11 votes

Media Manipulation, Strategic Amplification, and Responsible Journalism | danah boyd at the Online News Association conference

1 comment

  1. cfabbro (edited ) Link
    Damn this is a dense and incredibly long read but was well worth it, IMO. The section on Data Voids in particular was incredibly eye opening and explains so much about the strange and unique...

    Damn this is a dense and incredibly long read but was well worth it, IMO. The section on Data Voids in particular was incredibly eye opening and explains so much about the strange and unique language that has seemingly been popping up more and more frequently from the alt-right:

    Using search to your advantage relies on what Michael Golebiewski at Bing calls a “data void.” When people search for a phrase that does not have natural informative results, it’s easy for manipulators to control the results. Take, for example, “did the Holocaust exist?” If no one produces content to combat that frame, what people get when they search for that phrase is conspiratorial. Media manipulators design and exploit data voids. They galvanize around phrases, create digital content around that phrase, and then work to push those phrases into the mainstream lexicon by using news media’s instinct to cover something new. When it came to “crisis actors,” they knew what search results would appear at the top, especially on YouTube.

    Google and Bing rely heavily on legitimate news content to cover up data voids about breaking topics. But YouTube is a disaster. First, there’s a lot less content on YouTube, which means that problematic content surfaces to the top faster. Second, YouTube isn’t simply a search engine; it’s also a recommendation engine that encourages people to view more videos and go on a journey. This is great for music discovery, but not so great when manipulators game the recommendation system to create pathways to extremist content. Third, while newsrooms and text creators have gotten smart about SEO on Google and Bing, they’re weak with YouTube, even though it’s the primary search engine for the under-25s.

    My colleague Becca Lewis is about to release a report that shows how media manipulators have leveraged data voids, recommendation processes of YouTube, and potential recruits’ interest in self-investigation to walk people from quasi-mainstream debates to extremism. Through the use of comments, linking, and strategic cross-participation, those who are curious to self-investigate follow breadcrumbs that were designed to promote conspiracy and hate.

    4 votes