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HE’S FIGHTING QANON WITH SUNLIGHT

Author: Nick Fouriezos

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It was the third weekend of August, and an anti-sex trafficking rally was about to fill the streets of Salt Lake City. Except, late into Friday night, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes suddenly pulled the plug on the Saturday event. While it had originally been organized by legitimate nonprofits and government groups, its mission had been hijacked by the Arizona-based “Freedom for the Children” group — an organization whose founders traffic in the QAnon conspiracy theory that an elite cabal is secretly molesting children worldwide.

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Feb 5
2021 Samuel Butcher (Feb 05 2021 11:12AM) : This is a good opening paragraph. The author sets the tone and shows how serious of an issue this is.
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Feb 8
Mr. Harry Brake (Feb 08 2021 9:47AM) : Sacrficed more

What happens is that legitimate, informative events being lost due to the wrongful belief groups that buy into conspiracies, and no truth only. Sad.

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Feb 5
Alyssa Bardugon (Feb 05 2021 11:17AM) : Having family that actually believes in the Qanon movements like Save The Children, it is interesting to hear that they are delegitimizing actual causes to help stop human-trafficking.
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Feb 8
Mr. Harry Brake (Feb 08 2021 9:45AM) : Strange more

Agreed, weird they would hijack an event that is what they believe in fighting against, bit that seems to mean they want QAnon to truly be the only group having the spotlight – not the way to bring divisive issues to a conclusion, which seems not to be their goal.

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Feb 5
Anthony Soutor (Feb 05 2021 2:59PM) : Qanon more

This sentence perfectly sums up the idea of the far-right conspiracy group. An anti-sex trafficking rally is a really great way to use our democratic power as a people to protest the bad things in this world, and Qanon had to mess it up by hijacking the event and using it to push their own agenda. Qanon must be abolished, it is made from a nonsensical group of people who are unable to see reality. Those who believe in it are truly insane.

While that strange confluence of events may have surprised many, it didn’t surprise Lyric Jain, a 24-year-old, Cambridge-educated engineer who lives in the United Kingdom. In fact, his company, Logically — a news curator that uses artificial intelligence and other methods to tackle the spread of misinformation — had released an investigation a week before into dozens of similar child trafficking events that had been co-opted by QAnon for that same date. Its report included an interview with a Freedom for the Children founder Tara Nicole, in which she refused to deny that her beliefs aligned with QAnon, and the report made its way to the Utah attorney general’s office.

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Feb 5
Henry Frech (Feb 05 2021 11:22AM) : This article gives me hope that people can combat misinformation. As he says, there is lots of work to be done, but he's taking steps in the right direction.
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Feb 23
Micah Wedemeyer (Feb 23 2021 6:01AM) : How on earth is Q-Anon everywhere? A 4chan user somehow managed to create a cult of these vulnerable people who want to believe that they are special. It is absolutely mind-boggling.
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The incident highlighted the treacherous news landscape where both reporters and policymakers now tread, one in which even protecting children can be weaponized by extremists. But it also exemplifies the way fact-checkers can fight back in new and varied ways, with people like Jain leading the charge.

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Feb 5
Miles Brooke (Feb 05 2021 2:16AM) : Threatening Issue more

The author establishes the concern in line 7 and line 10 to show the danger of spreading false dangerous information and the threat of child trafficking.

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“This is one of a family of tools to fight real civic challenges — the polarization of the left and the right, the echo chamber phenomenon of social media,” says Joost Bonson, an MIT lecturer who co-taught the Developmental Ventures program in which Jain first developed his plan for combating misinformation with tech. “What’s even more important than his technical skills is his ability to attract and entice people to join into this compelling mission.”

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While just about everyone has been affected by misinformation in the digital age, Jain has had more of a front-row view than most. He was studying in the United States at the MIT Media Lab during a 2016 election defined in part by Russian attempts to manipulate the news cycle. Previously, he watched the Brexit vote from Britain — Jain notes that he was studying at the University of Cambridge, one of the highest “Remain” districts in the country, while having grown up in the rural town of Stone, which overwhelmingly voted to “Leave” the European Union in 2016.

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Feb 5
2021 Samuel Butcher (Feb 05 2021 11:13AM) : This article makes a lot of really good points, and the serious issue of misinformation in media. He uses his own personal experience and relates it to that.
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Feb 5
Miles Brooke (Feb 05 2021 2:37AM) : Personal Experience more

The writer is supporting his argument by using a personal experience of his own to express the concern of interpreting false news information correctly. In this case, it was for the better health of his family member to find the best medical treatment.

