08: The Facebook files, machine learning and fake news continue

Such is the nature of our continuously evolving subject matter, when we have completed a podcast, we often find that on key discussion points, there is already more, and breaking news.

Just days after recording our latest musings last week on the challenges and opportunities surrounding big-small data, with multiple references to Facebook and their attempts to counter fake news, the Guardian broke the story of the Facebook Files, based on more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts outlining the rules and guidelines for what its two billion users can and can’t post on the site.

This will add to the global debate about the role and ethics of Facebook and other social media platforms in public discourse. And without a doubt it will be a key topic of future SDF podcasts.


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07: How does Big Data convert into Business Value?

A topic that’s dominated our conversation in recent episodes of The Small Data Forum podcast is fake news and related issues.

In episode 7, hosted by Thomas Stoeckle in conversation with regulars Neville Hobson and Sam Knowles, we consider world wide web inventor Tim Berner-Lee’s call to action on what he sees as three big challenges for the web:

1. Loss of control of personal data;
2. Spread of misinformation; and
3. Questionable political advertising.


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06: Narrative versus fact – ‘asymmetric information warfare’

Episode 6 of the Small Data Forum podcast continues the discussion from our 2016 year-end edition, which focused on fake news, post-truth, and what John Naughton in the Observer called the ‘poisoning of our public sphere’.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, fake news was a main discussion point, with the Forum’s Global Future Council on Human Rights addressing governance issues around what is seen as an urgent matter of human rights.

In the UK, a parliamentary inquiry into fake news is under way, led by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. The BBC has set up its own unit to check facts and debunk fake news, technology companies such as Facebook and Google are driving initiatives to combat fake news in Europe, and Apple CEO Tim Cook recently stated that false information is “killing people’s minds“.


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05: Fake news, Google rankings and augmented intelligence

In episode 5 of the Small Data Forum podcast hosted by LexisNexis – our Christmas and year-end edition – Neville Hobson, Sam Knowles and I reflect on fake news and their distribution networks, the alleged gaming of Google search rankings, the promise of augmented intelligence and broad questions of how civil societies deal with the emerging and evolving challenges. Do we need more regulation? And who will regulate the regulators?


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04: Brexit, Trump and the challenge of better forecasting with better data

Our latest Small Data Forum podcast focuses on recent surprise political outcomes and the mechanisms at play: the psychology of predictions, the new phenomenon of fake news, echo chamber effects and the way data was analysed and interpreted.

Recent expressions of democratic political will – the UK referendum on EU membership, the US presidential election – have surprised most observers and commentators.

Both outcomes, ie Brexit and Trump, were not what most of the polling data indicated. This episode of the Small Data Forum is asking whether we should and could have seen this coming.


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