Facebook to reject ads from pages touting ‘fake news’

The White House admitted Tuesday that Donald Trump helped draft a misleading statement about his son's meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer -- deepening the president's entanglement in the saga over his team's ties to Russia. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had "weighed in, offered suggestions, like any father would do." Trump's personal intervention, first reported by The Washington Post, casts doubt on claims he knew nothing about a meeting during the 2016 campaign that is now central to a federal investigation. It also paints a picture of a president acutely aware of the scandal -- and determined to manage it down to a minute level. Allies fear that such a level of involvement, if proven, could put the Republican billionaire leader in legal jeopardy. Politically, it will only intensify allegations that the White House is trying to cover up connections with a foreign government accused of trying to tilt the November election in Trump's favor. "This was... unnecessary," one presidential adviser told the Post on condition of anonymity. "Now someone can claim he's the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn't want you to say the whole truth." Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow dismissed the report as "misinformed." Emails show that Trump's eldest son Donald Jr, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his then campaign manager Paul Manafort met Kremlin-connected officials in June 2016 in the hope of getting dirt on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. On the other side of the…... [read more]

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday became the world's richest person, as a jump in the share price of the US tech giant enabled him to overtake Microsoft founder Bill Gates, a new estimate showed. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, Photo AFP Forbes magazine said its real-time tracking of personal fortunes showed Bezos with a net worth of $90.5 billion, ahead of the $90 billion for Gates early Thursday.  A few hours later, though, Bezos had slipped back to second place as Amazon shares pared their gains. Bezos owns around 17 percent of the equity of Amazon, which has been expanding from its original mission as an online retailer to a diversified tech firm in cloud computing, online video, computer hardware and artificial intelligence. The company also recently announced plans to acquire US grocer Whole Foods, which could help Amazon expand in that sector. Amazon shares were up 1.7 percent at $1,070.72 and have risen some 24 percent over the past four months, adding some $17 billion to the net worth of the 53-year-old Bezos. According to Forbes, Gates has been the richest person in the magazine's annual rankings in March for the past four years and for 18 of the past 22 years. Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim overtook Gates from 2010 to 2013. Among the billionaires gaining ground is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has an estimated worth of…... [read more]

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will propose offering to end sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he told The Times of London. Trump, in an interview with the newspaper published online on Sunday, was deeply critical of previous U.S. foreign policy, describing the invasion of Iraq as possibly the gravest error in the history of the United States and akin to "throwing rocks into a beehive". But ahead of his inauguration on Friday as the 45th U.S. president, Trump raised the prospect of the first major step towards nuclear arms control since President Barack Obama struck a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia in 2010. "They have sanctions on Russia - let's see if we can make some good deals with Russia," the Republican president-elect was quoted as saying by The Times. "For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it. But Russia's hurting very badly right now because of sanctions, but I think something can happen that a lot of people are gonna benefit." The United States and Russia are by far the world's biggest nuclear powers. The United States has 1,367 nuclear warheads on deployed strategic missiles and bombers, while Russia has 1,796 such deployed warheads, according to the latest published assessment by the U.S. State Department. Trump has vowed to improve relations with Moscow even as he faces criticism he is…... [read more]

'You are fake news!' Trump told a reporter from CNN in a moment that reverberated on Twitter. In his first news conference since the November 8 election, President-elect Donald Trump set social media ablaze on Wednesday with remarks including harsh criticism of the press and a defense of his goal to improve ties with Russia. The session, held in the lobby of his Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan, featured a number of viral moments, like an exchange with a reporter whom Trump accused of peddling "fake news." "I'm not going to give you a question," Trump told the journalist from CNN, which reported on Tuesday that the Republican president-elect had been briefed by U.S. intelligence agencies about allegations that Russian operatives had compromising information about him. "You are fake news!" he told the reporter in a moment that reverberated on Twitter. Trump's comment that reporters were "the only ones who care" about whether he released his tax returns stirred up 165,000 tweets during the session. Social media users asked others to "retweet if you're not a reporter and still care about seeing Trump's tax returns." In Russia, the hashtag #TrumpPressConference was a top-trending topic during the news conference and for several hours afterward. "If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability because we have a horrible relationship with Russia," Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, said in reference to the Russian president. "I don't know that I'm going to get along with Vladimir Putin.…... [read more]

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 - President-elect Donald Trump accepts the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the U.S. presidential election and may take action in response, his incoming chief of staff said on Sunday. WASHINGTON, Jan 8 - President-elect Donald Trump accepts the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the U.S. presidential election and may take action in response, his incoming chief of staff said on Sunday. Reince Priebus said Trump believed Russia was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organizations, although Priebus did not clarify whether the president-elect agreed that the hacks were directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. "He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia, so that's not the issue," Priebus said on "Fox News Sunday." It was the first acknowledgment from a senior member of the Republican president-elect's team that Trump had accepted that Russia directed the hacking and subsequent disclosure of Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election. Trump had rebuffed allegations that Russia was behind the hacks or was trying to help him win, saying the intrusions could have been carried out by China or a 400-pound hacker on his bed. With less than two weeks until his Jan. 20 inauguration, Trump has come under increasing pressure from fellow Republicans to accept intelligence community findings on Russian hacking and other attempts by Moscow to influence the Nov. 8 election. A crucial test of Republican support for Trump comes this week…... [read more]

