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Facebook Features 9/11 Conspiracy Theory as 'Trending' ( 251

Facebook is having a tough time with stories that trend on the social network. The company has been accused of gaming what it shows as "trending" on the site, and sometimes favoring things it showed to people. Not long ago, it fired the human editors who took care of it, but then earlier this month, a fake story about Megyn Kelly. It apologized for the slip, but it has happened again. The Hill reports: Facebook is taking heat yet again for its Trending Topics section after featuring a story from a British tabloid pushing a conspiracy theory that the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, because of a "controlled demolition." Facebook users who clicked on the "September 11th Anniversary" trending topic Friday were presented an article titled "September 11: The footage that 'proves bombs were planted in Twin Towers.'"
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Facebook Features 9/11 Conspiracy Theory as 'Trending'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 09, 2016 @06:03PM (#52858845)

    It says 'Trending' not 'Trending Truthful News Stories'.

    • Who says it isn't truthfull? It's more likely true than it isn't, especially with builind 7 which wasn't even near the twin towers and was 'pulled'.. now 'pulling' a builind like that with the precision it was demolitioned, takes weeks/months of planning, it just isn't possible to do that in a couple of hours... It really isn't....
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cold fjord ( 826450 )

        That is misinformation.

        NIST Releases Final WTC 7 Investigation Report []

        The extensive three-year scientific and technical building and fire safety investigation found that the fires on multiple floors in WTC 7, which were uncontrolled but otherwise similar to fires experienced in other tall buildings, caused an extraordinary event. Heating of floor beams and girders caused a critical support column to fail, initiating a fire-induced progressive collapse that brought the building down.

        In response to comments from the building community, NIST conducted an additional computer analysis. The goal was to see if the loss of WTC 7's Column 79—the structural component identified as the one whose failure on 9/11 started the progressive collapse—would still have led to a complete loss of the building if fire or damage from the falling debris of the nearby WTC 1 tower were not factors. The investigation team concluded that the column's failure under any circumstance would have initiated the destructive sequence of events.

        You misunderstand the quote:

        World Trade Center controlled demolition conspiracy theories []

        In the PBS documentary America Rebuilds, which aired in September 2002, Larry Silverstein, the owner of 7 WTC and leaseholder and insurance policy holder for the remainder of the WTC complex, recalled a discussion with the fire department in which doubts about containing the fires were expressed. Silverstein recalled saying, "We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it". "They made that decision to pull", he recalled, "and we watched the building collapse." Silverstein issued a statement that it was the firefighting team, not the building, that was to be pulled.[72][78][79]

        You might want to look into this:

        Debunking 9/11 Myths: Introduction to PM Expanded Investigation []

        And maybe: The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 []

  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Friday September 09, 2016 @06:05PM (#52858863)
    They have to compete with Slashdot. If all the birthers and truthers leave, who would be left here to promote stories and moderate?
  • That kind of crap is almost exactly what I associate about a third of my Facebook feed to, people love click-bait garbage and they love sharing it and debating it constantly

    Facebook trends actually match what trends on Facebook (and it's terrible,) surprised? No. ...I get a lot of use out of that mute feature...

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Friday September 09, 2016 @06:08PM (#52858881) Journal
    Either we want them to filter and judge or we want them to put what is actually trending which is a purely algorithmic assessment.
    • They're not using an algorithm, at least not yet. They just replaced their "liberally-biased" humans with other humans who approve of 9/11 truther stories.
    • I came here to basically say the same thing. It counts how often something is said and posts the most "popular" items. If it happens to be a conspiracy theory about 9/11 or a politician sharing penis pictures or flat worlders thinking trees used to go into space or some world news event then that's what people are talking about. (Three of those things make me shudder, can you guess which ones?) You can modify things to check to see if people aren't gaming the system (a small group of people posting the i

  • []

    People are fawning all over it. Of course, some cynics have struck back: []

  • Everybody knows that FaceBook users have no bullshit detector or they wouldn't be there in the first place.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday September 09, 2016 @06:20PM (#52858955)

    When the story broke about the political bias scandal, I posted here a prediction of what a purely algorithmic news feed would look like. This is pretty close to one of my predictions.

