It’s up to us to kill false information. Good luck.

Individuals bear much of the blame for fake news. The study found that false rumors travel the Internet much more rapidly and widely than facts. These untruths get their velocity and reach not from celebrity influencers but from ordinary citizens sharing among their networks.

Evidently, we humans have a strong preference for novelty and sensationalism over scrupulous reality.

.. “Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information,” the MIT scientists concluded after examining more than 125,000 stories shared by more than 3 million Twitter users. The most viral lies, they found, involved “false political news.”

.. Politics is tribal. It is a way of organizing conflict.

.. We are inclined to credit anything we hear from our allies and to believe the worst of our foes. In politics we see information as potential ammunition; we evaluate it for its potency and lethality rather than its strict veracity.

.. the Internet smokes out our self-deceptions and shows us as we really are.

Gambling and porn flourish on the Internet. Reasoned civil discourse, not so much.

.. This is a profound blow to idealists of the marketplace of ideas. From Adam Smith to Friedrich Hayek to James Surowiecki, the author of “The Wisdom of Crowds,” wise thinkers have emphasized the positive economic effects of dispersed power. A great many people, free to pursue the wisdom of their experiences and the perspectives from their vantage points, will arrive — as if moved by an invisible hand — at better results than any single mind or central planning bureaucracy could achieve.

.. But it turns out that the crowd is wise only when it is asking the right questions. A crowd determined to get the best value on flat-screen televisions will soon discover the proper price; but a crowd swept up by tulips or cryptocurrency may find itself pricing euphoria instead of value.

 What we see from Twitter and other platforms clearly signals that too many people are asking the wrong questions
.. our ability to spread our careless and malign thinking is brand-new. Of all the digital-age jargon, perhaps none is more apt than “going viral,” because the contagion of bad information is a matter of individuals passing germs from host to host with geometric speed. Only disciplined digital hygiene can halt the epidemic.

Israelis cheered for Trump. But they may miss Obama more than they expected.

Policy vs. personality in Middle East politics.

Real policy differences over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran caused innumerable disagreements, many of them quite public. But during my time representing the United States here, I found that the caricature of universal Israeli hostility to Obama was overstated.
.. the arrival of a president who “at last” would support Israel unconditionally and not pressure the country to limit settlement growth or make concessions to the Palestinians.
Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, declared, “Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state.”
.. revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a two-state solution, with the support of key Arab states
.. With Obama, Israelis may not always have gotten everything they wanted. But they always got consistency. Obama held as a firm principle the idea that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security was unconditional.
.. relationship mature enough and durable enough to withstand such differences — but they needed to know that the United States was a reliable ally when it mattered most. And he delivered
.. they came to appreciate was Obama’s style of leadership: steady, thoughtful, knowledgeable.
.. he had the maturity, the discipline and the judgment to reach well-informed decisions that benefited Israel’s security.
.. The result was a period of unprecedented intimacy between our militaries and intelligence services.
.. I was struck by the depth of appreciation that senior Israeli military officers and intelligence officials expressed for Obama’s contributions to Israel’s security, often drawing a contrast with sentiments expressed by their politicians or the public.
.. Amos Gilad, a longtime senior defense official.. told me: “It’s easy to criticize Obama. But on the military front, the relationship was incredible.”
.. His unpredictability .. was already a source of anxiety
.. Israelis now have to ask which Trump will show up for work each day — the friend who pledges his loyalty or the adolescent who can lash out at allies such as Australia and Canada, and perhaps one day Israel?
.. His lack of knowledge, compounded by his aversion to reading and short attention span
.. His carelessness
.. shaken the confidence of the Israeli intelligence services in the reliability of the United States as a partner
.. indifferent to democratic values and institutions and enamored of authoritarian leaders is harming the United States’ standing globally, which is never good for Israel.
.. off the record, officials are beginning to acknowledge that something has changed.
.. erratic, unreliable leader?
.. David Ben-Gurion, gave President John F. Kennedy
.. The best way you can help Israel, Ben-Gurion told him, is “by being a great President of the United States.”

How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study

Mr. Tucker, who had taken photos of a large group of buses he saw near downtown Austin earlier in the day because he thought it was unusual, saw reports of protests against Mr. Trump in the city and decided the two were connected. He posted three of the images with the declaration: “Anti-Trump protestors in Austin today are not as organic as they seem. Here are the busses they came in. #fakeprotests #trump2016 #austin”

 .. The buses were, in fact, hired by a company called Tableau Software, which was holding a conference that drew more than 13,000 people.
.. “I’m also a very busy businessman and I don’t have time to fact-check everything that I put out there, especially when I don’t think it’s going out there for wide consumption.”
.. Mr. Tucker was replying to queries on Twitter about whether he had proof to support his claim. He confirmed in a post that he “did not see loading or unloading” but that the buses were “quite near protests at right timing.” That admitted lack of evidence, however, had little effect. By about noon, Mr. Tucker’s initial post had been retweeted and liked more than 5,000 times.
.. Mr. Tucker considered deleting his tweet about the buses, but Mr. Trump’s message emboldened him. “I figured if he were to say something like that, I might be barking up the same tree,” Mr. Tucker said.
.. rumor-checking website Snopes also debunked the claim that the buses were connected to any protests. None of this seemed to have much impact.
.. rumor-checking website Snopes also debunked the claim that the buses were connected to any protests. None of this seemed to have much impact.