Fake News is Rampant Regarding Parkland, Florida Shooter

Courtesy Broward County Jail:

Correct spelling of name:

Nikolas Jacob Cruz

DOB: 09/24/1998

Race: White





(fyi–this is even posted on a page belonging to a candidate for Congress)


Local law enforcement: No ties between militia and school shooter via

Excellent story debunking claims that student spokesperson David Hogg is a “crisis actor,” including original source of misinformation:

David Hogg: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Updating as these fake stories appear.





Fake Julian Assange Account is at it Again: Newsweek Journalist Falls For It

I warned you on January 26, 2018! Now this reporter has fallen prey:

Here is real Julian Assange:

Julian Assange  



Here is fake Julian Assange:

Julian Assange  


Yes, it says parody, but it is very difficult to discern the difference in a newsfeed now that Fake Julian Assange has added the little hour glass emblem. This is the same account that previously shared falsified documents saying Hillary has dementia.

Fake “Julian Assange” Says Hillary has Dementia; Retweeted 8500 Times So Far

And since I last wrote this, here’s a new fake account:

Julian Assange  



Wikileaks Plans its Own Global Fake News Awards #fakenewsnom

Twitter Updates Info on Propaganda, Internet Research Agency Linked Accounts, Russian Bots

Most user engagement was with a very small number of IRA-associated accounts.  Image above courtesy Twitter, example of Internet Research Agency disinformation campaign.
By Twitter PublicPolicy

Friday, 19 January 2018

When we appeared before the United States Congress last fall, Twitter publicly committed to regularly updating both congressional committees and the public on findings from our ongoing review into events surrounding the 2016 U.S. election.

Twitter is committed to providing a platform that fosters healthy civic discourse and democratic debate.  We have been cooperating with congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We have committed to be as transparent as possible about sharing what we have learned through our retroactive investigationinto activity related to the election.

Since we presented our findings to Congress last fall, we have updated our analysis and continue to look for patterns and signals in data. Today, we are sharing an update on several aspects of that ongoing work, as well as steps we are taking to continue to make progress against potential manipulation of our platform.

Informing People of Malicious Activity in the 2016 Election

As previously announced, we identified and suspended a number of accounts that were potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period. Because we have already suspended these accounts, the relevant content on Twitter is no longer publicly available.

Examples of IRA Content

Most user engagement was with a very small number of IRA-associated accounts.  Some examples of content which received significant engagement are:

Updated Numbers of IRA Accounts

As part of our ongoing review, we have identified both more IRA and automated Russia-based accounts. The results of this supplemental analysis are consistent with the results of our previous work: automated election-related content associated with Russian signals represented a very small fraction of the overall activity on Twitter in the ten-week period preceding the 2016 election.

We have identified an additional 1,062 accounts associated with the IRA. We have suspended all of these accounts for Terms of Service violations, primarily spam, and all but a few accounts, which were restored to legitimate users, remain suspended.  At the request of congressional investigators, we are also sharing those account handles with Congress. In total, during the time period we investigated, the 3,814 identified IRA-linked accounts posted 175,993 Tweets, approximately 8.4% of which were election-related.

We have also provided Congress with the results of our supplemental analysis into activity believed to be automated, election-related activity originating out of Russia during the election period. Through our supplemental analysis, we have identified 13,512 additional accounts, for a total of 50,258 automated accounts that we identified as Russian-linked and Tweeting election-related content during the election period, representing approximately two one-hundredths of a percent (0.016%) of the total accounts on Twitter at the time.  However any such activity represents a challenge to democratic societies everywhere, and we’re committed to continuing to work on this important issue.

Enhancing Information Quality

After the 2016 election, we launched our Information Quality initiative to further develop strategies to detect and prevent bad actors from abusing our platform. We have since made significant improvements, while recognizing that we have more to do as these patterns of activity develop and shift over time.

With our current capabilities, we detect and block approximately 523,000 suspicious logins daily for being generated through automation. In December 2017, our systems identified and challenged more than 6.4 million suspicious accounts globally per week— a 60% increase in our detection rate from October 2017. We have developed new techniques for identifying malicious automation (such as near-instantaneous replies to Tweets, non-random Tweet timing, and coordinated engagement). We have improved our phone verification process and introduced new challenges, including reCAPTCHAs to validate that a human is in control of an account.

