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Facebook conspiracy theorists fooled by even the most obvious anti-science trolling: study

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Anti-science conspiracy theorists are so credulous they can’t determine when they’re being purposefully duped, according to a new study.

A team of Italian and American researchers tested the social media biases feeding belief in conspiracy theories such as chemtrails, shape-shifting reptilian overlords, and the Illuminati, reported Motherboard.

The researchers found that adherents to conspiracy theories are highly receptive to claims that support their views and rarely engage with social media pages that question their beliefs.

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The ongoing measles outbreak linked to unvaccinated children has exposed one danger posed by hostility toward science, which is promoted in large part through social media.

The World Economic Forum last year identified “digital misinformation” alongside terrorism, cyber attacks, and global governmental failure as threats to modern society.

Social media allows this misinformation to be transmitted and amplified as users gather around shared beliefs, interests, and worldviews – whether or not factual evidence supports those belief systems.

The researchers examined social media patterns for 1.2 million Facebook users and found that nearly 92 percent of those who engage with Italian conspiracy theory pages interact almost exclusively with conspiracy theory pages.

The study also found that conspiracy theory posts are much more likely to be shared and liked by Facebook users.

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The researchers then tested the strength of these users’ biases by posting “troll information” – or sarcastic comments parodying anti-science views – on Facebook.

“These posts are clearly unsubstantiated claims, like the undisclosed news that infinite energy has been finally discovered, or that a new lamp made of actinides (e.g. plutonium and uranium) might solve problems of energy gathering with less impact on the environment, or that the chemical analysis revealed that chemtrails contains sildenafil citratum (the active ingredient of Viagra),” the researchers said.

They found that 78 percent of those who “liked” these 4,709 troll posts interacted primarily with conspiracy theory pages, as were 81 percent of those who commented on them.

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The researchers also noted that anti-conspiracy theorists often wasted “cognitive resources” pushing back against these unscientific “troll” claims, even when they were “satirical imitation of false claims.”


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‘We are leaderless right now!’ Trump supporters despair that he’s doing nothing as riots erupt across America

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Several supporters of President Donald Trump are very upset that he is not doing enough to crack down on the violence that has swept the country ever since the killing of George Floyd last week.

As reported by the conservative Daily Wire, many conservatives who have otherwise been supportive of Trump are growing exasperated that he spent the weekend hunkered down in the White House and only sending the occasional angry tweet.

"Does Trump have dementia or something?" asked pro-Trump political pundit Mike Cernovitch. "Because sitting on his fat ass right now isn't the right move."

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2020 Election

Desperate and ‘out-of-control’ Trump might prompt violent insurrection to stay in office: columnist

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Writing for the Daily Beast, columnist Michael Tomasky made a strong case that Donald Trump has removed any doubt that he is "morally unfit" to be president and, faced with the possibility he may not be re-elected, could resort to encouraging his followers to take up arms in his defense.

"Naively, I always thought that even Donald Trump would stop short of actually inciting violence. I mean, he’s the president of the United States," Tomasky began before adding, "History means nothing to him, and the future means even less. Presidents—all presidents, even ones I didn’t like—think about the office, the future implications of their actions, the future of our institutions."

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Protests around the world: This time it’s different

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A profound, historical difference separates the protests across America the past six days from past eruptions of anger over police violence against black men and women. It’s a difference that isn’t showing up news reports, televised or print even though it’s quite apparent.

The differences are where these demonstrations are taking place and who is protesting,

In Los Angeles, the demonstrators were not in the poor and historically black neighborhood known as Watts, but in Beverly Hills and the city’s prosperous West Side. Many of those demonstrating were white. In some places a majority were white.

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