US astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. on the moon – or is he? Credit: NASA/Wikimedia Commons Provided by The Conversation Explore further Citation: Now there’s a game you can play to ‘vaccinate’ yourself against fake news (2018, February 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-game-vaccinate-fake-news.html Fake news ‘vaccine’: Online game may ‘inoculate’ by simulating propaganda tactics Tricks of the tradeThere are many reasons why people produce disinformation: they can be financial, political, personal and even “just for fun”. But the techniques that are being used to mislead people are remarkably similar across the board. One of the simplest is impersonation: imitating a public figure or organisation with the intent of misleading the public. They might also create “emotional content”, which deliberately plays on people’s basic emotions – such as fear or anger – to get a response. Next, there’s “polarisation” – when fake news merchants stir up existing political tensions, to drive people further apart. Then there are conspiracies: misleading theories, which often hold a large organisation responsible for some kind of covert agenda – like saying NASA faked the moon landing to win the space race. Then, people whose credibility is under attack will often try to discredit their opponents by engaging in “whataboutism” or personal attacks. And lastly we have trolling, which involves disrupting discussions and provoking reactions from people, combining all of the techniques mentioned above.Good news, bad newsWhen people use these techniques themselves, it really improves their ability to recognise them in other contexts. So, together with DROG (a Dutch organisation working against the spread of disinformation), we developed an online game called Bad News (click here to play it), where players use misleading tactics to build their own fake news empire. The game is free to play in any browser and on any device and takes about 15 minutes to complete. You start as an anonymous Twitter user who goes professional by starting their own news site, and gradually becomes a fake news tycoon. On the way, you earn badges and learn how the techniques mentioned earlier can be used to suit your purposes. We figured that once you know how the magic trick works, you won’t be fooled by it again. So we put our ideas to the test by doing a pilot study in a high school in the Netherlands. Some classes were assigned to the treatment group and played our game. Others were assigned to the control group, and didn’t play the game. Although our study was only a starting point, the results so far have been positive: students who played the game thought the fake news articles they read afterwards were less reliable. We hope that our game will play a role in stopping the spread of misleading information: just as misinformation replicates, vaccines can spread, too. The more people that play the game, the further the vaccine spreads – until one day, we may achieve societal resistance against fake news. In practice, most people are concerned about “disinformation”: that is, misinformation coupled with the intent to deceive. Today, it’s easier than ever to mislead people. In the online world, posing as a credible news producer requires a bit of money and dedication – but it’s not hard. Meanwhile, people’s trust in the media is declining, and a majority of Americans say that fake news has left them confused about basic facts. Add to that the growing problem of computational propaganda – where Twitter bots or other social media tools amplify certain hashtags or messages to influence what’s trending – and the current landscape becomes very difficult for people to navigate.Fighting backThere are many ways companies and governments are trying to combat this growing threat. Google and Facebook are tweaking their algorithms to stop promoting “fake news”. France is in the process of passing a controversial “fake news law”, which limits media activity during election time. And the UK government has announced it’s setting up an “anti-fake news” unit. Yet each of these efforts comes with its own problems. From our perspective, as researchers studying the fake news phenomenon, we think the best way to fight the bad effects is at the individual level. So, we’re experimenting by combining psychology with technology in a new area of research, which some scholars are calling “technocognition”. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The term “fake news” is everywhere these days. After gaining steam during the 2016 US election, it’s become a catch-all phrase used by people from across the political spectrum. Yet “fake” stories – or stories that have been entirely made up – have been around since the dawn of man. And on top of that, stories don’t have to be completely fake to be misleading. Terms such as “propaganda”, “disinformation”, “misinformation” and “post-truth” are used by many people, as though they mean the same thing. So far, one of us found that it’s possible to “inoculate” people against misinformation by warning and exposing them to a weakened version of the “real” misleading argument, and then revealing to them why it’s misleading. In other words, a small dose of fake news can inoculate you against it – just like a real vaccination would protect you against a disease. Credit: Shutterstock. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
