Here’s what’s up this week:
- Business Insider reports that non-profit group Avaaz has listed the “10 Most-Viewed Fake News Stories on Facebook in 2019.” You’ve probably seen a few of these, and we’ve featured some here on this blog. All that said, I take issue with the #1 entry, “Trump’s grandfather was a pimp and tax evader; his father a member of the KKK,” because it’s not fake; the news in this “fake news” story is pretty much accurate. Point #1: Numerous reports (including this one from Bloomberg) verify that Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich, got the family fortune started when he founded a hotel, bar, and brothel establishment in Bennett, British Columbia around the turn of the 20th century. Point #2: In 1927, Trump’s father, Fred, was arrested at a KKK march in New York City. While this doesn’t prove Trump’s father was a member of the KKK, it does dovetail with Fred’s long history of racism and prejudice (detailed here by Vice). In short, this “fake news” story is a really bad choice to lead Avaaz’s list, as it is at least partially true.
- According to a new study from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, fake news isn’t easy to spot on Facebook. Well, duh. Read the story here.
- Librarians in Citrus County, Florida, wanted a digital subscription to the New York Times for their 70,000 patrons. Members of the Citrus County commission said no, calling the esteemed, award-winning newspaper “fake news.” Another esteemed, award-winning newspaper The Washington Post, has the story.
- Nope, Celine Dion did not die in a plane crash, as supposedly reported in a CNN video. The video is fake and it’s just another hoary old hoax, as debunked by Snopes.