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Facebook is recruiting all of us to stop fake news and absolving themselves of responsibility in the process.
The Hustle Fri, Dec 16

Facebook’s fake news fix

Watch out Elon, Zuckerberg’s got a “master plan” to stop fake news. Well, a plan at least.

Over the past month, pressure has mounted for Facebook to come up with a plan to battle fake stories that dominate their news feed and yesterday, the company finally unveiled their strategy.

It involves a team of full-time myth-busters

Basically, Facebook is asking users to act as vigilantes and report questionable news stories, while it’s software looks for red flags in articles that are gaining steam.

Then, it’ll turn it over to four partnering news outlets: ABC, Politico, The Associated Press, and, of course, Snopes. It’s a veritable journalistic Justice League…

But never fear, according to The Verge, ABC News president James Goldston will be devoting his entire team of “half a dozen journalists who had been fact-checking claims during the 2016 election.”

So don't worry people, they’ve got like six guys on this one. Problem. Solved.

But seriously, let’s walk through the logic here

You’re telling us that a small group of human beings is supposed to physically go through millions of reported posts and remove every piece of questionable content?

Here’s an idea: How about they just kick everyone off and go back to only letting Ivy League kids use social media? The rest of us obviously can't handle it.


The economics profession has lost its way

That’s according to renowned economist and Columbia University professor, Jeffrey Sachs, who gave a passionate presentation at the London School of Economics this week.

He says the problem started centuries ago when economics took values out of the equation, thereby embracing “a profoundly flawed model of human nature and human purpose.”

What exactly does that mean? What’s he saying went wrong?

Sachs argues that economics has become a field “that doesn’t know where it’s heading” because it doesn’t know “what the good is.”

To put it another way, he isn’t confident that economists properly understand the common good (what benefits all of humanity) and as a result, are misguided in what they spend time on — and what message they send to the public.

Or, in his own words…

“Our problem is we don’t even know what we want to do as a society. My profession is pretty useless on this… because it spends its time on completely unimportant things and neglects the very important things.

It cannot be the most important issue in the world whether the US grows at another 3% of 3.5% or 2.9% a year, when over the last 65 years there’s been no discernible rise in wellbeing and lots of discernible worsening of social well being.”

This isn’t a new argument, is it?

No, not at all. People have been suggesting that economists fail to properly measure well being for years.

Yet, not much has changed thanks to a common belief — made popular by David “double chin” Hume in the 18th century — that one cannot possibly measure values based on facts.

Well, Sachs thinks that’s all a bunch of hooey and points to new data on what makes people happy as a reason to take the “economics of happiness” seriously.

It’s time, he says, to start weighing mental and physical health more heavily in the overall equation. It’s time to reconsider what matters.

It’s time to start addressing “the fundamental values that will help humans flourish,” not just the GDP and literacy rate trends that define them.


Sky’s the limit for Fox

After weathering scandals and questionable leadership, the Murdoch media empire is clawing their way back to the top of the mountain.

The family’s entertainment business, 21th Century Fox, made a power move this week, bidding $14.1B to control UK media company, Sky (of which it currently owns 61%).

*Cue Eye of the Tiger training montage*

Just a man and his will to survive

Gather ‘round kids, time for a brief history of the Murdochs. Back in the ‘60s, Rupert Murdoch turned his family’s small newspaper into a global conglomerate, buying up a slew of broadcast and print media outlets that became News Corporation.

And for decades, under the News Corp umbrella, publications like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and News of the World flourished. Yeah about that last one…

It doesn’t exist anymore

Fast forward to 2011, when the 168-year-old newspaper was forced to stop the presses after being exposed for hacking the phones of crime victims.

Things only went downhill from there; Rupert was declared unfit to lead the company and his son James stepped down as chair of Sky after his decisions were deemed “ill-judged.” Meanwhile, the internet proved to be a veritable Ivan Drago for newspapers and traditional media.

But, they’ve done their time and they’re taking some chances

Last year, the Murdochs began to fight their way back, with James taking over for his father at Fox and reclaiming his position at Sky. They also moved to officially split their struggling newspapers out from under Fox, to the joy of their entertainment investors.

Unfortunately, it may not be straight to the top. The TV industry is taking a hit from streaming companies and Sky is no exception. Their subscriptions are down and they’ve lost 19% of their audience in the past year for their typically lucrative football (soccer for the ‘mericans) broadcasts.

We’ll see if Sky is the boost Fox needs rise to the challenge.


You lie, DeVry!

Yesterday, the US Federal Trade Commission announced a $100m settlement with DeVry University over a lawsuit claiming they misled prospective students.

Apparently, DeVry — one of the most recognizable for-profit schools in the US — was “touting overly high post-grad employment rates and income levels” to attract applicants… and of course, make some moolah.

Can we get rid of for-profit education now?

Seriously, enough is enough. Just look at this streak we’re on:

Last November, Education Management Corporation (another for-profit giant) paid $95.5m to settle charges for “enrolling students through illegal means.”

A few months before that, Corinthian Colleges (a chain of 107 campuses) filed for bankruptcy after being forced to pay $530m for “trapping students into predatory private loans.”

Then, just this September, ITT Technical Institute shut down after the US Department of Education said they were failing to provide an education and saddling students with debt.

And oh yeah…

You know that guy we just elected president? He recently paid $25m to settle multiple cases against Trump University for deceptive advertising.

Look, it’s pretty simple — when students are viewed more like consumers, their interests are never going to be prioritized, just their wallets.

Can we just end the madness already?

friday shower thoughts
  1. If I get up 10 minutes earlier than usual, I treat it like 2 extra hours and end up late for work.
  2. I really should donate to Wikipedia.
  3. It’s startling how quickly we’ve gone from “Hater gonna hate” to “I’m offended, arrest them.”
  4. Those kids must have been pretty disappointed when they moved up a grade from Ms. Frizzle’s class.
  5. Every time I watch a scene from a movie of two people in a car, I always watch the background to see if they’re really driving or not.
  6. via Reddit
This edition of The Hustle was brought to you by
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