False news spreads online faster, farther, and deeper than truth does — but it can be contained. Here’s how. – Sinan Aral

Sinan Aral, MIT Sloan David Austin Professor of Management

From Harvard Business Review

In March of 2018 President Trump’s tweets claiming that Amazon pays “little or no taxes to state & local governments” sent the company’s stock toward its worst monthly performance in two years. Trump had his facts wrong — and the stock price has since recovered — but the incident highlights an unsettling problem: Companies are profoundly vulnerable to misinformation spreading on social media. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media has focused primarily on whether false news affected the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But the truth is that nobody is safe from this kind of damage. The spread of falsity has implications for our democracies, our economies, our businesses, and even our national security. We must make a concerted effort to understand and address its spread.

For the past three years Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, and I have studied the spread of false news online. (We use the label “false news” because “fake news” has become so polarizing: Politicians now use that phrase to describe news stories that don’t support their positions.) The data we collected in a recent study spanned Twitter’s history from its inception, in 2006, to 2017. We collected 126,000 tweet cascades (chains of retweets with a common origin) that traveled through the Twittersphere during this period and verified the truth or falsehood of the content that was spreading. We then compared the dynamics of how true versus false news spreads online. On March 9 Science magazine published the results of our research as its cover story.

What we found was both surprising and disturbing. False news traveled farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in every category of information, sometimes by an order of magnitude, and false political news traveled farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than any other type.

The importance of understanding this phenomenon is difficult to overstate. And, in all likelihood, the problem will get worse before it gets better, because the technology for manipulating video and audio is improving, making distortions of reality more convincing and more difficult to detect. The good news, though, is that researchers, AI experts, and social media platforms themselves are taking the issue seriously and digging into both the nature of the problem and potential solutions. Read More »

Firma invitada La lógica Trumpista choca con la lógica de la nueva economía–Steven Spear

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Steven Spear

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Steven Spear

From Retina

En las primeras semanas de la Administración Trump, han surgido dos polémicas separadas con asuntos concomitantes. Una es la supuesta protección del suelo estadounidense frente a una amenaza extranjera, en forma de una muy polémica prohibición de los viajes a EE UU de ciudadanos de siete países mayoritariamente musulmanes. La segunda es la intimidación de Trump a los fabricantes para que aumenten la presencia de sus fábricas en Estados Unidos y la reduzcan en el resto de lugares.

Implícitas en ambas cuestiones hay dos visiones claramente diferentes sobre cómo conseguir una seguridad y prosperidad duraderas para EE UU. Una postura es que competimos mediante la localización y la acumulación de cosas: recursos, instalaciones, y el acceso a ellas. La postura alternativa es que una ventaja sostenida depende de la superioridad sostenida en la generación, identificación y aplicación de buenas ideas en un mundo cada vez más globalizado.

Según el primer punto de vista, “transaccional”, la competitividad se apoya en la conservación de la ventaja posicional y mediante la construcción de barreras que eviten que molestos competidores tengan acceso a mercados y clientes a los que uno ya está intentando atender y para evitar que los clientes actuales se marchen a fuentes alternativas de bienes y servicios. Puede que no sea una coincidencia que alguien que construyó su carrera comercial en el sector inmobiliario, caracterizado por el mantra “localización, localización, localización”, tenga esta visión de la competencia.

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Trump’s immigration ban is terrible for entrepreneurs–Samia Bahsoun

Samia Bahsoun, EMBA ’17

From TechCrunch

Donald Trump’s executive orders targeting Muslims, immigrants and refugees are moves that pander to the dangerous forces of racism and xenophobia.

These bans will worsen a worldwide humanitarian crisis, isolate us from our friends and allies, and make us even more vulnerable to terror attacks. Moreover, if these foolish actions are enforced, it will result in dire consequences for the economic well-being of our country. Immigrants of all races, creeds and national origins form a vital part of America’s economy as workers, job creators, and entrepreneurs.

I’m an immigrant of Lebanese Muslim descent. I’m also a telecom infrastructure expert, entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Capwave Technologies, based out of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Before launching Capwave, I helped restructure and launch several telecom startups and served as a strategic adviser to Fortune 500 companies. I hold a graduate degree in electrical engineering, and am currently enrolled in MIT’s Executive MBA program.

As an immigrant and successful small business owner, I’m living the American dream.

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Trump’s tax promise looks like just another of his tweets–Robert Pozen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Robert Pozen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Robert Pozen

From MarketWatch

Although Donald Trump claims that his forthcoming tax plan will be “phenomenal,” he is in truth not likely to propose something really new.

Before the election, Trump put forth a broad tax plan and then a narrower plan.  But even the narrower plan created a budget deficit of roughly $3 trillion to $4 trillion over 10 years, according to the dynamic scoring of the independent researcher Tax Foundation.  That steep increase in the national debt would present major challenges, given rising interest rates and much larger budget pressures from entitlement programs.

Soon after the election, President Trump lambasted the border adjustment tax ( BAT ) plan of the House Republicans. Then he began to be more favorable to the BAT because he believed — wrongly — that it would impose a large tariff on Mexican imports to pay for the wall.  In fact, the BAT would effectively impose a tax on all imports, which would probably be absorbed by importing companies and their customers.

So there are three main questions about what type of tax plan Trump could propose. 

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What Trump should do now that Andy Puzder withdrew his nomination for Secretary of Labor–Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

From Fortune

Now that President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder, has withdrawn his nomination for U.S. Secretary of Labor, America will avoid, at least for the moment, a highly divisive debate over the future of U.S. employment and labor policy. This gives President Trump an opportunity to reconsider the type of person he wants to carry out his agenda.

Will Trump choose someone who respects the mission of the Labor Department, which is: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”

Or, will he choose another candidate who will implement an agenda that weakens employment standards and enforcement; thwart efforts of women and men who are organizing to support low-wage workers, and deepen the divide between business and labor? If this is the direction of whoever gets confirmed Secretary of Labor, we will be revisiting last century’s labor battles and further divide the nation. Read More »