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Feb 5
Patrick Maxfield (Feb 05 2021 2:45PM) : It's interesting that he relates this idea to the Brexit situation going on in the Uk. There's a lot more parallels to the U.S. than first meets the eye. This personal experience definitely strengthens their claim.

But the real effect of virtual distortion was personal. Because months before Brexit, Jain’s grandmother died of cancer, in his view because of medical misinformation she had found online. “She believed somebody who told her to just, ‘Drink this juice, give up on your meds, and you’ll live longer,'” he says. That experience, compounded by Brexit and America’s 2016 election, led Jain to finally accept his fate — his original plan was to go to the “dark side” of finance, he says — and start working on Logically. “I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur [this early],” he laughs, adding that “there was just too much serendipity there.”

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Feb 5
2021 Milo Hohmann (Feb 05 2021 11:27AM) : This establishes Jain's drive to investigate and end virtual distortion, seeing how it had affected his family.
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Feb 5
Henry Frech (Feb 05 2021 11:27AM) : His family and his hometown have fallen prey to misinformation. His grandmother's health was affected by it, which reveals just how much we can be manipulated by stuff on the internet.
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Feb 5
Micah Wedemeyer (Feb 05 2021 11:30AM) : This idea of homeopathy has become dangerous across the world. Saying that some plants will help you more than effective western medicine should be a crime.
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Early on, the company was “fairly agnostic,” Jain says, waiting to see whether machines or people could better fact-check the world. Ultimately, they settled on a combination of AI (to review more than 500,000 articles a day) and fact-checkers, many with journalism backgrounds (for more specific tasks). As of last year, Logically had around 30 employees in the U.K., mostly working in data science and artificial intelligence, with plans to expand its mostly fact-checking staff members in India to 70 people after announcing a $7 million seed funding round.

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Feb 5
Henry Frech (Feb 05 2021 11:30AM) : Does the future of problem-solving rely on AI? It seems that they will play an integral role as solution-makers in the upcoming years.
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Feb 5
Miles Brooke (Feb 05 2021 2:41AM) : Establishing Credibility more

The writer shows examples and sources of how researchers have expanded their sources for better fact-checking and data credibility.

Logically examined global political content in 2019, finding that 12 to 14 percent of articles about the U.K. and Indian elections were unreliable and identifying tens of thousands of fake news pieces. During India’s state elections, Logically worked with the Maharashtra Cyber police and the state’s election commission to identify online disinformation that could lead to voter suppression.

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Feb 5
Miles Brooke (Feb 05 2021 2:42AM) : Statistics more

The writer uses statistics to show the examples of the spread of false information in elections in India and it’s orgins.

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In July, Logically entered the U.S. market with a fact-checking browser extension. It was followed quickly by a news curation app of the same name, which provides detailed summaries for storylines within articles and allows users to send their own fact checks of “any fact in any story” to the Logically team, which may then adopt the check broadly. “It’s been an ambition to be in the States right now — this election is like our cricket World Cup,” Jain says.

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Feb 5
2021 Samuel Butcher (Feb 05 2021 11:14AM) : I like the solution he gives and this certain news app that would be able to confirm the reality of the news.
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Feb 5
Miles Brooke (Feb 05 2021 2:33AM) : Solution to issue more

This news app can allow more accessible ways to fack check information and maintain credible news.

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Of course, all the fact-checking in the world can’t stop the spread of misinformation if people simply don’t want to change their views. “You can take the horse to the trough, but you can’t make them drink water,” Jain admits. He worries too that fact-checkers broadly are still “playing catch-up” as propagandists increasingly move from open spaces — like a public Facebook feed or Twitter — to more hidden platforms, such as Facebook Messenger or private groups, as well as encrypted apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.

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Feb 5
Miles Brooke (Feb 05 2021 2:31AM) : Solution more

It is difficult to regulate harmful information in today’s world because people and organizations can express their opinions as news in front of their laptops, without facing the consequences of their actions. Besides the presented solution by the writer, news sources must fact check and regulate what stories get national attention.

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“If we could say it was the same tactics and same actors at play, I’d be confident we have everything under control,” Jain says. “We have some idea the new tactics and new tools that are coming, but what we don’t know is what countries or organizations are hiding up their sleeve, perhaps for an October surprise.”

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That challenge will leave Jain fiddling for a solution, although the engineer and quad bike enthusiast has never been shy about tinkering. “I always liked building things and trying to fix them,” Jain says. Given the state of misinformation globally, he has a hell of a repair job ahead.

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Feb 8
Mr. Harry Brake (Feb 08 2021 9:47AM) : More than 1 more

It is great that one individual/agency is bent on making a change, others in mass have to agree to disagree and leave little room for anything being supported without true facts!

DMU Timestamp: November 12, 2020 20:50

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