Facebook annouced today that it has been the subject of a fake news story that it is banning fake news stories after it was accused of allowing fake news stories to tilt the presidential election to Donald Trump.
“We are not banning fake news stories, despite what you might have read in a fake news story on Facebook, and we have no plans to ban fake news stories,” said Mark Zuckerberg, the chief of the popular social media site.
Zuckerberg called it “questionable” that the widespread sharing of fake news on Facebook had any affect on the election outcome, and it’s for that reason there will be no policy change to ban fake news. “Does fake news get shared on facebook?” Zuckerman said. “Of course. It’s impossible to stop. But we do not believe that fake news on our site had anything to do with the election of Donald Trump.”
Under the fake news story about Facebook banning fake news stories, Zuckerberg supposedly said his site would enforce its ban in part by not allowing fake news sites to participate in its ad program. But that’s false, Zuckerberg said. “We have no policy to not allow fake news sites to participate in our ad program,” he said. “That was what the fake news story said, but that’s not true. Fake news sites can still use our ad program.”
To help get the word out that the site still allows fake news sites, Facebook put a press release into its news feed and encouraged users to share it. But the news was not widely shared, analysts say, in part because a fake news story on Facebook said the news release wasn’t real but was part of a fake news story. “There was obviously a lot of confusion on Facebook about whether the news release was real or was part of a fake news story,” said Jared Stone, an analyst with Communications Metrics, a company that tracks online news traffic. “So far, more people believe the press release was fake and the fake story about the fake press release was real than believe the press release was real and the fake story was fake.”
To cut through the confusion, Zuckerberg personally contacted The New York Times to get the word out about what’s true and what’s not, but the editor at the Times reportedly thought the call was a hoax and did not take it.
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photo: ka, am (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
In a move that’s sure to make to make it harder for Donald Trump to get his election message out, Twitter has suspended the account of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for including banned hate speech in his tweets. “We take our responsibilities to foster respectful dialogue seriously,” Twitter Chief Enforcement Officer David Hearns says in a statement the company released this morning. “This was not a decision we made lightly, but we stand by our policy and did what we felt we had to under the circumstances.” Under the company’s hate-speech policy, accounts are suspended 60 days for tweets that . . . . More.
President-elect Donald Trump said he was appointing his “very good brain” to be one of his top advisors on both domestic and foreign policy. “I’ve always relied on my very good brain to decide what to do,” Trump said today at a press availability in his offices at Trump Tower in New York City. “When people would question whether I was doing the right thing or the wrong thing, I would consult my brain and do what makes most sense to it.” Trump said the policy insight of his brain is “the best ever” and there was never any doubt that he would tap his brain right from the start. “My brain has been with me from day one and it’s going to be with me from the day I take the oath of office,” he said. “It’s going to be terrific. There’s never been another advisor as good as this one. You’ll be very impressed.” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said one of the great foreign policy successes in United States history—its purchase of about a third of its landmass in what is known as the Louisiana Purchase—was an “amateur” real estate deal made by “hacks.” Speaking at the last of his “victory rallies,” in Mobile, Ala., Trump said he could have acquired the more than 800,000 square miles of territory from France for 45 million francs, rather than the 68 million francs President Thomas Jefferson paid in 1803. The price tag of 68 million francs translates into about $15 million, or about $250 million in today’s dollars, a price historians say is remarkable for a piece of land that extends from the southern tip of Louisiana to the northern border of Montana and gives the United States its breadbasket—the area of the country that is among the most fertile in the world. More.
After what they call eight years of failed American foreign policy by the Obama administration, House Republican leaders say it’s time to spin off the country’s diplomacy and statesmanship to the private sector. “The United States was built by our world-leading companies,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said at a press conference in the Capitol this morning. “The government doesn’t build Chevrolets. General Motors does. The country doesn’t make computers. Apple does. Today, it’s time to unleash our private sector on our foreign policy and do what our government has never been able to do: create peace and prosperity around the world.” Under the plan Ryan and other leaders unveiled, the heads of GM, AT&T, Citibank, and other multinational corporations would work with leaders of countries around the world to replace war with peace and confrontation with cooperation. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said he appreciates the gracious concession call he received from his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, after the results of their bitter presidential contest were finalized. But he also said he wouldn’t have extended the same courtesy to her had he won the popular vote but lost the electoral college the way she did. “’What a rigged system!’ is how I would have put it,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News this morning. “To win more votes than the other candidate and still lose the election? Of course I would have accused the system of being rigged. Who wouldn’t? Hillary Clinton wouldn’t, that’s who. And I appreciate that.” More.
