Statistical Stupidity: 95% Of All Lazy Journalists Believe That 88% Of All Homemade Porn Ends Up Online

from the that-cannot-possibly-be-true dept

We are often told that we need mega-media news organizations because they, unlike their smaller internet bretheren, are more trustworthy because they fact-check. This is a repeated premise (despite example after example after example showing that it just isn't true), which is why some folks may still be surprised when an organization like CBS can botch their reporting so horrifically. Witness their reporting of a new study put out by the Internet Watch Foundation concerning explicit images that end up on so-called parasite websites.

Eighty-eight percent of homemade pornography, including videos and still images, finds its way onto porn sites, often without the owners’ knowledge, a new study from Britain’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has found.

The study analyzed more than 12,000 sexually explicit images uploaded by young people and found that the great majority of images had been stolen and published to what the organization calls, “parasite” websites.

If you read that first sentence, the one that says that 88% of all homemade pornography ends up online, and didn't immediately begin laughing at the sheer silliness of that number, you're a stronger person than I am. Now, granted, being both a horribly ugly pasty white and being, at best, mildly attractive, I'm not someone prone to taking pictures of my man-junk, nor mid-coitus. But what the hell? Eighty-eight percent? There's no way that could possibly be true.

And, of course, it isn't true. Nor is it even what the report concluded. What it actually concluded was that 88% of explicit images uploaded to the internet end up on parasitic websites. Now, that claim may still be inflated, but it isn't as outlandishly inflated as CBS made it sound. This isn't to say that major media should be 100% accurate all the time, but to claim that journalism will die if this kind of reporting goes away is the kind of over-exaggerated false claim that you would expect…well…I guess CBS to make.

So keep this story in your back pocket for the next time someone tells you how much we need mega-media news because they fact-check. Also make sure you throw some random made up statistics at that person. Hell, if they love major news media so much, there's a 43% chance that they'll believe them one-half of the time. Every time.

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Comments on “Statistical Stupidity: 95% Of All Lazy Journalists Believe That 88% Of All Homemade Porn Ends Up Online”

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29 Comments
Dukesays:

What it actually concluded was that 88% of explicit images uploaded to the internet end up on parasitic websites.

From my reading of the IWF’s press release it didn’t even conclude this. A more accurate reading would be “88% of homemade explicit images we were able to find easily on social networks ended up on parawebsite.”

Which isn’t really that surprising. If the IWF can find it quite quickly, one imagines the parawebsites shouldn’t find it too hard either…

Josef Anvilsays:

I'm unclear on the point

Ok let’s assume 88% of homemade porn finds its way to porno sites. Is that bad because it’s infringing copyrights? Is that bad because it’s crappy porn? Is that bad because no one could find the other 12% ?

It seems that the article is upset about infringement. Damn you porn pirates. I want to make sure the actors are getting paid!!!

Michaelsays:

Solve this problem

“88% of explicit images uploaded to the internet end up on parasitic websites”

That is a travesty. 100% of the idiots that upload explicit images of themselves deserve to have them published for everyone to see.

I, however, and far more interested in an examination of the other 12%. Why weren’t these caught by the porn crawlers? I would assume that since they are actually the industry that seems to advance technology, their ability to find explicit images is WAY better than an organization that seems to think they need to tax the population to preserve the integrity of their news print.

My guess is that the crawlers rejected that 12% because it was so bad or the people were so ugly that they did not think they could monetize it. That, or they included celebrities and they are waiting for their payoff.

Dark Helmetsays:

Re:

Sadly, Mike did not allow me to take explicit images of myself for use in this article. Granted, I would figure out a way to make any nudie picture of myself so eyeball-explodingly horrifying that we’d have to release a braille (sp?) version of Techdirt as a result….but it still would have been funny….

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