President Obama Weighs in on Fake News, Saying it Creates a Dust Cloud of Nonsense
In the aftermath of the 2016 election, some critics have pointed to social media as the cause of an outcome where the polls favored candidate Hillary Clinton who went on to lose to opponent Donald Trump. According to a BuzzFeed News investigation, during the final three months of the campaign, the 20 top-performing fake news stories drove more engagement than the 20 top-performing stories from major news outlets. The growing debate has caused President Barack Obama to warn that fake news could tilt politics to the point “we won’t know what we’re fighting for.”
This comes following allegations that Facebook failed to correct their news algorithm to remove fake news from social media feeds. Google is also grappling with how to fix their algorithm, as a Google search for “final election count” yielded the result that Donald Trump had won the popular vote, despite the fact Hillary Clinton held the lead by more than 1 million votes. Twitter has also taken action to shut down “alt-right” Twitter handles to reduce the level of white supremacy messages spread on the social network.
Data Wars: Russia Blocks LinkedIN for Failing to Transfer Data to Servers Located in the Country
Russia is enforcing a block on LinkedIN after the company failed to transfer data files on Russian users to servers located within the country. The failure to comply violates a law that requires online sites to store user data on national servers. The ban will require ISPs to comply with the block in coming hours or face heavy fines and potentially also face blocks. LinkedIN is currently being acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion, and as of now, it’s unclear as to why LinkedIN was targeted. Russia maintains that localized servers protect user’s personal data, although many claim Russia wants to access the data itself. In the past, when dealing with China, LinkedIN and other sites such as Evernote have built separate sites for data hosted locally in the country.
Traffic Deaths Spike Highest in 50 Years Due to Mobile App Use
In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775 deaths compared to the same period during 2015. “This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now,” Mark R. Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The surge of highway deaths are coming from various apps that encourage motorists to post photos while en-route such as Snapchat, Waze, and Pokemon Go. Innovations, such as car WiFi and other apps, have unfortunately worsened the situation from distracted driving. For instance, the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating an Oct 26th crash that led to killing five people that was recorded on Snapchat. Similarly, there is a case in Georgia that had led to a collision while the Snapchat video app was in use.
Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo Strongly Supports Surveillance and Thinks Encryption is for Terrorists
Donald Trump announced his decision to let Mike Pompeo run the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a Republican lawmaker known for being a strong supporter of mass surveillance and for believing encryption might be a sign you’re a terrorist. This is alarming as the level of information being transferred on mobile devices is increasingly personal between the two people sharing the message. Messaging apps such as iMessage and Whatsapp have the ability to communicate highly sensitive information between two law abiding citizens, whereas in this case, Pompeo believes “the use of strong encryption in personal communications may itself be a red flag.” Encryption is a process that encodes data so that it can only be accessed by certain people. The common and simple security measure is used by activists, journalists, and smartphone users alike.