Fake news is most often used in two ways.
1. President Trump and other conservatives describe the mainstream media as "fake news" for its biases.
2. The media describes conservative and other opposition sites as "fake news" as part of a campaign to pressure Facebook and other social media sites to censor them.
It's this latter one that is especially dangerous to democracy. And now Qatar, the Islamic terror state behind Al Jazeera, is jumping into the censorship game.
A new research project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and the Qatar Computing Research Institute aims to use machine learning to detect which sites focus on facts and which are more likely to churn out misinformation.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, less factual sites were more likely to use hyperbolic and emotional language than those reporting more factual content. Additionally, Nakov says, news sources with longer descriptions on Wikipedia tend to be more reliable. The online encyclopedia can also provide verbal indications that news sources are suspect, such as references to bias or a tendency to spread conspiracy theories, he says.
“If you, for example, open the Wikipedia page of Breitbart, you read things like ‘misogynistic,’ ‘xenophobic,’ ‘racist,'” Nakov says.
There you go. Predictably lefty bias is predictable. As is rigging the game.
But the involvement of Qatar is especially troubling, as Islamist regimes have a special interest in censoring the domestic political opposition, and criticism of Islamic terrorists and their religious inspiration within Islam.
Studies and research projects about what the media deems fake news can quickly be rolled into actual plans to be implemented by social media companies. And those are a major threat to free speech on the internet.