The European Union will next week unveil plans for a digital tax on US tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google as transatlantic tensions flare over prospects of a trade war. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: EU readies tax on US tech titans (2018, March 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-eu-readies-tax-tech-titans.html © 2018 AFP US opposes taxes on big tech firms The move is aimed at recovering billions from multinationals that divert European earnings to low-tax countries, and opens a new front in an offensive by Brussels against Silicon Valley giants.Brussels proposes “big tech” should be taxed on overall revenue in the bloc and not just on their profits, at a rate somewhere between two percent and five percent, according to a draft obtained by AFP.EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici says the plan that he will announce on Wednesday will “create a consensus and an electroshock” on taxing digital firms.But the digital plan may fan fears of a trade war as Brussels prepares to retaliate against US President Donald Trump’s moves to impose steel and aluminium tariffs.The tech titans plan will target companies with worldwide annual turnover above 750 million euros ($924 million), such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Uber.Spared are smaller European start-ups that struggle to compete with them. Companies like Netflix, which depend on subscriptions, may also avoid the chop, a source close to the issue told AFP.Critics say tax-avoidance strategies used by the California tech giants deprive EU governments of billions of euros while giving them an unfair advantage over smaller rivals.Under EU law, firms like Google and Facebook can choose to book their income in any member state, prompting them to pick low-tax nations like Ireland, the Netherlands or Luxembourg.That can mean other nations in the bloc miss out on tax revenue from the US firms, even though sales in those countries may account for a bigger share of the earnings.Turning the screwUnder the EU plan, revenue from the digital tax would be fairly distributed to where the companies actually operate, according to the level of activity in those countries and not the level of booked profit.Brussels will unveil the plan on the eve of the March 22 European Union summit in Brussels, which is also set to debate the issue, and ahead of an April G20 meeting of the world’s most developed economies.France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain—the five EU G20 members—are pushing first for a European solution that can set an example for the rest of the world.French President Emmanuel Macron, who is energetically lobbying for a series of reforms to the EU in the wake of the Brexit vote, has been a particularly strong proponent on taking on the big US tech firms.”Our international partners are not moving fast enough to meet the challenge of digital tax,” said Moscovici, a Frenchman.But for the plan to become reality it must be unanimously approved by all EU countries, and it remains to be seen whether the big states can win the support of smaller ones that offer the tax breaks to the tech titans. The EU has turned the screw on US tech giants recently, ordering Apple in 2016 to repay 13 billion euros in back taxes to Ireland, and hitting Google with a record 2.4-billion-euro fine in June last year for illegally favouring its shopping service in search resultsThe EU has repeatedly pledged to crack down on tax avoidance in recent years after the “LuxLeaks” scandal showed how multinationals divert profits through low-tax countries, and the Panama Papers uncovered huge offshore movements.
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP Citation: Daniel Craig’s Aston Martin fetches $468,500 in New York (2018, April 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-daniel-craig-aston-martin-york.html James Bond actor Daniel Craig’s Aston Martin, numbered with the character’s signature 007, sold at auction Friday for $468,500. Christie’s, which announced results of the bidding, had estimated the limited-edition midnight blue 2014 Centenary Edition Vanquish would fetch $400,000-$600,000. All proceeds from the sale will benefit The Opportunity Network, a charity helping under-served youths develop their careers. Both Craig and his wife, actress Rachel Weisz, sit on the charity’s board.Craig made a surprise appearance during the auction, joining the Christie’s team to encourage a client to bid higher.The car, which has a top speed of 183 miles (295 kilometers) per hour, is part of a series of just 100 which Aston Martin created in 2014 to celebrate the firm’s 100th anniversary.It is made of a lightweight bonded aluminum structure and motorsport-inspired carbon-fiber exterior. The handcrafted interior includes luxury leathers, carbon fiber and aluminum. Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig attend a fundraiser for The Opportunity Network, to which Craig is donating proceeds from the sale of his Austin Martin in New York on April 9 Explore further Nottingham technology gives Bond the edge