Researchers at Indiana University have developed a new tool that shows how fake news and unverified stories spread through social media. The search engine, dubbed Hoaxy, is the latest effort to combat the proliferation of fake news, which proliferated during the U.S. presidential campaign, with one bogus post-Election Day story sparking a real-life event when a gunman fired shots into a Washington, D.C., restaurant. "It is a very serious problem," said Filippo Menczer, the director of the university's Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, which launched Hoaxy. Misinformation and propaganda are not new, but Menczer said social media has added a new component because the information is pre-selected to be in line with people's own opinions. "Social media makes it more likely that I am more exposed to false information that I am likely to believe," he added. Hoaxy does not determine whether a story is real but it shows how it is spread online and shows related fact-checking. The free website, hoaxy.iuni.iu.edu, can be used by reporters, researchers and the public. If a user suspects a story is false they can search it in the website to see how it was spread and to what degree it went viral. "There is no editorial judgment," Menczer said in an interview. "We don't look at the claims, or vet them, or say they are true or false." It examines websites, compiled by news organizations and fact-checking sites, that are known to post satire, hoaxes or conspiracy theories. It also tracks…... [read more]

WASHINGTON: Facebook on Thursday (Dec 15) unveiled a tool that allows users to report fake news, a move aimed at stemming a wave of misinformation some claim influenced the 2016 US election. "We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we're approaching this problem carefully," Facebook's vice president Adam Mosseri said in a blog post. "We've focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third-party organizations." Facebook said it would begin testing a system allowing users to click on a news item if they suspect it is fabrication. The social network said it would work with global fact-checking organisations subscribing to the Poynter Institute's International Fact Checking Code of Principles. "If the fact-checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why," Mosseri said. "Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed." Facebook has been under fire for failing to stem a wave of fake news, which according to some critics may have helped the election of Republican property tycoon Donald Trump by spreading unfounded negative news about his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Facebook has dismissed the notion that fake news shared on the social network swung the election results but has been stepping up its efforts to weed out clearly false news.…... [read more]

Long has been identified by the Ministry of Public Security as one of the three administrators of a Facebook page called Vit Bau where the rumour originally appeared. The rumour began circulating on the social media site since late October with manipulated images showing new banknotes which were said to have been printed in China and transported to Vietnam. The Vit Bau page frequently published posts about the falsified banknote change and called on the people to withdraw their bank deposits to buy gold and foreign currencies. Such posts were usually accompanied by comments that slandered the government and incited acts of sabotage. After being arrested, Long confessed that the Vit Bau page was created in 2015 and administered by a woman named Nguyen Hang, who is currently living in the United States. In September 2016, Hang invited Long to join the page’s administration where he used the account Phong Tuan and the moniker Mr Duck to publish about ten posts a day on Vit Bau. The posts were written by Long or reposted from other reactionary websites and the mainstream media but which also featured defamatory comments. An investigation by the Ministry of Public Security concluded that the content posted on Vit Bau was intended to cause economic and political chaos with the overall aim of changing the political system in Vietnam. Following public panic over the fake news, the State Bank of Vietnam affirmed that the plan to change banknotes was a malicious rumour and advised the people…... [read more]

Last week, Việt Nam News asked its readers if they could spot fake news from genuine news. Here are some of the responses: Cao Loan, a reader Today it seems that people can't live without the Internet and we can't deny its role in our lives, from updating news, shopping online to socialising with friends, etc. However, the boom of online magazines, newspapers, and journals has confused readers about the authenticity of news released from these sources. So how can you spot fake news when you read online? Here are some of my suggestions. First, choose prestigious websites to visit. These sites may be state-run or private but I think they are quite official and reliable sources. Second, be alert for images or videos released on the Internet because they may be unreal. Sometimes they are invented to hunt "likes" from the viewers. You can verify their authenticity by googling the names or the events mentioned. Often, hot or breaking news is delivered across many sites, not just one. Last but not least, pay attention to every single sound and image effect when you watch a video or look at a photo online. Videos and photos, which are the work of photoshop technology, are not very difficult to recognise because they look quite unnatural. Jacob O Gold, American, Chicago During US election season this year, "fake news" was unfortunately able to circulate at an unprecedented rate because of the nature of the "real" stories surrounding both candidates, combined with the…... [read more]

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Wednesday (Nov 23) against the power of fake news on social media to spur the rise of populists, after launching her campaign for a fourth term. Speaking in parliament for the first time since her announcement Sunday that she would seek re-election next year, Merkel cautioned that public opinion was being "manipulated" on the internet. "Something has changed - as globalisation has marched on, (political) debate is taking place in a completely new media environment. Opinions aren't formed the way they were 25 years ago," she said. "Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls - things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them." Merkel, 62, said the challenge for democrats was to "reach and inspire people - we must confront this phenomenon and if necessary, regulate it." She said she supported initiatives by her right-left coalition government to crack down on "hate speech" on social media in the face of what she said were "concerns about the stability of our familiar order". "Populism and political extremes are growing in Western democracies," she warned. Last week, Google and Facebook moved to cut off ad revenue to bogus news sites after a US election campaign in which the global misinformation industry may have influenced the outcome of the vote. But media watchers say more is needed to stamp out a powerful phenomenon seen by some experts as a threat to democracy itself. Merkel's conservative Christian…... [read more]

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