Cambridge researchers attempt to vaccinate against Fake News
February 20, 2018 2:32 AM   Subscribe

 
I had morals and lost. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 4:57 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm replaying by tweeting the craziest things I've heard people say at LP meetings and doing much better this time around. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 5:04 AM on February 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


Having read the text of some of the messages used by trolls to bait Americans published by the NYT and others, there seem to be baseline issues of reading comprehension, cultural competence, and good old fashioned bullshit detection that are going to be very hard to address.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:09 AM on February 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


I have mastered the art of disinformation and collected a loyal army of 11,547 followers!
posted by Jacqueline at 5:09 AM on February 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


If you agree to take part in their study, they ask you rate the credibility of out-of-context single Tweets™. I don't care if it does appear to come straight from the official NÄSA account, nothing's getting more than 3 out of 7.
posted by sfenders at 5:50 AM on February 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


Checks psychology twitter...
posted by runcibleshaw at 5:50 AM on February 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've also heard rumors that Sander van der Linden, director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab, is under investigation for tax evasion and cannibalism.
posted by sfenders at 5:53 AM on February 20, 2018 [19 favorites]


Buying Twitter bots is clearly a good move.
posted by doctornemo at 6:00 AM on February 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


Study/Game claiming to vaccinate against fake news turns out to be fake news. The world can not get more meta than this.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:06 AM on February 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


hows is this study "fake news"?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:18 AM on February 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


timely
posted by j_curiouser at 7:44 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Eric Garland is preparing a 300 tweet thread about the Russian kompromat disinformatiya being spread by the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab as I type this.
posted by turntraitor at 8:41 AM on February 20, 2018


I'm curious what their validity is like for the pre/post survey. The questions don't seem like they'd generate very interesting data.

I also feel like the game doesn't really talk about context that much. These propaganda operations don't come out of nowhere, and only rarely is it an entrepreneur acting in bad faith (which is the framing in the game).

Maybe their goal is to leave things relatively neutral to avoid putting off potential right wingers? I can't imagine anyone on the right would either willingly play this, nor trust any results if they did.
posted by codacorolla at 8:46 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


there seem to be baseline issues of reading comprehension, cultural competence, and good old fashioned bullshit detection that are going to be very hard to address.

years ago, somebody introduced me to the thinking and writing of John Taylor Gatto, which has been haunting me a lot of late, particularly The Underground History of American Education. From its wikipedia page :

Russ Kick offers this in summary:

"In other words, the captains of industry and government explicitly wanted an educational system that would maintain social order by teaching us just enough to get by but not enough so that we could think for ourselves, question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately."


In the shadow of this, Fake News, Donald Trump, everything that's so stupid of late makes way too much sense, and feels like the proverbial other shoe dropping. Spend a century dumbing folks down -- don't be surprised when really dumb things start happening, and don't go thinking there are any quick fixes.
posted by philip-random at 9:13 AM on February 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


Spend a century dumbing folks down -- don't be surprised when really dumb things start happening, and don't go thinking there are any quick fixes.

this theory implicitly posits that previous centuries were golden ages where access to quality, non-propaganda education was universal and the general public was composed of rational actors
posted by murphy slaw at 9:34 AM on February 20, 2018 [13 favorites]


I'm disturbed that I've played through a few times now and my highest score was when I was tweeting things I've actually heard Libertarians say. #ZOMGAgenda21
posted by Jacqueline at 10:11 AM on February 20, 2018


I'm disturbed that I've played through a few times now and my highest score was when I was tweeting things I've actually heard Libertarians say. #ZOMGAgenda21

Just in there's any question about this: SLPC (from 2014): Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability and Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory
Agenda 21 is a non-binding UN resolution – a proposal, a global guide – designed to encourage, not mandate, nations to pursue conservation, “sustainable” green growth and land use development efforts. It was passed and signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 by more than 170 world leaders, including President George H.W. Bush.
Naturally, that's somehow turned into an outlandish web of conspiracy theories.
posted by cjelli at 10:23 AM on February 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


this theory implicitly posits that previous centuries were golden ages where access to quality, non-propaganda education was universal and the general public was composed of rational actors

quoting Gatto himself from that wiki page:

"... what I’m trying to describe [is] that what has happened to our schools was inherent in the original design for a planned economy and a planned society laid down so proudly at the end of the nineteenth century."

I don't think he's positing a previous golden age, just that his research pins certain key policy moves (that we're paying for now) to the end of the 19th Century. That is, the captains of industry etc saw the value in a certain level of mass public education, but saw it as contra to their interests that we regular folks "... could think for ourselves, question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately."
posted by philip-random at 10:49 AM on February 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Gatto's Six-Lesson Schoolteacher nicely points out several of the processes that are built to destroy people's ability to evaluate and take action based on what they've understood.
The second lesson I teach kids is to turn on and off like a light switch. I demand that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor. But when the bell rings I insist that they drop the work at once and proceed quickly to the next work station. Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of.

The lesson of bells is that no work is worth finishing, so why care too deeply about anything?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:56 AM on February 20, 2018 [6 favorites]


I played it twice, first as a right wing nut promoting conspiracy theories, and then as a left wing serious person using tactics of conspiracy theories. More fun the first time around, much harder the second time around, even when I tried using the same tactics both times. It didn't help that the second time around I just sounded like David "Avocado" Wolf, who is definitely not above using bots to promote his content.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:31 AM on February 20, 2018


I think they're underestimating the value of going after Bob from New York. I'm just saying Bob is one of those people and his actions definitely reflect poorly on that group that he represents. Obviously, I'm against harassment, it's just that he's a symbol of everything you hate and fear.
posted by RobotHero at 11:35 AM on February 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I went with "Honest Truth Online: What They Don't Want You to Read!"

I think I scared myself.
posted by numaner at 4:08 PM on February 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was having fun until I saw the dog and now I am sad and angry. I played right into my own trap. :-(
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:04 PM on February 20, 2018


I was HTO as well! Took a wrong turn at the LSD juicebox but managed to get an aviation chairman to step down, so that was nice. Only 8000 followers though.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:15 PM on February 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also I accidentally fucked up the question about the ball because it was all so tiny on my phone so now they think I'm a dumbass.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:16 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Reflecting on it more, I am kind of disappointed there wasn't more playing into how it can and is used to rile up hatred at groups. Like, my choice at one point was blaming the government or corporations, but they never had me targeting groups of more amorphous groups.

Maybe they wanted to not get too dark with it ( that poor dog excepted ) but there was the recent bit about people claiming to be assaulted at Black Panther screenings. Maybe when a professor refused to use pronouns the students held him down and wrote XE on his face.

Like, there's no one specific person you're accusing here, so it's harder for anyone to prove they didn't do it, and then you can move onto the next incident, and it establishes a pattern so your followers will more readily accept new examples because they feel that's the sort of thing "those sort of people" do, based on the other examples. And maybe some were completely fake, some look bad out of context, but they accumulate.

So it feels an oversight to explicitly defend government and corporations from this sort of thing when I see it used in this way, too. And these groups are less powerful than corporations or governments.
posted by RobotHero at 9:47 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


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