Stanford professor speaks on media and election politics

first_imgStedman said the U.S. climate of polarization and distrust was considered abnormal to those of other democracies. He said the upcoming election will be heavily impacted by dishonest advertisements, including hacking of candidates’ private social media accounts, campaigns and parties and paid advertisements that spread disinformation. Former 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, who dropped out Wednesday, spent more money on advertisements than all the other candidates combined in hopes of gaining more votes, according to the Washington Post.  Stedman said the Annan Commission did not investigate whether social media should be regulated or removed, but focused instead on evaluating electoral integrity on these platforms.  Daniel Mills, a sophomore majoring in political science and economics, asked Stedman whether the population can be educated and persuaded to reject biased, misleading political ads or misinformation on platforms. Stedman said that because the United States is polarized and the tactics have already been used by the Republican Party, there is no way to force the population to disregard certain ads online. Secretary General of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age Stephen Stedman discussed the hindrances of the internet age on the democratic election process and provided recommendations for steps the government can take to lessen the disruption of fair democratic election through media to more than 50 people at Ronald Tutor Campus Center Wednesday.  “I think [2020]’s going to get really bad,” Stedman said. “I think political advertising in this country until November is going to be a sewer … There’s a whole bunch of unethical practices out there concerning the digital space and political advertising.”  Facebook does not have strict guidelines for candidates and parties, Stedman said, which allows candidates and campaigns to promote anything on the website. Stedman also said the power of microtargeting is growing, meaning audiences with similar beliefs are only receiving information that affirms their own perspectives. Muyang Zhang, a graduate student studying aging services management, attended the event in hopes of learning more about U.S. politics as the 2020 election is approaching. The discussion helped Zhang identify the positive and negative effects of the digital world.  The conversation, which was moderated by Center for the Political Future director Bob Shrum and Global Policy Institute director Steve Lamy, elaborated on the findings from the Report of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age released in January, which detailed the impacts of social media in elections. The Annan Commission aims to protect the legitimacy of democracy. Its recent report shared data about new democracies globally and provided recommendations for governments hoping to protect democracy from the threats of technology, including misinformation and propaganda.  “If you are a country, like the United States, that has pre-existing high levels of polarization, has pre-existing high levels of distrust in institutions and has highly partisan traditional media, you are going to be particularly vulnerable to network propaganda, disinformation [and] hate speech,” Stedman said.  Stedman said the government should define political advertising rather than allow media platforms to create their own definitions. He added that the government should require the digital world to be transparent by making it easier for users to identify bots.  “Even with fact-checking, it’s not clear how effective [this strategy] is,” Stedman said. “Fact-checking doesn’t change the belief of somebody who is an ardent supporter … and if you are an ardent opponent of whoever is putting out the disinformation, you are already predisposed not to believe it.”  Stedman, a professor at Stanford University, said countries with high polarization like the United States were likely to face disinformation.  “We’re in a different age,” Stedman said. “What you can do with social media is much more potent than what you had in the past.” Professor Stephen Stedman (middle), the secretary general of the Kofi Annan Commission, discussed 2020 elections with USC faculty. (Vincent Leo | Daily Trojan) Stedman used Mexico as an example, explaining that its last elections happened alongside the invention of “Verificado,” which allows voters to send in questions with a hashtag to clarify the truth behind messages. “Media gives all people a right to say what they want, but because of this, more people may not know the truth but they still say a lot, so these words may confuse other people,” Zhang said. “There would be false news and true news. People need to figure out which one is true.”last_img read more

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Men’s volleyball splits series with No. 5 Hawaii

first_imgThe USC men’s volleyball team (3-11, 3-9 MPSF) upset No. 5 Hawaii (10-5, 5-5 MPSF) in a five-set battle (25-18, 20-25, 21-25, 26-24, 17-15) after losing to them in five sets on Monday. The Trojans were led by junior outside hitter Lucas Yoder. Yoder tallied up 21 kills and 11 digs while hitting .279. He also led the team Monday night with 16 kills while hitting .448. Senior outside hitter Alex Slaught recorded the second most kills on the team with 15, while sophomore opposite Jon Rivera recorded 11 kills. Sophomore setter Jack Yoder recorded 56 assists in the win and another 37 the night before.Junior middle blocker Andy Benesh led the team with five kills. Rivera and Slaught both recorded five kills. Senior middle blocker Tommy Leonard tallied up two kills. Monday night, Leonard led the team with six kills, while Jack Yoder put up four and Benesh tallied three. Towards the end of the fifth set, it was 14-11 Hawaii. USC managed to battle off that match point and score three straight points to tie it at 14-all. Hawaii recorded a kill to make it 15-14, but USC scored another three straight points to take the set 17-15. Slaught secured the win with a kill to finish out the set. This was the Trojans’ fourth consecutive five-set match, but the only one that the team has won in that span. This win against the Rainbow Warriors broke USC’s three match losing streak.There were a total of 27 tie scores throughout the match, but only eight lead changes. Twelve of the tie scores came in the fourth set, which the Trojans won 26-24.Despite being out-blocked 16.0 to 8.5, the Trojans still out hit the Rainbow Warriors .245 to .238. USC also recorded two more kills than Hawaii, 63 to 61. USC also recorded more digs than Hawaii, 49 to 39. The win against the Rainbow Warriors finished up USC’s week long 4 match homestand. The Trojans won’t play another match until they face off at No. 10 UC Santa Barbara next Wednesday, February 24th. USC’s next home match will be the following Saturday when they host No. 3 UCLA.last_img read more

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