Tucker Carlson Warns of Coronavirus as Fox Attacks Media Coverage

Tucker Carlson of Fox News has expressed his concerns over the Coronavirus. Even though his colleagues at Fox have downplayed the media’s coverage of the virus, Carlson has other words to say. On monday night, Carlson seemed to disapprove of President Trump’s message regarding the virus. “People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” Carlson said. “it’s just partisan politics,’ the say. ‘Calm down. In the end this was just like the flu and people die from that every year. Coronavirus will pass.”

Meanwhile on Fox, Carlson’s colleague, Trish Regan was dismissing coronavirus than nothing more than an attempt to impeach Trump. Also, Sean Hannity claims that the media is using the coronavirus as a weapon against Trump. This is not a surprise for Fox is a very right winged news broadcasting channel that will support anything the President has to say. Rush Limbaugh even claims the democrats are using this virus scare to stop Trump rallies.

CNN on monday has begin calling this virus a pandemic. It is a big decision to begin calling it a pandemic because of the severity that implies. CNN chief medical correspondent, Sanya Gupta says, “While we know it sounds alarming, it should not cause panic.” By calling it a pandemic, Gupta is not trying to scare more people, but simply provide the correct information.

Many other media outlet companies have already begun taking precautions on this pandemic. The Washington Post, Vice Media, A+E Networks, New York Times, and more have all begun taking precautionary steps during this time. All companies have begun encouraging the employees to work from home. It seems as if every new company is focused on the actual matter at hand, while Fox shows stubbornness to the facts.



The U.S. Wants the World to be Wary of Huawei

The race to 5g is already being won by Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company. The capabilities of 5g range from instant downloads of movies, to automating surgery and highway transportation, but the risk is that with more devices using the internet, the more room there is for security breaches. 

Image result for is huawei safe

In 2019 the National Security Council discussed building the new internet/5g framework from scratch with cyber-security as a primary objective, but the Trump administration repealed those requirements for 5g.

The accusations of Huawei being a means through which the Chinese government can keep tabs on the world, and the efforts of the Trump admin to slow the implementation of Huawei’s tech have basically failed as countries in Europe and Asia are showing interest in Huawei’s 5g.

The article ends with a quote by former Senior Director of the N.S.C. Richard Spalding; “What is existential to democracy is allowing totalitarian regimes—or any government—full knowledge of everything you do at all times because the tendency is always going to be to want to regulate how you think, how you act, what you do. The problem is that most people don’t think very hard about what that world would look like.”

I found that quote very interesting because sometimes I think that’s how I think about media in the US. With the patriot act and our phones seemingly always listening and maybe even seeing what we’re doing, does the idea of 5g still scare people? Maybe the US in some sense regulates how we think/act and what we do- do people feel differently if it’s the Chinese gov’t controlling our media messages?


Facebook to limit ads in 2020

Image result for facebook ads

Facebook has recently announced that in 2020 they will start to limit the amount of advertisements a page can release on their site. A crazy idea that Facebook would turn down potential ad revenue and limit advertisers may not seem like such a crazy idea. Coming with the announcement Facebook said that only a small percent of advertisers and companies will be affected by this change. But when asked about why they are starting to limit the amount of ads they are allowing on their site they responded with “quality”.

Facebook plans to increase the quality of the advertisements by limiting the amount of ads a company can run. When a company can run as many ads as they want they produce low quality, potentially dangerous ads that do not serve the public’s best interest. And more importantly running too many ads leads to overall worse “ad performance”. Flooding the market with low quality ads takes away from the high quality ads and tarnishes Facebook’s ads results. When Facebook’s ad results get tarnished it lowers the price per ads and hurts Facebook in the long run. 

One of the latest ways Facebook has joined the movement to rid the platform of fake news. More and more media companies like Facebook and Twitter are starting to take a look at how their platforms are starting to affect the world outside of their platforms. Twitter not running political ads and Facebook limiting ads are ways these companies can keep a check on outside influence and interference with the American People.

Source: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-will-implement-limits-on-how-many-ads-a-page-can-run-in-2020/566605/

Most Deepfakes Are Porn, and They’re Multiplying Fast

Image and text: https://www.wired.com/story/most-deepfakes-porn-multiplying-fast/

Deeptrace is a startup that has been doing some analysis on deepfakes, a term used to define video content that has been manipulated or fabricated with artificial intelligence. The tool came to life in 2017 on Reddit, when the account posted pornographic clips with the faces of Hollywood actresses over those of the real performers. Since then, it’s been more and more possible to insert someone’s face onto the body of another person, making it look extremely high quality. Such practices have been a source of entertainment on YouTube, but have been concerning many lawmakers that are fearful of political disinformation. With the 2020 elections right around the corner, politicians have been inquiring how deepfakes would be able to affect results with fake news.

