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Current Platforms’ Attempts to Curb Misinformation

In the wake of recent events, Spotify is one of the newest platforms looking to take a stand against misinformation. There has been a lot of talk about the Joe Rogan podcast and all of the awful misinformation he spreads and how terrible of a human being is. Besides being racist, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic, he also is not a believer in Covid-19, masks, vaccines, the whole nine. While he is not the only one, he is the biggest one on the platform and has caused a large debate on social media sites like Twitter. His “content” did catch the attention of Spotify founder Daniel Ek and his team. Over 100 episodes of Joe Rogan’s podcast have been removed for spreading false information and using awful language such as racial slurs. This also sparked a change in the platforms guidelines on the topic of Covid. As of Saturday, January 30, Ek and Spotify released their new rules and guidelines that include a content advisory with anything relating to the virus, and new ways to inform and give awareness to creators on the dangers of the content they decide to share. However, despite some slight effort, many Spotify users and people in general are not happy with this. The argument is that these rules are not specific enough and are basically just saying “hey this podcast talks about Covid, be careful what you listen to!” rather than actually stating “this podcast contains misinformation”. Specifically in regards to Joe Rogan, and especially amongst the communities he disrespects, they are very unhappy with Spotify as they are still allowing him to spew these awful things and pay him his $100 million contract rather than take a stand against harmful content. It is almost as if Ek is defending Rogan and taking profit over integrity. Immediately I’d suggest Spotify to just be clear and direct with their disclaimers. If something is complete bull- then say that, let your users know that they are listening to nonsense rather than allowing people to support certain people and their content.

https://townsquare.media/site/366/files/2022/02/attachment-spotify-ceo-daniel-ek-joe-rogan.jpg?w=1200&h=0&zc=1&s=0&a=t&q=89

The next platform I chose was Twitter. Twitter is probably the easiest platform to find misinformation. You can almost type in any topic in the world, and you will see something ridiculous, certain topics you can almost argue are about 50/50 with what’s real and what’s not. I feel like Twitter is definitely the toughest social media site to create effective guidelines to combat misinformation just with the amount of freedom there is on the app. About a year ago, Twitter unveiled their new system called “Birdwatch” that gave users the power to flag and report misleading or just incorrect information. This was definitely a good start for Twitter by giving us users the power to help out and flag tweets because there could be hundreds of thousands if not millions of tweets a day from all over the world about all sorts of things. However, this could backfire slightly as those who believe in the side of misinformation and those ideals, could use this feature to flag things they don’t agree with despite being true. Of course, Twitter should be able to see that good content is being flagged and will dismiss the report, but it still slows down the entire process of removing the bad things. Where Twitter has not been shy and has done a great job is being transparent about content no matter who it is tweeting. For example, when Donald Trump was throwing a fit about the 2020 election, Twitter had disclaimers stating that there was false information being spread by him and they ended up outright suspending and eventually banning him from the site as his rhetoric became too harmful.

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On Twitter’s help center they have an entire page stating the details of their policies on misinformation such as what will and will not get you flagged, how to report it, and the consequences of not following these rules. There are not a ton of ways I’d say that Twitter can improve on their efforts because I really think they do the best job in giving users the tools to report misinformation and they have made the biggest effort. However, one way I think they can take things one step further would be to not even allow tweets to be posted that directly go against their guidelines. Rather than allowing these tweets to go up and get reported and eventually removed, just completely prevent these from going up on the site. Perhaps even, if there are repeat offenders, after the second time they could receive a suspension and a third time could result in a ban from the site.

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Evaluating Misinformation Research and Tools

CNN Fake News Game:

Immediately this article will catch readers’ attention as they cleverly tie in the topic of misinformation with vaccines and the pandemic, which immediately caught my attention. The idea of the game was also extremely clever and honestly put a smile on my face as there’s a bit of reverse psychology going on within it. Jon Roozenbeek and Sander van der Linden, the game’s creators, give players the ability to create fake news headlines, memes, and other forms of media in exchange for social media followers. This is of course very much like what occurs in real life with these non-reliable pages that somehow gain and fool hundreds of thousands of people into following them. The goal of the game is that as users get better at creating fake news themselves, they’d be much more versed in spotting and avoiding it. The best part about this game is that they’re actually seeing results. With data comprised of over 15,000 players, they have found that people are better at spotting and not being fooled by fake news as often if at all. They are also taking more important steps such as creating a WhatsApp friendly version of the game in order to impact countries that are most affected by misinformation such as India. It’d be great to see them continue on with other plans to make a version catered towards the elderly and create it in more languages than they already have and continue to “vaccinate” people against the fake news pandemic.

