This timeline is part of an ongoing project that will be updated.
Facebook users can now “Like” media pages on Facebook videos. The algorithms within the program alter and filter content in the user’s timeline. The viewer is now offered more media that is similar to what they “liked.” Increasingly, Americans on Facebook are being shown vastly different versions of the news.
Cambridge Analytica steals the personal data and profiles of 87 million Facebook users without their permission. Facebook freely gives the data, without verifying any information, to Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American academic and researcher working undercover for Cambridge Analytica. The data theft may prove crucial in the 2016 US presidential election. According to The New York Times, “The breach allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016.”
© The New York Times
Left image is an email from Dr. Kogan to Mr. Wylie describing traits that could be predicted.
Sales of products on Alex Jones’ InfoWars show reach $14 million per year. Infowars is considered one of the largest platforms for conspiracies in the US. Jones sells products that listeners will need for the coming Armageddon that he preaches: Super Male Vitality supplements, gun making tools, bullet proof vests and other products.
© The New York Times
The Trump election campaign hires Cambridge Analytica to help with data analysis during the runup to the election. Cambridge Analytica is the firm that stole personal data on 87 million Facebook members in 2014 so that it could launch “psycho-graphic” profiles of voters and predict their voting patterns.
Autocrats and dictators around the world are following Trump’s lead in calling journalists and news publications “fake news” to undermine and discredit their legitimacy. Monitors of press freedom say this has a very dangerous effect.
© The New York Times
Following the Parkland School shooting in which 17 were killed, YouTube announces it will ban videos that promote the sale or assembly of firearms. Previous to the ban, the Washington Post reports that YouTubers typing in “how to build a gun” received 25 million results.
Trump falsely claims at a news conference and on Twitter that talk show host Joe Scarborough murdered Lori Klausutis, a staff member who died 19 years earlier. Twitter refuses to remove the false claim despite requests from the woman’s family. A police investigation confirmed that Mrs. Klausutis’s death was an accident resulting from a heart condition and that Joe Scarborough was 800 miles away at the time of her death. Trump has a long history of attacking journalists but was formerly friendly with Mr. Scarborough.
Sean Hannity, Fox News highest paid personality, appears with President Trump at a campaign rally. After hugging Trump, Hannity denounces the rest of the press as “fake news,” and gives a ringing endorsement of Trump from the podium. The appearance violates all precepts of journalistic integrity and ethics. The New Yorker reports that Trump and Hannity are so close that Hannity brags about speaking with the president every night.
Sep. 27th, President Trump denounces as “fake news” The New York Times publication of two decades of his taxes showing that for 10 of 15 previous years he paid no taxes at all, or in other years only $750. President Trump, despite denouncing the reporting, refuses to release his tax returns.
© NBC News
The televised first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden turns into an ugly spectacle that breaks all norms of substantive political debate. The President incessantly interrupts his opponent, while Biden spends more time defending himself from Trump’s attacks than outlining a plan for America’s future. According to the Washington Post Fact-Checker, Trump makes more than 50 false or misleading claims, though Biden makes misleading claims as well.
Over the previous ten months, Trump sends more than 120 Twitter messages alleging election fraud to his 87 million followers. The president’s tweets undermine the faith of millions of Americans in the democratic process. Yet repeated studies have found no credible cases of widespread or organized election fraud in any US national election. Confirmed cases of electoral fraud in America are consistently much less than one in one million voters, frequently rounding to zero.