What if the scourge of false news on the internet is not the result of Russian operatives or partisan zealots or computer-controlled bots? What if the main problem is us?
People are the principal culprits, according to a new study examining the flow of stories on Twitter. And people, the study’s authors also say, prefer false news.
As a result, false news travels faster, farther and deeper through the social network than true news.
Archives For fake news
Ironically, the media response to the memo simply validates the now ex-employee’s point when he writes:
unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber
silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
What is left unsaid in most of the coverage is that the memo’s ideas are also a deadly threat to thousands of jobs in the “diversity” industry (e.g., Google’s VP of Diversity). People whose jobs depend on an uncritical acceptance of an ideological position naturally react badly to any critique of it.
Original memo: http://diversitymemo.com/#reply
Which is to say that, regardless of one’s view on the contents of the memo, the ostensibly “neutral” position is not likely to be a neutral position at all. Or, put another way: One can’t avoid delving into this in depth by contending bluntly that the details don’t matter, when, for better or worse, they absolutely do. As I wrote a couple of years ago, I am quite happy for private companies to respond to their customers and the culture in which they exist, and I do not wish to impose any laws that would prevent them from doing so. But to acknowledge that this is what they are doing is merely to move our point of inquiry from the companies themselves to the forces that inform their decisions. There is a severe imbalance in those forces, and one that’s worth remarking on. There’s no neutral position here, I’m afraid.
Do we find that “countries that lack gender equity in school enrollment” and “stereotypes associating science with males” have fewer women in tech?
No. Galpin investigated the percent of women in computer classes all around the world. Her number of 26% for the US is slightly higher than I usually hear, probably because it’s older (the percent women in computing has actually gone down over time!). The least sexist countries I can think of – Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, etc – all have somewhere around the same number (30%, 20%, and 24%, respectively). The most sexist countries do extremely well on this metric! The highest numbers on the chart are all from non-Western, non-First-World countries that do middling-to-poor on the Gender Development Index: Thailand with 55%, Guyana with 54%, Malaysia with 51%, Iran with 41%, Zimbabwe with 41%, and Mexico with 39%. Needless to say, Zimbabwe is not exactly famous for its deep commitment to gender equality.