paper trail

PEN USA Literary Award winners announced; Facebook's fake news problem is global

Solmaz Sharif. Photo: Arash Saedinia

Agatha French reports on the PEN Center USA Literary Awards, held last week in Los Angeles. Winners included Solmaz Sharif’s Look for poetry, Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air for creative nonfiction, and Martin Pousson’s Black Sheep Boy for fiction. Presenter Nick Offerman noted that if anyone wanted to call the president “an incompetent, degenerate boob,” or “a cartoon slug made of Cheeto dust,” that PEN “will fight for your ability to do so.”

Bloomberg looks at Facebook’s inability to control the spread of fake news on its social media site. Although the company has implemented a fact checking program and started marking news deemed to be from untrustworthy sources, progress has been slow. Aaron Sharockman, executive director of PolitiFact, one of the organizations partnering with Facebook to provide fact checking, said that marking each article as “disputed” takes too long to have an impact. “By the time we’ve done that process it’s probably living in 20 other places in some way, shape or form,” he said. The New York Times reports that Facebook’s fake news problem is global. From Myanmar, where photoshopped images have helped spread anti-Rohingya messages, to India, where hoaxes and fake news are shared on Facebook-owned WhatsApp, “people are dying, and communities are tearing themselves apart with the tools Facebook has built.”

Fitzcarraldo Editions has acquired the rights to Patrick Langley’s next novel, Arkady.

Simon & Schuster has published Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, available in a mass-market hardcover for $16.99 or as a limited-edition signed copy for $2,500.

Warner Bros has announced a release date for Crazy Rich Asians, an adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel. The movie, starring Constance Wu, will be released next August.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales explains his new project, Wikitribune. Wales writes that the site is not yet a news service. Instead, “this is the launch of a project to build a news service. An entirely new kind of news service in which the trusted users of the site – the community – is treated as completely equal to the staff of the site – also the community.”

The Daily Beast talks to Katia Kelly, Matt Termine, and Julian Russo, Brooklyn-based bloggers whose investigations into the owner of a derelict building in Carroll Gardens contributed to Paul Manafort’s indictment. After Kelly wrote a post on her blog, Pardon Me for Asking, wondering about the brownstone, Matt Termine and Julian Russo looked through public records in their freetime and “uncovered a series of unusual loans” that led to Manafort, the building’s owner. “I think it’s very exciting if not too surprising,” Russo said about the charges filed earlier this week. “This feels today like sort of a climactic culmination of all this time we spent along with other people we connected with through our website.”