After playing the game myself, I can definitely understand how it helps people identify suspicious media. It was an interesting game because there were clearly ridiculous options and there were some that were more subtle and believable which actually proved to be much more effective in gaining followers. The game forces you to interact with your followers and engage with naysayers online in order to save your account and its credibility. I also really enjoyed how the game forces you to challenge your morals and as I was playing, I thought to myself multiple times how I could never actually do this seriously. Overall, I think it’s a great idea and a very unique take on fixing this issue.

Business Standard:

The main idea of this article was super interesting to me as it somewhat contradicts. It states that those who trust their intuition more often are more susceptible to believing misinformation. This is an interesting idea to think about as it is almost saying that you are more likely to be wrong the more you trust yourself. However, this is hard to argue considering the fact that those who believe in direct, concrete evidence obviously hardly fall for fake news. The only flaw that I feel could be argued was their data size as there was a pretty vague gap of the sample size ranging from 500-1,000 participants. I also feel like this article’s interpretation and how it is consumed directly depends on which side of the spectrum you fall on. Do you trust your gut more, or facts more? I am firmly on the side of trusting blatant evidence that shows a definite answer and it almost surprises me that there are people who will look evidence in the face and just call it wrong in favor of their own thoughts. I’m all for intuition in the right situation such as maybe taking a risk in life or maybe making an important decision. However, nationwide/global topics are pretty clear to me. There’s been literal evidence for centuries that vaccines work, so I don’t really agree with someone’s “gut” telling them it won’t. Another interesting find was that those who believe everything they hear is politically motivated, were also more likely to fall for misinformation. This makes complete sense to me as anyone could find thousands of examples of this on Twitter as I type this. Facts are not politically biased, they just are plain, simple, facts. The last idea that was brought up in this study was that those who are more intuition based and feel everything has more of a bias/agenda behind it were more likely to fall for conspiracy theories. Now I will say I think more people than not have fallen victim to a conspiracy or two, some line up almost too good not to believe in a little bit. However, once again there seems to be a clear split theme. People who trust their own feelings over research are just more likely to fall for misinformation, false news, conspiracy theories, and all other forms of manipulative media.

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The Impact of Misinformation

The new social media age of our society has opened a whole new world for all of us. Despite all of the great things that have come with social media and advanced internet, there has been a fair share of negatives. In recent years, misinformation and the era of “clickbait” has become a huge issue on the internet and on social media.

I personally feel as though I’ve done a good job navigating through false information and doing my research when something sounds skeptical to me. However, this topic immediately makes me think of my grandma who has definitely fallen victim to misinformation online. Unfortunately though, it is nearly impossible to actually show and convince her that these stories are not real. She purchased her first smartphone about two years ago and created herself a Facebook account. Facebook is notorious for having the most outlandish rumors and false news on the site. Facebook has very extreme headlines and stories on both sides of the spectrum and it’s hard to believe really anything on there. My grandma being from Mexico and moving to the U.S. has a big part in this I feel. These last two years have been her first experiences with social media and the power of the internet, not to mention English is of course not her strongest language.

For more context she also has different social and political beliefs than the rest of the family that would maybe be called “old fashioned” so there are definitely many difficult conversations that come along when she is sharing and telling us about these obviously fake articles and conspiracies. Some examples of this being that Covid was man-made in a lab, the vaccine is going to kill us all, and the election was rigged. It’s difficult to have to say these things and face that this is what she believes when the rest of us are just the complete opposite. Plus, when you consider values in Mexican culture where grandma/nana is the superior in the family or is held to the highest of praises because anytime my mom or one of her other three daughters have tried to educate her they are automatically disrespectful and ungrateful. It’s a hard realization that this has all stemmed and only in recent years because of misinformation online and the effect social media can have on all of us. It is hard to even blame her too much she’s never had a phone or internet, or driven, or had a job in the United States. It’s overall just unfortunate that she isn’t as open minded as everyone else is or has learned to become.

Overall, I feel like my grandma can be seen as a prime example of how our older generations, or those less versed with media, can be impacted by misinformation. Anything can be said by anyone online and as unfortunate as that is, it’s the truth. I feel like the best thing anyone can do is try to explain to someone like this that not everything they see and hear is to be believed. It’s vital to do your own research and develop your own beliefs which can save many people from falling victim to these outlandish rumors and theories.

