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A weather forecast for fake news outbreaks on social media is coming

A social media weather report that predicts outbreaks of propaganda is on its way. It can’t arrive soon enough, says Annalee Newitz

Technology


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29 July 2020

Will Heath/NBCU Photo Bank/NBC

A FEW weeks ago, I noticed that a foul and offensive hashtag was trending on Twitter. Like a horror movie character who goes into the basement after hearing monster noises, I clicked on it.

Every post on the hashtag was like a parody of a political debate, with each side making the same screaming accusations. It was almost as if these people had learned to argue from bad algorithms.

That is when it hit me. Maybe these angry tweets were generated by algorithms. Or by operatives at a place like the Internet Research Agency …

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