Deeptrance has found that 96% of deepfakes that are around have pornographic content in them. In fact, most people on Reddit, where the subgroup Deepfake sees a lot of activity every day, use the feature as a tool for personal harassment rather than with the goal of destabilizing elections. According to a researcher at Deeptrance, there are forums in which people ask for pornographic deepfakes of women they know, showing a clear example of invasion of sexual privacy and, in many instances, cases of revenge porn. Politicians are still, however, worried about the future of their positions.

“Last week, senators Marco Rubio, the Republican of Florida, and Mark Warner, the Democrat from Virginia, both of whom are members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote to Facebook and 10 other social media sites seeking more details of how they plan to detect and respond to malicious deepfakes. The legislators cautioned that fake clips could have a “corrosive impact on our democracy.”” The lawmakers’ concerns seem plausible when you look at the case of the Malayisian political aide who was arrested after a deepfake showed him having sex with the minister of economic affairs.

There are many other articles on WIRED about deepfakes, their origins and many variations.

“Descript” Application Revolutionizing Podcasting: And Possibly The Spread Of Misinformation

5d820a8cd66da6fb0adc4771_commenting   Descript Website


Whether an amateur or even professional podcaster, all these individuals are well aware of the painstaking process of editing that takes place behind the scenes. Specifically, the copious errors behind human speech patterns and the precise editing to correct these mistakes require large amounts of time/experience to fix.

“Load up the audio. Listen. Drag. Delete. Listen again. Restore the original audio. Hone. Delete again. Re-listen. It’s exhausting. And that’s just for the little things. There’s a better way” (Laforme, p.1).

Descript has become one of the most popular and innovative editing platforms specifically for the production of podcasts. This tool creates a text transcript of audio files and as users delete or rearrange the transcript, the same tool edits the audio file to match it exactly essentially eliminating a whole area of editing required to produce clean production. Formerly, the application required users to pay for every new production they would create, but recently the company has moved towards paid monthly subscriptions for unlimited edits/projects.

The application announced over the weekend that its new version update will add a number of new autonomous podcast editing tools, but most importantly  the software is also being integrated with Lyrebird, a “text-to-speech tool that the internet lost its mind over in 2017.” Podcast editors who use Descript will now have the ability to simply type text into the application and have a custom audio generated sound produced.

While this new integration with Lyrebird could prove to help editors drastically such as allowing them to fill in a missed word or two on their audio tracks, many are worried about this software that could allow users to “clone” someone else’s voice.

Misinformation has been a growing problem over the internet and news sources as the spread/access of information continues to grow increasingly more powerful every day. Podcasters using Descript have expressed significant amounts of concern towards this new update in fear that auto generated voicing could lead to editors cloning other individuals voices and releasing their productions online.

A great example of this potential danger could be unleashed in the upcoming Democratic candidate race. With leading candidates such as Biden topping the boards, this kind of auto voice generation could make it easy to clone the sound of his voice releasing false statements all over the internet. Though many can refute this concern by saying the voice generation was fake, a cloud of misinformation and productions could make it increasingly more difficult to differentiate between fact or fiction.

Descript claims to have recognized this potential threat in media and released an ethics statement on its new update saying “We are committed to modeling a responsible implementation of these technologies, unlocking the benefits of generative media while safeguarding against malicious use” (Descript).

Although still early in its development/innovation, auto voice generation software is growing increasingly more strong and clean, making it easy to mimic another entities voice. When combined with a growing media industry such as podcasting and presented with the motivation of saving time on editing, the spread of misinformation could hit the industry like a title wave. Accurate information and statements is a growing area of concern in today’s society and media experts believe applications like Descript although intending to do good, are potentially pushing this issue further.





Pinterest’s New Feature Enables Accurate, Science-Based Information to Surface When Users Search for Vaccine-Related Terms

To the prevent users from absorbing inaccurate information , Pinterest has added a new feature to their search engine so that when users searches for vaccine-related terms, such as “measles” or “vaccine safety”, information sourced from various scientific organizations will surface.

World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the WHO-established Vaccine Safety Net (VSN), are names of the organizations Pinterest intends to prioritize with this new feature.