Robert Plant, the golden haired and golden voiced singer for the legendary hard rock band Led Zeppelin, says in an interview on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” that he should have listened to his dad and become an accountant rather than leave home when he was 16 to live the rock-and-roll lifestyle. “If I were to live my life again, would I have that nasty break with my family and sing for various bands before finally joining Pagey and the others to form Led Zeppelin? I think on balance what I did was a mistake and, in retrospect, I should have listened to my dad.” More.
Special to The Guardian. In a find that stunned the world of religion, archaeologists digging in a remote region of the Sinai desert discovered what is believed to be the original Holy Bible from more than 2,000 years ago with its International Standard Book Publishing (ISBN) code still intact. “This is an almost unbelievable discovery,” says Alfred Pottersmith, lead curator of Middle East artifacts at the British Museum in London. “To think we could be holding in our hands the original bible from God’s disciples is humbling beyond words.” What gives archaeologists confidence the bible is the original Word of God, first edition, is the presence of the internationally recognized 9-digit numeric commercial book identifier code known as the ISBN code. More.
With all signs pointing to a historic drop in the stock market should he win election, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has begun calling the crash the “Obama Crash,” which he says is due to the country’s anemic growth under the Democratic president. “This crash, when it happens, will be the fault of Hillary Clinton’s president, because he never got the economy growing when he was in the White House,” Trump said today at a rally in Altoona, Pa. “The guy was a community organizer. He couldn’t get the economy growing after he crashed the economy eight years ago. We shouldn’t be surprised, folks. We saw this coming.” More.
The erudite George Will, who has been writing about Republican politics since the mid-1970s and who declared this year he was no longer a Republican because of Donald Trump, says it’s bitter to learn he has no influence over people who vote Republican no matter how much ink is spilled or how many trees are killed to put his words into print. “After some 40 years as a political thought leader, I cannot say that anything I say has any influence on anyone at any time or in any place,” he says. “I guess that makes me a . . . nothing, because the whole rationale for my professional existence is to shape Republican attitudes and policy, and I see now that I have less influence than a truck mechanic I met in in Altoona, Pa., who persuaded his wife to vote for Donald Trump.” More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein came back from the dead today to throw some shade at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for praising the 82 percent approval rating of Russian president Vlaidmir Putin. “Eighty-two percent! I snort at that!” said Hussein, who was executed by the Federal Government of Iraq in 2006, when he was 69. “My Revolutionary Command Council would have had a good laugh if I had run my country as a strongman with only an 82 percent approval, I can tell you that, my friend!” Hussein said a strong leader should never have anything under 100 percent approval, and he pointed to his impressive 111 percent approval rating when he asked his people in a poll what they thought of his job performance in 2003, shortly before an international coalition of forces invaded his country and forced him into hiding. “I am not a sentimental person, but I shed a tear at the love of my people on that day,” said Hussein. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump acknowledged he plans to govern as a dictator but he wanted to reassure voters that he would make decisions in the interests of the country. “When I curb the press, it wont be to hurt America, it will be to make America stronger,” he said. “If I let the press criticize everything I do—and they will, because they’re totally dishonest—I can’t get anything done. I want to get things done, so I have to curb the press. But we’ll still have some free press. We’ll keep the good ones. It won’t be entirely gone.” Trump promised to take a firmer hand on how cases get settled in the courts. “Right now our courts are a disaster,” he said. “We have cases backlogged. Why do we use juries as much as we do? Especially if the person is guilty. Let’s get these guilty criminals directly into jail and save he courts for when we really need them.” More.
SmartCarry™ Luggage Carts are the go-to brand of carts for most homeless people, a survey released today by Brand Trust, a business-to-business trade magazine. The magazine asked 250 homeless people in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto about their brand preferences when it came to luggage, grocery, or other types of carts for carrying their possessions and just under 200 said SmartCarry™ is their cart of choice. “They last a real long time,” says Arnold Sween, a homeless person in New York City. “I’ve had mine for 10 years and it still rolls good. Holds a lot, too.” More.
“OMG!” A Silicon Valley web start-up is shifting the micro-blogging movement into hyper gear with its launch this week of hhrmp.com, a “hyper-micro” blogging site that limits posts to just 5 characters. “At this point in the evolution of social media, the 140-character limit of Twitter is just too big,” says Jeremy Gliner, whose title is chief hhrmp’er at hhrmp! Media. “Today’s teenagers have grown up on Twitter, Snapchat, and other micro-blogging platforms and they want their own thing. And they don’t want to compose anything that resembles a sentence. Given the success of our beta site with this critical demographic, we feel we’re giving this up-and-coming generation of word-economizers what they want.” A quick check with a group of 19- and 20-year-olds outside Hillsdale College in College Park, Md., appears to bear out Gliner’s assessment. More.