Fake News & Its Discontents: #Pizzagate Has Real-Life Consequences

Beyond Social Media Show, Episode 167

BL and David discuss Facebook’s blocking of a fake news detector; the real-life consequences of the fake news “#Pizzagate” story; Uber’s customer tracking; Reddit’s demise at the hand of trolls; LiLou, SFO’s therapy pig (and Instagram star); Netflix’s alien-identifying algorithm; the Local Matters watchdog journalism newsletter; Amazon’s employee-free retail store; BMW’s self-policing cars; the best 2016 Christmas ads; the Reuters News Tracer breaking news algorithm; My Starbucks Barista Bot; Google’s emoji-responding Twitter account; Amazon’s new checkout-free store; and much, much more.

Worst Digital Cases

Facebook’s Fake News Fakeout

In a fable for our times, Facebook blocks a fake news blocker. TechCrunch reports on it without checking facts and creates a fake news story.

The Consequences Of Fake News For Companies

The bizarre “Pizzagate” story illustrates the real world consequences of fake news promoted online. The Comet Ping Pong pizzeria had a conspiracy theorist gunman discharge his weapon in the restaurant as he was “self-investigating” a false story he’d read online. How does an innocent company like Comet Ping Pong respond to the new reality of fake news?

Twitter account of seven-year-old Syrian girl documenting horrors of war in Aleppo falls silent and then returns

7 year-old Bana al-Abed, with the help of her mother Fatemah, had been documenting her experience of the war, tweeting as she watched the city she loved being destroyed around her. The account went silent on Dec 5. But it came back on Dec. 7 to say the girl is wounded, but ok.



Reddit has always been the social media site where the inmates ran the asylum but its leadership’s indifference to racist trolls may be its undoing. The site is a case study in the mismanagement of a community.

Uber Tracks You Before & Even After the Ride is Over

Uber begins tracking user location from when ride is requested until five minutes after it is over; claims the surveillance will improve service by helping drivers find riders and making sure drop offs are being done correctly. Seems creepy!


Best Digital Cases

LiLou, The Therapy Pig

The San Francisco International Airport has added another member to its Wag Brigade that helps to chill travelers: LiLou, a Juliana-breed therapy pig. LiLou is big on Instagram.


#Lilou the pig made her debut today as the newest edition to the #SFO #wagbrigade

A video posted by SFO International Airport (@flysfo) on


#sfo #wagbrigade sighting!

A photo posted by lg (@foolscircle) on

Netflix & Stars – Netflix Could Help Identify Life-Supporting Planetary Systems

Netflix employs an algorithm that helps its users discover movie options, and now it’s about to help discover new planetary systems that might support life. ET Phone Home!

Local Matters

Get the best of local watchdog news curated by three journalists and delivered to your inbox every Sunday.

Amazon Go – Amazon’s cashier-free convenience store

At Amazon GO in Seattle there are no lines, no registers, no self-checkout machines. Shoppers just grab the items they want and leave; the order gets charged to their Amazon account afterwards.

BMW’s Self-Policing Car

The Seattle Police Department enlisted the help of BMW in locating a stolen car and locking the perp inside.

Best Christmas Ads of 2016

John Lewis Christmas Ad Campaign #BusterTheBoxer and Allegro Auction House’s touching ads have racked up millions of views, with weeks to go before Christmas.

Reuters’ Breaking News Algorithm

Reuters has developed a tool capable of automatically detecting and verifying breaking news on Twitter, in an attempt to report on events more rapidly and accurately.

Starbucks unveils “My Starbucks Barista” AI Chatbot for mobile users

Starbucks will join the growing wave of companies using artificial intelligence and chatbots to supplement human employees, planning to unveil today what it calls an “innovative conversational ordering system” for its mobile app called “My Starbucks Barista.”

@Google Responds To Emoji Tweets

The Google Twitter account will give you local search results for pizzerias near you when you tweet a pizza emoji at it.

Shiny New Stuff

Answer the Public – consumer insight tool for PR, marketing, SEO

Search on keywords and get content related to them, presented in visual format.

Press Halo

Ai press release distribution service that matches your releases with journalists’ beats and learns over time

Amazon Echo Skills Directory

You can browse, search for, and install Alexa skills to your Echo right from Amazon’s site.



The Daily Numbers


David Erickson

B.L. Ochman

Beyond Social Media Show