    Here's the problem: The internet is full of *lies*. It is very hard for an algorithm to tell what is true and what is not. Often the not-true stories are the most popular, because they can play into what people wish to believe. That's why you need human editors.

    Now all we need is some nice clickbait. Something like "This housewife makes $120,000 a year from home, see how she does it!"

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday September 09, 2016 @06:30PM (#52859005) Journal

      Trending now:

      "The Hidden Connection Between ISIS and the iPhone7's Missing Earphone Jack"

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Doctors hate what this man does with systemd, click here to find out why!

    • Reminds me of that AI that Microsoft put on Twitter [] a few months back that got turned into a Nazi within about 24 hours due to people messing with it. Unless you have a really intelligent algorithm, it won't take too long before a person figures out how to manipulate it. Some do so for their own profit like all the SEO stuff targeted at Google's algorithms and others just do it for their own twisted amusement.
      • The IRIS problem also comes to mind. A third-party Siri competitor - it was supposed to be a virtual agent similar in function, but not so tied to apple, and was fed with a knowledge base gathered by natural language processing whatever a web crawler could drag in. Unfortunately the web crawler stumbled upon a few religious sites, and assimilated all the information it found within - which resulted in people asking it for information about contraception and getting back a rambling rant about sin and natural

    • Here's the problem: The internet is full of *lies*. It is very hard for an algorithm to tell what is true and what is not. Often the not-true stories are the most popular, because they can play into what people wish to believe. That's why you need human editors.

      While this is true, IBM has made some impressive headway during the creation of WATSON in sifting out fact from fiction. They will need to employ the same types of algorithms to judge the truthfulness of things or just give up an go with humans.

  • Where is it written that FB must be a paragon of news excellence? Maybe we're better off if the place sinks to the tabloid level that the low-information debris that frequent the place prefer to see?

    If the choice is between crap tabloid "news" and left-wing/SJW curated "news" I honestly can't say which is worse or that I care to choose. Fuck it; leave the dunderheads to their poison.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Friday September 09, 2016 @11:16PM (#52860503) Journal

    An "Official Report" is not a Forensic Investigation that conducts various scientific analysis of the crime scene. The very fact that there has been no formal Forensic Investigation with evidence given from structural engineers and scientists on what was the biggest crime scene in U.S is evidence enough of some sort of conspiracy, regardless of how it was achieved.

    The laws justified after 9/11 were the very ones that enabled the type of police state monitoring of citizens that not just US, but many other countries like the UK, Canada, Australia and, others all endure today. Before 9/11 western governments had not passed laws to remove our freedoms (that terrorists hated) because adequate laws were already in place to deal with terrprism. Those laws were based on what was learned by the UK government dealing with the IRA's terrorism.

    Those two very obvious facts often go unacknowledged by 9/11 theorists and denialists because that allows them to (understandably) ignore the frightening reality that the laws justified by 9/11 moved western societies to an overt surveillance state. These two facts show us how and why, just not who could create such a conspiracy. Since time has revealed these laws to be in-effective at stopping terrorism that shows us who ever wants these laws to monitor us is very powerful indeed.

    I don't know the specifics of how the towers were destroyed, but I do know that the laws passed because of 9/11 left us in a police state.

  • Then it must be the one and only truth!
  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    God, the sheer fucking waste of human time with amateurs "analysing" this kind of crap.

    If this set of comments in any way reflects real-world proportions, we're fucked.

    Hey, everyone, Princess Diana was killed in a royal conspiracy! That was 19 years ago, let's continue to make up bollocks about that too!

    This is also my biggest problem with YouTube. If you have time to piss about editing hours of video and "analysing" it by looking at blocky MPEG frames, you really need to be given community service to get

  • Then lets play the same game and see if we can get this trending []

  • What's the problem? Why is Facebook getting slack because of this story? The story IS trending, and it IS true.... Because some people don't like the story, doesn't mean it isn't "trending".....
  • Not to put fuel in the fire but what is the official explanation for the controlled demolition style fall of building 7?

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351