This is so bleak.
"Mutiny at Facebook."
That's how Inc.'s Jeff Bercovici characterizes the latest Facebook scoop by BuzzFeed's Sheera Frankel who's learned that "renegade Facebook employees" have formed a task force to battle fake news. "This is a big deal," Bercovici continues. "Facebook has always been an everyone-drinks-the-Kool Aid place." As one longtime Facebook engineer explained, "Facebook is getting played by people using us to spread their bullshit.” Jason Emory Parker of The Post and Courier says, "Can't say I've seen anything like this before: rogue FB employees setup taskforce to fix problem FB denies exists."
Well, it's not so much that Facebook denies the problem exists — after all, yesterday the company joined Google in banning fake news sites from its advertising network, writes Deepa Seetharaman of the Wall Street Journal. It's certainly downplayed the problem, however, and to a severe degree; Zuckerberg still hasn't revised his earlier statement that "99% of what users see is authentic." Here's how NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen summed up the mixed messaging: "Facebook: Fake news sites are not a problem and didn't affect the election but we banned them from our ad network."
But regardless of what's going on internally at Facebook, fake stories are still popping up in its Trending section, at least as of 4:00 PM yesterday. That's when Ben Collins of The Daily Beast posted a screenshot of a "100% made up" trending story about Denzel Washington supporting Donald Trump. "This post of it alone has 10k shares in the last six hours," Collins adds.
It's a bird... It's a plane... It's... good news for the journalism industry!
Gerry Smith at Bloomberg reports that newspaper shares have "soared" in the days since the election, referring to it as "The Trump Bump." Gannett is up 18%, McClatchy is up 13%, and the New York Times is up 11%. Even tronc is up 10%. tronc!
Non-profit journalism donations are also up. "The nonprofit news organization ProPublica typically receives about 10 donations a day," Smith writes. "On Monday, its website was deluged with about three every minute."
Pamela Paul of the New York Times had this to say: "Thank you, subscribers, for recognizing the value and importance of real journalism. Now more than ever." But perhaps the most satisfying response came from the Washington Post's Dave Weigel: "Sending this link to every troll who informs me that the election will put me out of a job." Elsewhere, however, the New York Times' Michael Roston had a bit more cynical take in the wake of an election Trump arguably won thanks to the very media industry he regulalry denigrates: "I think this is what they call brand synergy in the marketing business."
Over at Vox, Alvin Chang "looked at 2 years of front pages" and concluded that "Trump's Muslim ban got far less attention than Clinton's emails." And it wasn't just Fox News or Breitbart or other conservative-leaning outlets that were to blame. "The NYT focused monomaniacally on a single Clinton "scandal," but flitted between Trump controversies," tweets Jordan Weissman of Slate.
The "manosphere" goes mainstream. Shit.
Abi Wilkinson has a must-read piece in the Guardian titled, "I've seen just how dark the alt-right 'manosphere' is. Now it's mainstream." So what is the "manosphere" exactly? Wilkinson defines it as such: "An online subculture centred around hatred, anger and resentment of feminism specifically, and women more broadly." And how's it gone mainstream? One of its key figures, Steve Bannon, is now part of Donald Trump's White House staff. "Absolutely fascinating," tweets CNN's James Masters, particularly the ways in which, as Wilkinson puts it, "men's rights activist/pick-up artist online communities (serve) as a recruitment site for neofascism." India Knight of The Sunday Times is less enthusiastic, but still appreciative of the piece, tweeting, "This is so bleak." And finally, the Southern Poverty Law Center shared the piece with a blunt call to action: "We need to talk about the radicalisation of young, white men."
One more on Trump then we can all go home
The New York Times' Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig report that "Donald Trump's Far-Flung Holdings May Create Conflicts of Interest." The Washington Post's Drew Harwell calls Trump's conflicts "without precedent in American presidential history." Here's just one example, tweeted by Lipton: "Days before Trump won National Labor Relations Board ruled against his Vegas hotel. Now he appoints NLRB. Conflict?" The Washington Post's Dan Drezner says, "I'm confident GOP watchdogs in Congress will investigate these possible confli-- HA HA HA!" And finally, the Atlantic's Adam Serwer could only mock voters' hopes that Trump's election would clean up all the corruption in Washington: "drain the swamp."