritable, all that I can assume is that I'm missing something.

    I know genetics doesn't work like that, and that adaptive pressure applied to generations of individuals with randomized collections of phenomes is an explanation that better matches reality. But if we can inherit behavioral, social, and apparently even gene methylation patterns, how is that fundamentally not Lamarckian? And why is it so damned important that I understand the distinction?

    My guess is that the answer lies in a combination of political history and the details of Lamarck's conclusions. I'm hoping you can provide some answers, Thexalon, since you have invoked the name and clearly hold the same opinion as to its validity.

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    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday February 08 2018, @10:37PM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday February 08 2018, @10:37PM (#635255)

      "Lamarckism" was a mostly honest attempt to provide a mechanism for variation and heredity before it was accepted that those things were anything outside the realm of God. Lamarck ended up of course being mostly wrong, although some of his idea lives on as epigenetics. The reason that so many in the field are so adamant about separating themselves from Lamarck is that his ideas were almost invariably misrepresented to further personal agendas, for instance the example of Lysenkoism given by the AC below your post.
      If you're curious about the subject and want to fill a few holes in your knowledge, the book Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution by Maitland A. Edey and Donald C. Johansen gives a nice history in layman's terms of how the idea of evolution evolved (although they occasionally bog down in "dialogues" attempting to hammer down a point - a minor personal gripe - for one who needs it that probably helps a great deal). The book is almost worth it for the last chapter alone.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 09 2018, @05:50PM (4 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 09 2018, @05:50PM (#635608) Journal

      No, what was confusing was the extent to which the authors wanted to make damned sure nobody thought that epigenetics even smelled like Lamarckism.

      As Joe Desertrat indicated, what they really were doing was making sure their theory didn't smell like Lysenkoism.

      But if we can inherit behavioral, social, and apparently even gene methylation patterns, how is that fundamentally not Lamarckian?

      First thing to note here is that gene methylation is actually the most credible example of potential epigenetics inheritance. Those others are based on some very weak science.

      Further, just because a change has occurred in a child organism due to epigenetics doesn't mean that it is an inherited trait. Those can be merely environmental as well with future generations unaffected by the change.

      Finally, Lamarckism is a theory about overall genetic inheritance, not merely the inheritance of a small number of traits. We know it's not true in general.

      • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Monday February 12 2018, @07:23PM (3 children)

        by meustrus (4961) on Monday February 12 2018, @07:23PM (#636790)

        First thing to note here is that gene methylation is actually the most credible example of potential epigenetics inheritance. Those others are based on some very weak science.

        I thought that the inheritance of behavioral and social traits was self-evident, and hadn't thought much about what science may have been done on the topic. I might be thinking more of language and education, which aren't normally considered "inherited" characteristics but which I believe behave in a profoundly evolutionary manner. Not that I was suggesting that any of this is biologically encoded rather than learned throughout an organism's lifetime.

        --
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        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:21AM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:21AM (#636942) Journal
          Now that you described how these evolve, what does this have to do with Lamarckism? The classic example was speculation about giraffes, that giraffes got those long necks because some animal had to stretch its neck to eat leaves. Then that need to stretch the neck (rather than Darwism's counterview that giraffes with longer necks were the survivors) became an inherited characteristic with children having longer necks as a result and eventually ending up at present where apparently there is no further need to stretch the neck longer.

          The cultural analogue might be immigrants from some part of the equatorial regions who don't celebrate any sort of winter holiday move to the Arctic Circle and start celebrating Christmas. Does that mean that there are genetic changes in any subsequent children as a result to celebrate Christmas better?
          • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:52PM (1 child)

            by meustrus (4961) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:52PM (#637118)

            Of course it doesn't mean genetic change. But given Lamarck's time in history I really doubt any of it had to do with genetics.

            The profound difference is, as you say, that adaptation during an organism's life is passed down to offspring rather than randomized variations resulting in different biology that win out over generations of natural selection. The question is: does the evolution of knowledge more often follow the former pattern or the latter? How often do we humans get it right and pass the truth on to our children, and how often do we just generate a huge number of hypotheses for only a few correct ones to survive?

            --
            If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 13 2018, @03:20PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 13 2018, @03:20PM (#637136) Journal

              Of course it doesn't mean genetic change. But given Lamarck's time in history I really doubt any of it had to do with genetics.

              To the contrary, it does. Lamarck and Darwin didn't know how traits were stored in the organism, but they were quite able to speculate on how those traits were passed on.

              The question is: does the evolution of knowledge more often follow the former pattern or the latter?

              It follows neither pattern. The key difference is that knowledge can become greatly modified over the course of a single human's lifespan (even in the days before civilization and the potential for massive technological progress) and can be passed on by a variety of means other than inheritance. Meanwhile inherited biological traits remain very similar as they are passed on. The genetics of a grandchild is not very different from that of the grandmother, but the knowledge and beliefs can be very different and come from sources other than the grandchild's ancestors.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08 2018, @09:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08 2018, @09:14PM (#635204)
    Lamarckism? Try Lysenkoism [wikipedia.org]. This pseudoscience, which unfortunately fit Soviet ideology closely, actually resulted in the deaths of millions in the Soviet Union due to famine because it was the basis for their misguided agricultural policy.
  • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Friday February 09 2018, @10:05AM

    by Wootery (2341) on Friday February 09 2018, @10:05AM (#635459)

    I'm guessing you didn't read the rest of my comment.