Alongside these improvements, we’re continuing to expand enforcement of our developer and automation rules. Since June 2017, we’ve removed more than 220,000 applications in violation of our rules, collectively responsible for more than 2.2 billion low-quality Tweets.

In 2018, we will build upon our existing improvements. Our plans include:

  • Investing further in machine-learning capabilities that help us detect and mitigate the effect on users of fake, coordinated, and automated account activity;
  • Limiting the ability of users to perform coordinated actions across multiple accounts in Tweetdeck and via the Twitter API;
  • Continuing the expansion of our new developer onboarding process to better manage the use cases for developers building on Twitter’s API. This will help us improve how we enforce our policies on restricted uses of our developer products, including rules on the appropriate use of bots and automation.

Media Literacy and Partnerships

We recognize that Twitter is an important part of a larger ecosystem of how news and information spreads online, and that we have a responsibility to support external programs that empower our users, connecting them with resources to give them control over their online experience.

Our partners Common Sense Media, the National Association for Media Literacy, the Family Online Safety Institute and Connect Safely, amongst others, have helped us to craft materials and conduct workshops to help our users learn how to process online information and understand which sources of news have integrity. We focus on elements like verification of sources, critical thinking, active citizenship online and the breaking down of digital divides.

Learn more about our most recent efforts for Media Literacy Week in countries like the U.S., Canada and Ireland, and follow our partners @MediaLiteracyEd@CommonSenseEdu and @ConnectSafely for new initiatives like the Teachers Institute at Twitter HQ.

Twitter is proud to partner with journalistic NGOs for trainings and outreach initiatives, including Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. We will keep working with reporters, journalism NGOs, and media organizations to ensure that Twitter’s full capabilities are built into newsrooms and established media outlets worldwide.

Moving Forward

Even as we continue to learn from the events of the 2016 U.S. election, we are taking steps every day to improve the security of our platform and stay one step ahead of those who would abuse it. As part of our preparations for the U.S. midterm elections, our teams are organizing to:

  • Verify major party candidates for all statewide and federal elective offices, and major national party accounts, as a hedge against impersonation;
  • Maintain open lines of communication to federal and state election officials to quickly escalate issues that arise;
  • Address escalations of account issues with respect to violations of Twitter Rules or applicable laws;
  • Continually improve and apply our anti-spam technology to address networks of malicious automation targeting election-related matters; and
  • Monitor trends and spikes in conversations relating to the 2018 elections for potential manipulation activity.

We are committed to ensuring that Twitter is safe and secure for all users and serves to advance healthy civic discussion and engagement. Our work on these issues will never be done, and we will continue in our efforts to protect Twitter against bad actors and networks of malicious automation and manipulation.

Dueling Hashtags: Things I Trust More than CNN vs. Things I Trust More than Fox News

On December 8, 2017, two major networks were forced to correct major stories. Twitter users responded by letting off MAJOR some steam:

Twitter celebrated with #ThingsITrustMorethanFoxNews:



Twitter celebrated with the #ThingsITrustMorethanCNN:

Peanut butter and jelly is now racist? Fake news!

Although this story was thoroughly debunked over FIVE years ago, it seems to again be making the rounds on social media. The fake news began circulating based upon an innocent in-service workshop for teachers which actually occurred in 2012, and was, of course, completely taken out of context.

From there, it was spun into a ridiculous story that not only had a Portland, Oregon principal declared PBJ a symbol of racism, but was actually banning the sandwiches from her school. In fact, the principal never even used the word “racism.”


Fact Check/Claim:   Portland schools are banning peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for being racist.  FALSE


Portland Public Schools did not spend half a million dollars to label the sandwich “racist.” The principal never called the sandwich racist. The Portland Tribune never said the principal called the sandwich racist. And yes, we don’t usually weigh in on lunch, but who could resist? The statement is inaccurate and silly.

We rate the statement Pants on Fire.

Apparently, the story really took off when Breitbart’s website picked it up, adding to the mix that PBJ was now going to be a “hate food.” (True, diversity, equity and implicit bias were discussed in the training, but the fact remains—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches simply were never  declared racist.)

Memes and misleading stories were shared hundreds of thousands of times. Here are just a smattering to avoid: