The origin of the Great Slate; loopholes in campaign finance regulations; and more.

    With Micah Sifry

  • A new study published in Science finds that false claims on Twitter travel “significantly farther, after, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information,” Brian Resnick reports for Vox.

  • Muting, that function on Twitter best for silencing annoying and overproductive friends and acquaintances without giving offense, has been floated as a compromise in the case of the Twitter users who say their First Amendment rights were violated when the President blocked them, John Herrman reports for The New York Times. It’s a rather mundane solution to a problem that cuts to the core of Twitter’s being. “The hearing was bogged down for a time as the lawyers argued over whether Twitter was more like a town-hall meeting, a convention, a speech or a private venue,” Herrman writes. “The word “metaphysical” was uttered.”

  • Tressie McMillan Cottom explains for The Huffington Post how online media abetted the rise of the racist right and emboldened its efforts to intimidate academics: “The internet allowed people with right-leaning, alt-right, right-right and nativist racist right ideologies across the world to converge on anonymous chat boards. They used the economics of online advertising to push their views up into mainstream media. They pioneered and practiced trolling techniques, running thousands of experiments until they figured out the most effective ways to intimidate and silence their targets.”

  • “I felt like a POW recording a message,” said a news anchor forced by Sinclair to read a message decrying the spread of fake news in the national media, Brian Stelter reports for CNN. “On its face, some of the language is not controversial. But that’s precisely why some staffers were so troubled by it,” Stelter writes. “The promo script, they say, belies Sinclair management’s actual agenda to tilt reporting to the right.”

  • A new Stanford academic study finds that in online classes, instructors are 94 percent more likely to respond to forum posts from white male students.

  • With online political advertising expected to hit almost $2 billion in 2018 (up 2539 percent from $71 million in 2014), Megan Janetsky of the Center for Responsive Politics surveys the landscape and reports that loopholes in campaign finance regulations make it likely that many of these ads will not include disclosures on who is paying for them or who they’re targeting. The Federal Election Commission is considering adding a disclosure requirement about who is paying for online ads.

  • Sarah Jeong profiles the Great Slate, the fundraising campaign started by Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski that raises cash for progressive candidates in Republican-leaning districts struggling to raise money locally. The campaign is a bit of a spin-off of the work Ceglowski does in his group Tech Solidarity to organize tech workers. At a Tech Solidarity meeting at Civic Hall last year, Ceglowski was raising money for a progressive working mother running for Congress in Pennsylvania, but since then he has focused less on pitching specific candidates to potential donors and more on conveying the overall intent of the project, which is to support grassroots political candidates across the board.

    Oh, and also, in addition to a windfall from nowhere and everywhere, but probably mostly the Bay Area, Ceglowski is also forcing the candidates he’s helping to improve their digital security, Jeong reports. He gives them all YubiKeys.

  • A former school superintendent pleaded guilty to perjury for lying about his connections to a tech company that won a hefty no-bid contract in his school district, Natasha Singer reports for The New York Times. Here’s the kicker: “A state senator and county representatives have asked the state to audit certain Baltimore County Public Schools tech contracts, “Singer writes. “The district continues to pursue large technology deals — with a $140 million contract for student and staff laptops awaiting a vote from the school board.”

  • The Interior Department is spending more than $138,000 on new doors for Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office, Anthony Adragna reports for Politico, pointing readers to records posted on Former 18F employee Kaitlin Devine wrote on Twitter: “Warms my heart to see  as the source for first Price’s private charters and now Zinke’s door. All you need is an overtly corrupt administration to prove the value of transparency sites like these!”