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It’s an inspiring story that proves that amazing things can happen.
When single mother Linda Roscoe was told her 5-year-old daughter, Emily, had a brain tumor and needed surgery, she had just been laid off and was without insurance. With no family or friends able to help, Linda didn’t know who to turn to. Amazingly, a decorated soldier who had just returned from Afghanistan heard Linda’s story, and he knew he could help: His husband just so happened to be a neurosurgeon willing to do the operation for free.
Emily is now a healthy 6-year-old who likes riding her bike and playing with her friends, and you can either verify that this actually happened or share it right now and reap its immense social media capital.
Yes, you could slog through news sites looking for another source to corroborate this amazing story. But by then, one of your friends will probably have already posted this to Facebook, and he will be the one swimming in likes and comments instead of you. You can be the person who is always the first to share amazing stories like this one with your friends, or you can be the person who bumbles around the internet, looking to see if things are true or not.
This entire article is a really great read, I wanted to excerpt the whole thing, but here is a quick sample:
“It’s up to other people to decide whether they give it any credibility or not,” she concluded. This was not, of course, the first time that outlandish claims were published on the basis of flimsy evidence, but this was an unusually brazen defence. It seemed that journalists were no longer required to believe their own stories to be true, nor, apparently, did they need to provide evidence. Instead it was up to the reader – who does not even know the identity of the source – to make up their own mind. But based on what? Gut instinct, intuition, mood? Does the truth matter any more?
… “If a person is not sharing a news story, it is, at its core, not news.”
The increasing prevalence of this approach suggests that we are in the midst of a fundamental change in the values of journalism – a consumerist shift. Instead of strengthening social bonds, or creating an informed public, or the idea of news as a civic good, a democratic necessity, it creates gangs, which spread instant falsehoods that fit their views, reinforcing each other’s beliefs, driving each other deeper into shared opinions, rather than established facts.
But the trouble is that the business model of most digital news organisations is based around clicks. News media around the world has reached a fever-pitch of frenzied binge-publishing, in order to scrape up digital advertising’s pennies and cents. (And there’s not much advertising to be got: in the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in the US on online advertising went to Google and Facebook. That used to go to news publishers.)
In the news feed on your phone, all stories look the same – whether they come from a credible source or not.
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At times of natural disasters, terror attacks or unrest, Twitter lights up with first-hand experiences, emotion, rumours and speculation. The bigger the news, the more sensational a story, the more noise there is, the further information travels and the harder it becomes to detect the truth. Yet this is when it is also most important to sort out fact from fiction from the frenzied maelstrom of social media.
That’s when swearing comes in. Cussing is one of the clues to figuring out whether a tweet is coming from someone caught up in a major news event rather than a fraud. Letting off a string of expletives seems a natural reaction to a life-or-death scenario.
The f-word turns out to be one of the ingredients in the magic formula sought by scientists studying how to automatically rank the credibility of individual messages. At times of stressful events, such as a plane crash or natural disaster, swear words tend to suggest a message comes from someone in the middle of it all.
Scientists trying to detect the language of truth are less concerned about the actual content of a message. For them, the clues to truth lie in the wording and punctuation of a message.