Turkey crackdown, net neutrality, alt-left and fake news

Our personal weekly selection about journalism and innovation. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

edited by Marco Nurra

  • A year after attempted coup in Turkey, media landscape purged of critical voices. Turkey has jailed more journalists than any other country in any one year since the Committee to Protect Journalists began keeping records in the early 1990s. The government purged the police, the judiciary, academic and government institutions. On Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the BBC that there were only two journalists jailed in Turkey, disputing that there were more than 100 journalists in Turkish prisons.
  • Why we should care about net neutrality. For media consumers, the loss of net neutrality could affect which websites they access and the speed with which those sites load. The winners in this scenario would be major companies that could afford to strike deals with the ISPs, and, of course, the ISPs themselves.
  • For the left, hyper-partisan news is a mainstream media supplement, while on the right, it is a replacement: partisan news plays a different role on the right and the left. “Our research didn’t find the same levels of media manipulation and misinformation spreading on the left — or anywhere besides the far-right.” Why is this? And why might it seem like things are just as bad on the left when it comes to misinformation? “Ironically, the sense that the left is just as bad comes in part from far-right media manipulation,” says Becca Lewis.
  • Why haven’t reporters mass-adopted secure tools for communicating with sources? When journalists don’t step up, sources with sensitive information face the burden of using riskier modes of communication to initiate contact — and possibly conduct all of their exchanges — with reporters. It increases their chances of getting caught, putting them in danger of losing their job or facing prosecution. It’s burden enough to make them think twice about whistleblowing.
  • The Intercept failed to shield its confidential source. Now it’s making amends. To recap: The Trump administration charged 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, a former Air Force linguist, with leaking classified information — just hours after the Intercept published a story based on a National Security Agency document describing efforts by Russian military intelligence to hack into America’s voting system. A month later, the Intercept and its parent company First Look (both funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar) are taking steps to fix their mistakes and help defend Winner.
  • Categorising true vs false, and reliable vs unreliable, is hard to do. “If we successfully implement a system on Internet platforms like Facebook and Google which accurately discerns between true and false, I believe we will end up with a much worse situation than we currently have. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that it promotes intellectual laziness rather than critical thinking. The second is that it will create massive, global, ideological division rather than unity,” writes Shane Greenup.
  • Facebook has found a new way to identify spam and false news articles in your News Feed. People who post 50-plus times per day are likely sharing spam or false news. So now Facebook is going to identify the links that these super-posters share, and cut down on their distribution on the network. That means the links shared by users who incessantly post won’t get the kind of reach they used to, even if they’re shared by a reputable page.

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