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24 Hour Media Diet: Spotting Misinformation

January 14, 9:00 a.m.: I woke up at 9 in the morning on Friday to have enough time to prepare for going to work at Starbucks. I will almost always start my day by checking social media such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. My Twitter is heavily consisted of sports news specifically the NBA and NFL, as well as all things The Weeknd (musician).

11:00 a.m.: My shift yesterday was from 12:00 – 5:45 p.m. and I usually shower around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. The shower usually consists of me either watching YouTube videos or playing music from my Spotify and today I played the new Weeknd album “Dawn FM”.

3:00 p.m.: These times vary anywhere from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. but on my ten minute break I will try to skim through Twitter as quick as possible. Yesterday I stumbled upon an article by cnet.com that discussed the differences between masks with the new Omicron variant. It compared the effectiveness between the surgical, cloth, and KN-95 masks and showed how the KN-95’s are almost our only chance and staying mostly protected. I read a stat that said cloth masks can prevent transmission for about 25 minutes, whereas KN-95 masks can prevent transmission for up to 25 hours.

6:00 p.m.: By now I’m finally home and usually once again do a quick social media cycle before eating dinner. My dad told me that California was considering cancelling the Super Bowl which would cause the NFL to move locations with Texas being the primary suitor. This led me to immediately check Twitter to see how valid this news was and I found out pretty quickly there was a rumor of this, but no real traction. Inglewood Mayor James Butts said there are no plans to move the Super Bowl despite rising Covid numbers (https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports/dont-worry-about-it-mayor-says-super-bowl-will-be-played-in-inglewood/2929883/). This story was a prime example of how social media can quickly skew information because one second the Super Bowl is cancelled and moving to Texas and just from a simple two minute search, this was proven to be false. Especially for someone like my dad who is not active at all on social media, it can be easy for him to believe something he heard without a second thought.

8:00 p.m.: I usually will try to end my night doing something I enjoy such as playing my PlayStation or watching YouTube videos. Last night I decided to just lay down early and watch videos before bed. I watched various YouTube content from gaming to reactions and fell asleep around 11:00 p.m.

January 15, 6:30 a.m.: This morning I had to go to work from 7:00 a.m. to put away the weekly order so I woke up just on time at 6:30 and immediately went downstairs to get ready to leave. I listened to music in my car on the way to work and made it right on time. Me and my boss finished putting everything away at just about 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.: Right at the 24 hour mark I mobile ordered McDonalds using their app to take home some breakfast for my family.

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The Importance of Athlete’s Investing in their Body.

More and more in recent years, it has become a very popular and common thing for professional athletes to spend hundreds of thousands to even millions of dollars on taking care of their body. From personal trainers, to chefs, to developing their entirely own method, the athletes who have invested in their health have seemed to be more successful in their sport and play for a longer time.

One of the most popular athletes of all time is NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is currently 44 years old and has been in the NFL for 22 years. An NFL player playing even into their 40’s is a rare thing. However, despite his age, he is still breaking records every week and each new season as he’s becoming the oldest player to produce high-quality numbers. Brady owes a lot of this success to his own “TB12 method”. Which is his own way of life including diet, workouts, recovery, and everything he does to stay healthy and play football at an MVP level, as he is doing again this season. When looking at Brady’s social media, he mentions his TB12 program very often and does not shy away from some self-promotion.

Apart from Brady plugging his TB12 regimen on his own Twitter page, he also has a Twitter account (@TB12sports) where much more specific information is posted on a regular basis.

Another athlete who has owed a lot of success to his investment in his health is Lebron James. It’s estimated that Lebron spends upwards of $1.5 million a year on chefs, trainers, masseuses, and high-tech recovery equipment such as his own hyperbaric chamber at home. Lebron James is often compared to a guy like Tom Brady because of the argument that they are the best at their respective sport despite being “old” for these leagues. Lebron is 36 years old and is in his 19th NBA season. Lebron doesn’t really discuss his regimen, but everyone around him does including his agent Maverick Carter and past and present teammates. This tweet from Alex Kennedy, chief content officer at BasketballNews.com, talks about what his agent Carter and two former teammates had to say about Lebron’s commitment to his body.

This video by Nonstop Sports’ YouTube channel also goes into great detail on how a multi-million dollar athlete like Lebron James is able to distribute $1.5 million on just his body:

With the success of athletes like Tom Brady and Lebron James, this should be a message to young pro athletes or aspiring ones of how important it is to take care of yourself. For most athletes, they have a very small window in which they are in their “prime” or are even in the league at all, and so being smart with your money and investing it into very valuable things like your health should be extremely important for these athletes.

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The Modern NBA: The New 90’s?

