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The Spread Of Misinformation Varies By Topic And Country In Europe, Study Finds

ramonmercado

CyberPunk
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Cultural and National differences affect (mis) beliefs.

MAY 8, 2024
Editors' notes

The spread of misinformation varies by topic and by country in Europe, study finds

by Public Library of Science

The spread of misinformation varies by topic and by country in Europe


Cumulative number of the total retweets received by questionable sources vs. the cumulative number of retweets for reliable sources across different countries and topics. Credit: Baqir et al., 2024, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

The eventual prevalence of a piece of misinformation may depend on its topic and the country in which it spreads, with notable differences between the UK, Germany, France and Italy, according to a study published May 8 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Fabiana Zollo from the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy, and colleagues. This finding suggests that policies to combat misinformation and polarization may need to be context-specific in order to be effective, the authors say.

Researchers analyzed news activity on Twitter (now X) in France, Germany, Italy and the UK from 2019 to 2021, including a focus on news about Brexit, the coronavirus, and the COVID vaccines. Each news source they analyzed was rated as either "reliable" or "questionable" based upon their NewsGuard (a tool that evaluates the reliability of news outlets based on nine journalistic criteria) score.

Across all four countries, the vast majority of users only ever consumed reliable news sources on each of the three topics. But in every country and in each topic, there was always a small percentage of users who only ever consumed questionable news sources—with very few people consuming a mix of both reliable and questionable sources. ...

https://phys.org/news/2024-05-misinformation-varies-topic-country-europe.html
 
Who gets to decide what is misinformation?
The news sources were identified as "reliable" or "questionable". The criteria used to identify these sources "was based upon their NewsGuard (a tool that evaluates the reliability of news outlets based on nine journalistic criteria) score."

This is NewsGuard's site and a bit of how different media are evaluated.

https://www.newsguardtech.com/ratings/rating-process-criteria/

Of course this doesn't give the specifics of any one source's ratings, but the example does show that reasonings are given as to why one source may be highly reliable vs another which might be questionable.
 
Who gets to decide what is misinformation?
Yes indeed, this was my first thought.
So we have to meekly accept that what we're told is misinformation, is misinformation, and there can be no challenging it!
 
The news sources were identified as "reliable" or "questionable". The criteria used to identify these sources "was based upon their NewsGuard (a tool that evaluates the reliability of news outlets based on nine journalistic criteria) score."

This is NewsGuard's site and a bit of how different media are evaluated.

https://www.newsguardtech.com/ratings/rating-process-criteria/

Of course this doesn't give the specifics of any one source's ratings, but the example does show that reasonings are given as to why one source may be highly reliable vs another which might be questionable.
To me, and this is just my view point, this is the media effectively deciding for themselves what is misinformation and what isn't.
 
Cultural and National differences affect (mis) beliefs.

MAY 8, 2024
Editors' notes

The spread of misinformation varies by topic and by country in Europe, study finds

by Public Library of Science

The spread of misinformation varies by topic and by country in Europe


Cumulative number of the total retweets received by questionable sources vs. the cumulative number of retweets for reliable sources across different countries and topics. Credit: Baqir et al., 2024, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

The eventual prevalence of a piece of misinformation may depend on its topic and the country in which it spreads, with notable differences between the UK, Germany, France and Italy, according to a study published May 8 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Fabiana Zollo from the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy, and colleagues. This finding suggests that policies to combat misinformation and polarization may need to be context-specific in order to be effective, the authors say.

Researchers analyzed news activity on Twitter (now X) in France, Germany, Italy and the UK from 2019 to 2021, including a focus on news about Brexit, the coronavirus, and the COVID vaccines. Each news source they analyzed was rated as either "reliable" or "questionable" based upon their NewsGuard (a tool that evaluates the reliability of news outlets based on nine journalistic criteria) score.

