Remember when you were a kid and you got junk mail. Real mail, through the slot or in the mailbox? Your mom got it and turned it over or not even that—and threw it out.
Today that same mom is the prime target for “fake” internet news.
PBS Newshour is doing a series titled Junk Mail. One, I like this title as opposed to fake news as that terminology has gotten corrupted. The anology of junk mail rings true with my generation (plus). We all can relate to those annoying adverts, credit cards we didn’t order, appeals for funds. We weren’t fooled. Not so today.
A young IT guy has developed for PBS a Junk News Tracker. Cameron Hickey did not have to look far for a person to base his research upon: he turned to 86-year old grandmother. This lady is total click bait, a sucker for everything coming down the drain. A self-proclaimed conservative Christian from Ohio.
“To understand the scale and shape of a problem that was incredibly opaque, we began intensive research to collect and analyze the sources of this misinformation.
. . . This process led us to create a tool we call NewsTracker, which helped identify new stories that would give our viewers the necessary context to make sense of this phenomenon.
, , , We used the Facebook API to collect all the stories posted to these pages as well as their engagement data — how many times users liked, shared, and commented on the stories. We continuously monitored this feed to identify patterns in and assess the substance of the posts.”
He needed someone to base algorithms off of in order to analyze the problem of junk mail. In upcoming pod- and newscasts he will be interviewing his sweet, hymn singing grandma to learn why she clicks on the most outrageous, egregious news out there. Stay tuned!