The real-world effect of coronavirus conspiracy theories

This is what happens when the fringe becomes mainstream.

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  • New research finds that YouTube is the worst disseminator of coronavirus misinformation.
  • People that rely on social media for their news are more likely to believe coronavirus conspiracy beliefs.
  • With only 50 percent of Americans willing to get a vaccination, conspiracy theories are fueling a public health crisis.
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Only 9% of 15-year-olds can tell when facts are really facts — not opinions

An international study finds the vast majority of 15-year-olds can't tell when they're being manipulated.

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  • International reading tests administered in 79 countries find most teens to be gullible when consuming information.
  • As learning has moved online, absolutely reliable sources have become scarce.
  • Most teens can't detect the validity of supposed "facts" from contextual clues.
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Cambridge scientists create a successful "vaccine" against fake news

A large new study uses an online game to inoculate people against fake news.

University of Cambridge
  • Researchers from the University of Cambridge use an online game to inoculate people against fake news.
  • The study sample included 15,000 players.
  • The scientists hope to use such tactics to protect whole societies against disinformation.
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Google 2.0: Why MIT scientists are building a new search engine

The truth is a messy business, but an information revolution is coming. Danny Hillis and Peter Hopkins discuss knowledge, fake news and disruption at NeueHouse in Manhattan.

  • In 2005, Danny Hillis co-founded Freebase, an open-source knowledge database that was acquired by Google in 2010. Freebase formed the foundation of Google's famous Knowledge Graph, which enhances its search engine results and powers Google Assistant and Google Home.
  • Hillis is now building The Underlay, a new knowledge database and future search engine app that is meant to serve the common good rather than private enterprise. He calls it his "penance for having sold the other one to Google."
  • Powerful collections of machine-readable knowledge are becoming exceedingly important, but most are privatized and serve commercial goals.
  • Decentralizing knowledge and making information provenance transparent will be a revolution in the so-called "post-truth age". The Underlay is being developed at MIT by Danny Hillis, SJ Klein, Travis Rich.

Pope: 'Fake news started in the Garden of Eden'

Pope Francis’ 2018 World Communications Day message explains the dangers of fake news and what journalists and the public must do to combat it.

(NICHOLAS KAMM)

In his message for 2018 World Communications Day, Pope Francis rallied to the defense of journalism—if not the news media—comparing fake news to the snake in the Garden of Eden for its misleading, destructive power. This is a valuable, clear-eyed message for anyone, regardless of belief system. And to be clear, the pope’s not talking about fake news as defined in White House press briefings or presidential tweets. He has something very different—nearly the opposite—in mind:

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