Posts Tagged FOX

1 person = 2.5 million people. 6 fans = 1.6 million fans.

One quick post before I go to London for the weekend.

Today’s Daily Mail carries the story “More than 2.5m Muslims threaten to leave Facebook after four Islamic pages are taken down“. Really? 2.5 million Facebook users all co-ordinated as one? Bearing in mind how long it took for the Guinness World Record group to reach 1,000,000 users, 2.5 million users all coming together in a few days to demand anything seems a bit unlikely.

So have 2.5 million Muslims demanded anything? Well, no. Four pages were closed for spamming. Then someone – presumably an admin of one of the groups – sent another spam message across Facebook claiming to represent 2.5 million Muslims, all of whom were so incensed by the deletion that have threatened to move to Medina.com (a fundamentist Muslim social networking site). Quite where this figure comes from isn’t clear in the Daily Mail report. There aren’t 2.5 million Muslims threatening to leave Facebook, there is one. Fox News claims that this is the sum of the number of fans the pages had… except that that’s just as big a lie. For instance, they take at face value the claim the deleted page http://www.facebook.com/Rassoul.Allaah (now deleted, obviously) had 1.6 million fans, making up the bulk of this 2.5 million. In fact a quick peek into Google’s cache shows it had 6 fans. Glad to see hard-hitting investigative journalism isn’t dead.

Basic maths: 6 < 1,600,000

So the net result of all this is that an obscure social networking site got some free advertising, Facebook got a chance to act tough (this story comes the day after they announced the Paedophile Panic Button, after all), and the Daily Mail and Fox News get yet another chance to portray social networks as an ill thought out flash in the pan, and all Muslims as an unthinking hivemind who complain whenever they don’t get their way (the right wing press’s favourite representation of any oppressed minority). Good job.

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Every press release is sacred

The Independent, The Mail, Metro, Sky News, CBS News, ABC News, FOX News, TIME, Newsweek and The Hindustan Times, among many others, have all carried in the past few days some variant on the following:

[A] dating site with a strict ban on ugly people, has launched a virtual sperm and egg bank for people who want to have beautiful babies.

By “an online sperm and egg bank”, what they actually mean is a forum on their site to let people exchange details and get in contact with donation clinics. Now, as you can probably imagine, there are a whole host of ethical, legal and logistical difficulties behind this, and you’d think this would make some interesting copy. How can a public forum respect donor anonymity laws? What prevents people from passing off other people’s gametes as their own? What stops people from using the service to send sperm directly from donor to recipient, which carries with it all kinds of disease risks?

And more to the point, what’s new? Solicited gamete donation has been around for decades (just ask the LGBT community), and most countries with legal donation frameworks permit the recipients to choose based, to a greater or lesser extent, on the donor’s appearance. So why is every news outlet reporting this as some sort of groundbreaking news?

Well, there was a press release.*

Read the rest of this entry »

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