Aug 20, 2019
Patrick van Kessel (@pvankessel) is a senior data scientist at Pew Research Center, specializing in computational social science research and methodology. He is the author of studies that have used natural language processing and machine learning to measure negative political discourse and news sharing behavior by members of Congress on social media, and is involved in the ongoing development of best practices for the application of data science methods across the Center. Van Kessel received his master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago, where he focused on open-ended survey research and text analytics. He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Pew Research Center, he worked at NORC at the University of Chicago as a data scientist and technical advisor on a variety of research projects related to health, criminal justice and education.
Many Turn to YouTube for Children’s Content, News, How-to Lessons by Aaron Smith, Skye Toor, and Patrick van Kessel
In a tweet Monday, President Trump cited a debunked study to claim that Google manipulated between 2.6 million and 16 million votes. Even the author of the study Trump cited, Robert Epstein, a psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, said the president’s claim was false. Here’s the president’s tweet: “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Epstein says the report showed bias but not that Google manipulated votes. The report has been discredited many times since its release in 2017.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says he wants to hold tech companies accountable for hate speech, despite the fact that Section 230 shields tech companies from liability for content posted by third parties. The proposal is part of a sweeping gun reform proposal O’Rourke released and looks to connect the dots between online radicalization and real-world violence.
The Federal Communications Commission is considering designating the digits 988 as a national suicide prevention and mental health hotline. The proposal was laid out in a Joint Report to Congress last week by the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and analytics. It’s endorsed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
A class of LGBTQ+ content creators is suing YouTube for allegedly discriminating against their content. The complaint states that YouTube concealed their content, limited their subscribers, and thwarted their ability to sell ads, according to The Hill. The case is filed in the Northern District of California, San Jose division. YouTube says their algorithms don’t demonetize or discriminate against content posted by the LGBTQ+ community.
Facebook and YouTube announced Monday that China has been using the platforms to spread misinformation about the uprising in Hong Kong. Twitter says it found 936 accounts originating from China that Twitter found were designed to spread discord in Hong Kong. Prompted by Twitter, Facebook found seven pages, three groups and five accounts spreading misinformation which collectively boasted some 15,000 users. Some 200,000 accounts were active in spreading misinformation, according to Facebook. Facebook said it’s striving to continually improve. Twitter suspended the accounts.
Finally, The FCC has a proposal on circulation that would increase oversight of the Lifeline program—the federal subsidy for broadband that offers users $9.25 per month to help defray the cost of broadband in low-income households—according to a report in The Hill. The FCC is zeroing in on “waste, fraud and abuse” it says pervades the program. An FCC Inspector General report found Lifeline subsidies were going to some 50,000 deceased individuals.