The update is for English-speaking searchers on the web and Pinterest’s mobile apps for iOS and Android. Pinterest intends to expand this feature to other searches and in more languages. In the future, this feature will eventually be expanded to more languages and other searches. Pinterest also mentioned that their platform will work with this organization to construct appealing and creative images that are also based in science. By doing so, they hope that it will lead to more users to sharing the images, and thus, the accurate information will be spread out further.  

A little while back, Pinterest spoke out against the spread of misinformation related to vaccinations and made sure that any results for vaccine-related search terms would not return to their platform.

Examples of Non-Science Based Health Information that Used to Float Around on Pinterest

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Pinterest has stopped returning results for searches related to vaccinations, a drastic step the social-media company said is aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation but one that demonstrates the power of tech companies to censor discussion of hot-button issues.

Most shared images on Pinterest relating to vaccination cautioned against it, contradicting established medical guidelines and research showing that vaccines are safe, Pinterest said. The image-searching platform tried to remove the anti-vaccination content, a Pinterest spokeswoman said, but has been unable to remove it completely.

Here are some examples of posts that would have gone unfiltered in the past

I like that Pinterest has taken steps to prevent the spread of misinformation on their platform. It seems as though anti-vaxxers are lurking on Social Media at a higher rate than before. It may not seem this way, but anti-vaccine propaganda often goes undetected, because anti-vaxxers have employed a whole “holistic approach” and others sly tactics disguise their ulterior motives and beliefs.

Another thing that should be mentioned is that it is affluent and well-educated individuals whom tend to spread anti-vaccine propaganda. These surprisingly wealthy individuals often favor alternative medicine like chiropractors and naturopathy because they want to be “different”, their power and financial status is what drives they’re allowed to make decisions which deviate from what is standard, normal, and accepted in society.

But that’s beside my point, anti-vaxxers have always preyed on the insecurities of parents to spread their propaganda and Social Media has just made it easier for them to target people’s emotions and tap into parents’ fears. The wave of anti-vaccination which occurred on Pinterest thoroughly reflects this and so, it’s important that Social Media companies recognize the particular behavior of anti-vaxxers on their platform.




Facebook Takes Down Numerous Fake Accounts

On September 19, Facebook took down 244 accounts, 269 pages, 80 groups, and 7 Instagram accounts that were being run by a Ukrainian PR agency called Pragmatico. The primary reason why the accounts were taken down was due to Facebook believing that the accounts were using the social media platform to manipulate people. Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, Nathaniel Gleicher, stated:

“We’re taking down these Pages, Groups, and account based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action”.

Facebook went on to discuss how these accounts in particular were acting as if they were celebrities and/or news outlets. The accounts that were taken down were housed in Ukraine and Iraq and the Ukrainian PR firm was spending $1.6 million on Facebook and Instagram ads in order to influence the masses.

This is extremely concerning to me because myself and many individuals get their information from social media platforms and its harder and harder to tell what is real and what is fake. I think we can all appreciate how Facebook is taking action and doing what needs to done in order to keep the social media platforms secured for their users.



‘Fake News’ Fears: 95% of Americans ‘Troubled’ by Current State of Media, Poll Finds

Americans Tune In To President Trump's First State Of The Union Address

A survey of 1,100 Americans by Bospar, a PR agency based in San Francisco, CA. The survey, which includes about 1,100 adults, found that 95% of these adults were troubled by the current state of media.A little more than half of these people believe that “fake news” in the media was a key cause. 49% and 48% believe that “reporting gossip” and “lying spokespeople”, respectively, were key causes of the issue. Other factors like “celebrity opinion” and left-and right-wing agendas also spark concern for many adults in America when it comes to social media.

Nowadays, it’s harder for people to trust the media. In my opinion, because of the vast amount of ways to get information (traditional news, online news, print news, social media, etc.), some of that information is bound to be wrong or misleading. However, things have gotten out of hand because more and more people are writing and reading and believing fake news articles.

In the survey conducted by Bospar, 67% of people believe ethics in journalism will worsen during the 2020 campaign. 22% of people believe that online journalists are most trustworthy and only 15% said that national TV anchors and reporters were most trustworthy. This was interesting to me because people believe an online author that’s somewhat anonymous to them over national anchors that appear on national TV to tell the news as their job. One would think anchors are supposed to develop some type of relationship with their viewers over an online author they’re unfamiliar with.

I think the problem of “fake news” is one of the biggest problems we have today, Because of social media, anyone is allowed to post anything online, true or not. Many people are falsely informed due to fake news. It’s really an issue we should all be talking about more.