10-23-2019  1:38 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State Ecology Director Objects to EPA’s Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Ecology Director Maia Bellon submitted formal objections in which she calls the proposal ill-advised and illegal

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

NEWS BRIEFS

U.S. Census Bureau Hosts Job Recruitment Events in Portland

There are several opportunities to ‘Meet the Employer’ today through Saturday for more information or to apply for 2020 census...

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Woman sues Oregon clinic over claims of past abuse by doctor

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman who says she was repeatedly sexually abused by her pediatrician has filed a jumi million lawsuit against the doctor's former medical clinic in Oregon.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday that the woman says the abuse occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s at...

Police: Body found is missing university student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a body found near the St. Johns Bridge in Northwest Portland is a missing University of Portland freshman.Police on Tuesday evening said that the medical examiner's office had conducted an autopsy and positively identified the body as Owen...

AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps Clemson to 3rd; Wisconsin falls

Ohio State edged past Clemson to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wisconsin dropped to 13th after being upset ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.Alabama remained No. 1 on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 24 first-place votes. No. 2 LSU held...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Trump claim brings new pain to relatives of lynching victims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Willie Edwards Jr., a black truck driver, was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen who forced him to jump off a bridge in Alabama in 1957. Two years earlier, white men had bludgeoned black teenager Emmett Till to death in Mississippi. No one went to prison for either...

Farewells to US Rep. Elijah Cummings to begin in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) — Constituents, friends and other mourners are set to gather at a historically black college in Baltimore to honor the life of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in the first of a series of planned services.The Maryland congressman and civil rights champion died Thursday of...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most unusual places, trying to win over Hispanic voters in states not known for them, like Pennsylvania.His second campaign, far better financed and organized than his first, is pressing every...

ENTERTAINMENT

Liam Gallagher talks solo rise, family feud and rock music

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spend a few minutes with Liam Gallagher and it's clear the rocker hasn't lost any of his bravado, right down to counting himself among the greats in rock history.But Gallagher does acknowledge that one band breakup — not, Oasis, but rather the demise of Beady Eye in...

Lori Loughlin, other parents charged again in college scheme

BOSTON (AP) — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband and nine other parents faced new federal charges Tuesday in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities or cheating on college entrance exams.A...

Celebrities to get drag makeovers in RuPaul's new VH1 series

LOS ANGELES (AP) — RuPaul is giving a dozen celebrities the chance to get drag makeovers for charity and bragging rights.VH1 said Tuesday that "RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race" will air as a limited series next year.Each of the four episodes will feature a trio of stars competing for best drag...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

CHICAGO (AP) — Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope — the very symbol of the medical...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most...

UK prime minister mulls early election over Brexit impasse

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears to be pushing for an early general election...

Botswana votes as ruling party faces surprising challenge

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Polls opened in Botswana on Wednesday as the long-peaceful southern African...

Canada's Trudeau wins reelection but faces a divided nation

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins his second term facing an increasingly divided...

Trump finds no simple fix in Syria, other world hotspots

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's plan to reverse America's involvement in "endless wars" has run...

McMenamins
Elizabeth Landau, CNN

(CNN) -- With nearly 1 billion users, Facebook has clearly become a feature of many people's lives worldwide. A new study suggests that the social network has the potential to get hundreds of thousands of people to engage in a single behavior -- namely, voting.

Researchers report in the journal Nature that one Facebook message may have gotten 340,000 additional people to the polls for the 2010 United States Congressional elections.

The team, led by James Fowler, professor at the University of California, San Diego, designed the experiment with the cooperation of Facebook. Cameron Marlow of the data science division of Facebook collaborated on the study, too.

"This really, I think, is the first study to show that online social networks can affect these real-world behaviors at a scale that's potentially important," Fowler said at a news briefing Tuesday.

Fowler and Harvard's Dr. Nicholas Christakis are prominent in social network research; their book "Connected" gathers copious research on how a myriad of behaviors spread from person to person. For instance, you may be happy as a result of your friend's happiness and your friend's friend's happiness. Bad habits such as smoking can also spread in this way.

"The network is key," Fowler said. "If we want to make the world a better place on a massive scale, we should focus not just on changing a person's behavior, but also on utilizing the network to influence that person's friends," he said.

This study's scope was huge: more than 60 million people received a statement on the top of their News Feed that encouraged them to vote and offered a link for finding polling locations. The item also displayed a clickable "I Voted" button, a counter showing how many other Facebook users also said they voted, and the profile pictures of up to six randomly-selected Facebook friends who had also clicked "I Voted."

There were two other groups: about 600,000 people saw all of the above with out the pictures of Facebook friends, and an additional 600,000-some didn't receive the message in their News Feeds at all. All participants were randomly assigned.

People who got messages were more likely to vote than those who did not, the researchers found -- in fact, the percentage difference between the groups in the experiment suggests that an additional 60,000 people were motivated to vote as a result of the message.

Seeing the photos of Facebook friends as part of the message appears to be critical in getting people to vote, the researchers found. Users who got the message without photos were no more likely to vote than people who didn't get any message. But those who got the message with pictures had higher voting rates.

"The messages not only influenced the users who received them, but the user's friends, and their friends of friends as well," Fowler said.

Moreover, the friends of the people who saw the messages were also more likely to vote than friends of participants who didn't see the messages, Fowler said. Multiplying this effect per friend by the number of friends by the number of people who saw the message, researchers determined that 280,000 additional votes were cast. All of these resulted from ties in the social network, not the message itself, Fowler said.

Close friends -- with whom Facebook users likely have a face-to-face relationship -- were extremely influential in this contagion of voting, the researchers found.

How do we know that these 340,000 people wouldn't have voted anyway?

Fowler compares this to a drug trial, in which some people get randomly assigned a medical treatment or a sugar pill. If the people in the treatment group tend to show more positive effects than the control group, that means the drug may cause a positive effect.

Researchers didn't just rely on the self-reported information on Facebook about who voted, they also used publicly available voting records. It appears that 4% of people who said they voted on Facebook did not actually vote.

The effect of the message appears to be nonpartisan: As many Democrats as Republicans seem to have gone to the polls as a result of the message, Fowler said, although many people do not state their affiliations on their Facebook profiles.

There are still unanswered questions about the implications of this research, however. It's not clear whether age is a factor in who voted. Researchers have yet to explore other characteristics of people who are most influenced by Facebook messages.

All in all, between the direct and indirect effects found in the study, the total percentage increase per person in voting behavior as a result of a Facebook News Feed message is about 2.2%. That's on the lower end of the spectrum compared to what other "get out the vote" studies have found with regards to other means of communication.

But the real effect could be even greater than what the study observed, Fowler said. A lot of people who saw the message had probably already voted, through early voting and absentee ballots -- in fact, one-third of voters in the 2010 election cast their votes before Election Day.

Many people who saw the message were also unable to vote because they logged into Facebook too late in the day to go to their local polling station - as high as 20% may have been in this situation, Fowler said. Also, younger people are less likely to vote, and are less susceptible to such appeals, he said.

"I think if you added all of these things up, we'd find that this was actually one of the stronger 'get out the vote' messages that we've seen in the literature," he said.

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