Across all four countries, the vast majority of users only ever consumed reliable news sources on each of the three topics. But in every country and in each topic, there was always a small percentage of users who only ever consumed questionable news sources—with very few people consuming a mix of both reliable and questionable sources. ...

https://phys.org/news/2024-05-misinformation-varies-topic-country-europe.html

NewsGuard rates the left-leaning New York Times and BuzzFeed as “reliable”; the right-leaning Fox News as “unreliable.”

Mmm’kay

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

maximus otter
 
I think this might fit in here given the comments.

If you’ve spent enough time scrolling through TikTok, you might have seen a video from an account like @tybuggyreviews, a handle with half a million followers that exclusively posts videos selling products through the TikTok Shop.

The creator, whose verified Instagram account identifies him as Tarik Garrett, used the @tybuggyreviews account to pitch viewers on supplements, water flossers, earbuds, workout machines, bible study guides, probiotics for women to help “that smell down there,” watch bands, inspirational hoodies, inspirational T-shirts, face massagers, foot massagers, rhinestone necklaces, oil pulling kits, and colon cleanses.

In the TikTok Shop, creators earn a commission for each sale linked to their account. Garrett’s product videos got tens of thousands of views. A few even topped a million views. But nothing from his account took off quite like his sales pitch for an obscure 2019 publication called The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies.

“Now I see why they’re trying to remove TikTok. This book right here? This book of herbal remedies? They do not want us to see this book,” Garrett said at the beginning of one Shop video, referring to a new US law that requires TikTok’s Chinese parent company to either sell the app or face a ban. TikTok is challenging the law in court, arguing that lawmakers citing national security concerns as a reason to pass the bill did not adequately argue why those concerns should supersede the First Amendment. The law, to be clear, does not cite the Lost Book of Herbal Remedies’s availability on the TikTok Shop as a reason for banning the platform.

Garrett posted his pitch for the book on April 15. As of May 7, the video had more than 16 million views. Garrett opened the book and showed pages of its recommendations, urging users to take screenshots (and purchase a copy of their own) before it’s too late.

The camera lingered on a list of plants that, the book claimed, were treatments for cancer, drug addiction, heart attacks, and herpes. As of Wednesday, the listing for The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies that Garrett linked to has more than 60,000 sales on the TikTok Shop. To put that number in perspective, appearing on a bestseller list generally requires 5,000–10,000 sales in a week.

And that interest isn’t staying exclusively on TikTok. Google search interest in the book’s title spiked on the same day Garrett posted his video. The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies was, as of Wednesday, May 8, ranked 10 on Amazon’s bestseller list for books, and has appeared toward the top of Amazon’s bestseller rankings for the past three weeks.

I sent a handful of Garrett’s videos advertising the book, along with about a half dozen additional widely viewed videos from other creators promoting The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, to TikTok for comment. A spokesperson for TikTok said that videos linking to Shop products must abide by both the community guidelines, which ban medical misinformation, and Shop policies, which do not allow misleading content. If a video violates only the Shop policies, they said, they’ll simply remove the link to the Shop but keep the content up. If it violates community guidelines, the video comes down. ...

https://www.vox.com/24152358/tiktok-shop-ads-lost-book-of-herbal-remedies-bestseller
 
I think this might fit in here given the comments.

If you’ve spent enough time scrolling through TikTok, you might have seen a video from an account like @tybuggyreviews, a handle with half a million followers that exclusively posts videos selling products through the TikTok Shop.

In the TikTok Shop, creators earn a commission for each sale linked to their account...
“Now I see why they’re trying to remove TikTok. This book right here? This book of herbal remedies? They do not want us to see this book,” Garrett said at the beginning of one Shop video, referring to a new US law that requires TikTok’s Chinese parent company to either sell the app or face a ban...
Garrett posted his pitch for the book on April 15. As of May 7, the video had more than 16 million views. Garrett opened the book and showed pages of its recommendations, urging users to take screenshots (and purchase a copy of their own) before it’s too late.
:clap: As he is rubbing his hands in glee for all of the money he's getting. Because we all know that it is a book which is bringing TikTok its woes.
 
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