MCO Voice Recording.docx

This past offseason after many complaints from players and fans, plus a worldwide look at new officiating through the 2021 Olympics, the NBA has finally changed some troublesome rules.

Players have been accused of “foul baiting” for the past couple of seasons and the NBA has finally decided to make a change in the way the game is officiated. After seeing some of the NBA’s top talent struggle in Tokyo with the “FIBA” style of rules, many fans pressured the NBA to follow suit to make the NBA more competitive. This new style of officiating is now rewarding good defense and not letting the offensive players get away with an unfair style of play. This would include offensive players throwing themselves at defenders and pretending to take a shot in order to get free throws and points in a way that was very unrewarding and not entertaining to watch.

Many of the NBA’s top stars have struggled to start this season off such as James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets, and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. For example, James Harden is an NBA player who once averaged over 10 free throws a game but was the main player known for foul baiting. This season he is not getting nearly as many foul calls and he is letting it be known he feels targeted. This article by Sports Illustrated is just one example of Harden speaking about the officials. Damian Lillard is another NBA All-Star who’s stats have seen a substantial dip in production this season and he recently spoke out about the officiating calling it “unacceptable”, according to NBC.

However, despite lower production from a few of the NBA’s All-Stars, ratings have never been better for the league. Fans and players alike feel like it is a more fair, skill based game, and for some it is even reminiscent of the physical play of the 1990’s. Not to mention, not everyone has seen a dip in their stats. Stars such as Devin Booker and Stephen Curry have been playing up to their usual standard and seem to be adjusting to the new style just fine. Only time will tell whether or not these players will adjust and return to their All-NBA form, or if they’ve become too used to a forgotten style of play.

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The Legalization of Sports Gambling: Positive or Negative?

As of April 15, 2021, sports betting is now legal in the state of Arizona. This was an ongoing topic in Arizona and after four years, House Bill 2772 was signed. While this is a bit of a controversial topic because of the potential for addictive and harmful habits, the gambling will provide millions of dollars in revenue for Arizona. However, in addition to passing this bill, this article by gaming.az.gov explains how there will be assistance and a hotline number for those who may develop bad habits or avoid physical and financial harm.

There are among fourteen sportsbook options to choose from for those who wish to participate. Each of them provide their own offer to first time users, even as much as up to $1,000 on a risk-free bet to reel in future customers. For most people this seems like it could be something fun and exciting to do in addition to watching their favorite teams play. This is of course what it is intended to be, more of a hobby and way to make a couple of extra dollars here and there. However, many do not agree with the legalization of this as there is always a possibility that people get too caught up in hitting on a big bet which could lead to huge financial losses. As stated by modernman.com, there are many reasons why it’s a risky game to play with. Whether it be by lack of guidance, control, or just too much confidence, it can be easy to get carried away in the hypotheticals of how much money you can win. Sports betting is not an easy thing to do, most of the bets are unlikely to happen and that’s how you win big. One has to bet big money on something that is extremely unlikely to happen.

Overall, sports gambling has about as many pros as it does cons and I really feel like it comes down to self control and knowing your own limits. You should have some knowledge on what you’re putting your money into, how much you can afford to lose if it does not work out. I personally am not opposed to this law as it can be a great opportunity for anyone on any given day, but as most things in life do, there has to be limits.

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Starbucks: A Company Above the Rest

It has just been announced that Starbucks will be raising their starting pay to $15 an hour. This has been a longtime demand by employees of the company as staffing issues have increased across the country at a time where demand has continued to rise (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/27/starbucks-hikes-wages-will-hit-15-an-hour-in-2022.html).

Many employers like Target, Chipotle, and even McDonald’s have raised their starting wage to $15 an hour which has added a lot of pressure on the coffee chain. However, Starbucks has always offered amazing benefits, which has somewhat allowed them to get away with lower wage. These benefits include the SCAP program which covers the cost of tuition for ASU online students, free Spotify premium, Lyra – a mental health and therapy program, and the option to hold stock in the company.

Starbucks baristas making beverages
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While these benefits already set Starbucks apart from competitors, them deciding to raise their pay really puts them in a great position to gain a strong and eager workforce again. Along with baristas starting at $15/hr., they’ve also decided to reward long time partners for their commitment to the siren. Partners who have been employed for two or more years will see a 5% raise, and those with over five years will see up to a 10% increase. They are also keeping the same percentage different between baristas and shift supervisors the same at 27% according to this article by Marie Rossiter.

