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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    blaktron (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    This suggests that the author of this study was able to find 12% MORE illicit homemade porn than the creeps actually sifting through photobucket for them. Thats actually more improbable than the 88% figure itself.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    The real question is: how did a researcher's image-scraping bot do 14% better than the 'evil' image-scraping bots? You'd think they'd have a better algorithm than some researcher could make just by spending a few weeks in a computer lab.

     

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  3.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    What is this mega-media news organization you're talking about? Is that the thing Jon Stewart keeps making fun of? I stopped paying attention to them 15 years ago.

     

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  4.  
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    Duke (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:40am

    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...

     

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  5.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:45am

    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!!!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    There's a counterpoint to all assertions 99.99 percent of the time

    78% of all stats are made up on the spot

     

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  7.  
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    Michael, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    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.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Now to be fair these reports are 50% accurate 100% of the time.

     

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  9.  
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    Lord Binky, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    This is perfectly plausible and explainable

    They know how approximately how many people have been making explicit images of themselves, because they've been had enough people under constant video surveillance to extrapolate that.

    That or they only found 88% of what they recorded was worth putting on the internet.

     

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  10.  
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    Rekrul, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    This article is pointless without pictures! ;)

     

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  11.  
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    Kev (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 11:18am

    Pictures or it didn't happen

     

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  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    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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  13.  
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    Ron (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Analysis

    "The study analyzed more than 12,000 sexually explicit images uploaded by young people ..."

    Where does one sign up for these studies?

     

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  14.  
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    byte^me (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Re:

    Really? I thought it was 83% of all stats are made up on the spot.

     

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  15.  
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    Ikarushka (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    Actually, if you keep reload this page, you will see a picture of DH's manly bits approximately 9 times out of 10. You just were not that lucky at your first hit.

    I'm not implying that his consent was obtained though.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Analysis

    4chan

     

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  17.  
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    angelbar (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Re:

    I was skeptical too.

    http://imgur.com/Zehuf

     

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  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    People claim this?

    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.


    Wait, intelligent people actually claim this? Now, that's obscene.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    What site?

     

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  20.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Thankfully, Mike did not allow me to take explicit images of myself for use in this article.

    FTFY.

    Though it might be kinky for Bob, AJ, and OOB to see you with the mask, sans the Blackhawk's uniform. You might even have them stalking you as much as they do Mike.

     

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  21.  
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    Jeff Woods (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    "Lies, damned lies, and statistics"

    package require Tclx
    echo [rand 100]% of all statistics are made up on the spot!

     

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  22.  
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    Grant, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 8:17pm

    95% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

     

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  23.  
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    btrussell (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re:

    It would also drastically increase percentage.

    88% + your 100% averages 94% of all porn...

     

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  24.  
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    btrussell (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re:

    I also saw feminine bytes.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:39am

    Re: Re:

    No its more like 94.52%

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:40am

    Re:

    60% of the time it works every time.....

     

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  27.  
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    Niall (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re:

    You nude + braille version that needs touching leads to some *very* disturbing images! :)

     

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  28.  
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    slick8086, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    not quite right.

    > Eighty-eight percent? There's no way that could possibly be true.

    Actually there is no way to know. How could they know how much home made porno there is? No survey could be reliable. Sex and pornography are something that most Americans lie about.

     

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  29.  
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    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    There are FOUR kinds of liars

    Liars, Damn Liars, and Statisticians.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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