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  • Coverage: Junk News Aggregator

    7 November 2018

    US political party supporters confronting each other

    The COMPROP Junk News Aggregator has been covered in the following:

    Tech Crunch: Tool up for the midterms with this Facebook junk news aggregator

    With the US midterms fast approaching purveyors of online disinformation are very busy indeed spreading their hyper-partisan junk on Facebook… This has happened before; is still happening; and will keep on happening unless or until social media platforms get properly regulated.

    In the meanwhile, what’s to be done? Arming yourselves and your friends with smart digital and news literacy tools to help shine a light on the kind of ridiculously over-inflated political nonsense that’s being passed around on all sides (albeit, not necessarily equally) seems like a good place to start.

    Step forward, Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute (OII), which has just launched an aggregator tool which tracks what it terms “junk” political views being shared on Facebook — doing so in near real-time and offering various ways to visualize and explore the junk heap.

    Newsweek: 2018 Midterms: ‘Junk News’ still spreading on Facebook, Twitter, despite efforts

    In an effort to better understand junk news, the Oxford Internet Institute developed the Junk News Aggregator, which studies junk news on Facebook as it happens. Users are able to search keywords, candidate names and districts and see junk news that is being shared within that topic in real time or over the past month.

    “We want to shed light on the problem of junk news, and help improve the public’s media literacy,” Mimie Liotsiou, the creator of the Junk News Aggregator, said. “We hope to make this issue more transparent to voters, policy-makers, and tech companies.”

    Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: The new fake news fighters (video interview with Mimie Liotsiou)

    Researchers built a tool called the junk news aggregator to see how much engagement junk news gets on Facebook.

    Mimie: “Junk news is news that is ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan, or conspiratorial, and it also includes various forms of propaganda. Given a list of websites, we can classify them. Is it a news website? A political blog? A government website? Professional news? A social media platform? Or is it junk news?”

    After categorizing junk news sites, the aggregator shows how users engage with posts on Facebook accounts associated with those sites.

    Mimie: “Junk news has been a growing problem in the US context and also globally. In some other areas of the world, junk news went so far as to lead to people killing [based on rumours], so it can be deadly in some cases.”