As you may have gathered, I myself am a fellow partner at Starbucks and could not be happier with the company. In the most unbiased view I can take, I feel like they are doing a great job in listening to us baristas who have the most firsthand experience in what goes on at the job. The benefits are some of the best of any company and that’s really what is allowing me to continue as a student here at Arizona State University. Now add in our wages being increased next year, this can only show that they really do hear us and listen to our input. This post has also made me realize I do not have any other photos of my job or of myself working and that I really need to try and capture some because they will make great memories for me in the future.

Thank you for reading my post this week, I hope it was informative and interesting and you will look forward to the next one.

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Post #1 – Why is Media Creation Critical to Media Literacy?

I feel as though media creation is important to media literacy because in our fast-paced world, we must continue to create to become more literate. Society advances every single day, especially in technology and our internet capabilities. This leads to more and more ways to utilize media and create amazing things in the world, as well as more opportunities for harm to be done. But overall, it’s a cycle we live in where we continue to become more advanced ourselves in media literacy and gain knowledge.

As stated by the source https://namle.net/resources/core-principles/, “media literacy builds and reinforces skills for learners of all ages.” I think this is such an important point to realize because those who are unfamiliar with media or haven’t had as much experience such as young children or older adults, are so susceptible to harmful areas of media such as scams, hackers, or viruses. Which leads back into why creation can be so critical. We’ve had media created to protect against these harmful things such as Norton Security or McAfee Antivirus, as well as search engines such as Google increasing their measures to protect their users against bad websites or unwanted pop-ups.

As stated earlier, it is so important for users of the internet and those who post their own media are knowledgeable about their rights and ways to protect themselves. Privacy and security have been on my mind more and more ever since taking MCO 425 in session A. I was a person who has always had their social media public, meaning all of my tweets, Instagram posts, Snapchats, etc. have been open for literally anyone to see and after learning more and more about the privacy we have/don’t have online, I wish I had never done this. In fact, I really had wished I could go back and not have posted much at all on top of being more private with my accounts in my younger years. Things on the internet as we know live forever, and I think this is something that is negatively affecting our younger generations because they can be so naive and oblivious to the internet with how they use it which can lead to really more harm than good in their experience. To tie this point back to media creation, I think it would be so beneficial and important for specifically social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook, to have a “child mode” or something of that nature. Much like parents can set on YouTube to limit and censor content to children, social media sites should have this ability as well. For example, this video from the site itself is a great resource for parents to use in order to set up parental controls for their kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Nf8GTIV4so.

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My Online Privacy and Security

After everything we’ve learned and discussed throughout this course, I am definitely reconsidering everything about how I approach the internet. Specifically, my social media accounts. I have since made all of my social media accounts private accounts because for years I’ve always just had open, public accounts. I now am in control of who follows me and sees what I have to say and post because even if someone is not following you, having a public account means your content is open to the world.

I feel like privacy and security is something that has always been in the back of my mind, but I’ve never fully thought about it or considered the benefits of being as secure as possible. Things on the internet can live forever, including the posts and photos that were uploaded a decade ago and that should not sit right with most people. Just considering the fact that there is likely images of you on Google of when you were a minor or photos you appeared in with your family and friends is enough to make me wish I had always kept tight security on my account. I think a lot of us in this social media era of society were just too young to consider these things and the harm that can come out of it because we were just more concerned with posting to our friends and looking cool in middle school. Like I had mentioned a little bit of in my extra credit assignment, ever since I graduated high school, I wish I had not posted so many pictures and not followed so many people online because the second we all graduated, we didn’t care about each other anymore. In our modern society we overshare so much, and this course has really put that into perspective how unnecessary it all is.

Social media for me is no longer posting what I’m doing or taking selfies as it used to be as I haven’t posted in probably over a year. However, I honestly don’t think I’ll delete my social media accounts anytime soon. My reason for that is so I can keep up with what I have interest in such as sports, certain musicians, and important news, and is no longer about what people I used to know are doing. I do think that if social media stays around for a lot longer that I will end up making brand new accounts with no indication that it is me. I will probably have no profile picture, a randomly generated username, and will likely never post or comment. In the nine or so years I’ve had multiple social media accounts I already feel like I’ve left too much of a footprint online that is of course not reversible. But I do have slight comfort in knowing that I can always private and deactivate my accounts to leave as little trace as possible of what used to be.

Overall, I feel like this was a great course to take to learn about many things we brush over every single day online. Too few of us consider the risks that come with having all of our business and information out in the open for anyone to see and even use. I’m glad I was able to learn some new things and gain new knowledge from the others in this course as to why our privacy online is so vital.

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