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This AI-Based Warning System May Indentify Online Disinformation

The AI-based system is not too far behind when it comes to the possibility of monitoring the 2020 general election in the US, according to the researchers

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The system, which is in the research and development phase, would be scalable to provide users with tailored options for monitoring content. Pixabay

Researchers are utilising artificial intelligence (AI) to develop an early warning system that can identify manipulated images, deepfake videos and disinformation online in 2020 US election.

The project is an effort to combat the rise of coordinated social media campaigns to incite violence, sew discord and threaten the integrity of democratic elections. According to the study, published in the journal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the scalable, automated system uses content-based image retrieval and applies computer vision-based techniques to root out political memes from multiple social networks.

“Memes are easy to create and even easier to share. When it comes to political memes, these can be used to help get out the vote, but they can also be used to spread inaccurate information and cause harm,” said study researcher Tim Weninger, Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame in the US.

For the findings, the research team collected more than two million images and content from various sources on Twitter and Instagram related to the 2019 general election in Indonesia. The results of that election, in which the left-leaning, centrist incumbent garnered a majority vote over the conservative, populist candidate, sparked a wave of violent protests that left eight people dead and hundreds injured.

The study found both spontaneous and coordinated campaigns with the intent to influence the election and incite violence. Those campaigns consisted of manipulated images exhibiting false claims and misrepresentation of incidents, logos belonging to legitimate news sources being used on fabricated news stories and memes created with the intent to provoke citizens and supporters of both parties.

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Researchers are utilising artificial intelligence (AI) to develop an early warning system that can identify manipulated images, deepfake videos and disinformation online in 2020 US election. Pixabay

While the ramifications of such campaigns were evident in the case of the Indonesian general election, the threat to democratic elections in the West already exists. The researchers said that they are developing the system to flag manipulated content to prevent violence, and to warn journalists or election monitors of potential threats in real-time.

The system, which is in the research and development phase, would be scalable to provide users with tailored options for monitoring content. While many challenges remain, such as determining an optimal means of scaling up data ingestion and processing for quick turnaround, the researchers said the system is currently being evaluated for the transition to operational use.

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The AI-based system is not too far behind when it comes to the possibility of monitoring the 2020 general election in the US, according to the researchers. (IANS)

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Spread of Fake News on high Rise on Facebook, Twitter Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Jumbling of content makes viewers less likely to check sources

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Fake News
The findings of a researcch show the dangers of people getting their news from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, Pixabay

In novel coronavirus times, there is so much fake news going around and according to new research, there’s a price to pay when you get your news and political information from the same place you find funny memes and cat pictures.

Jumbling of content makes viewers less likely to check sources, said the team from Ohio State University, adding that people viewing a blend of news and entertainment on a social media site tended to pay less attention to the source of content they consumed – meaning they could easily mistake satire or fiction for real news.

“The findings show the dangers of people getting their news from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter,” said study author George Pearson, a senior lecturer and research associate in communication at The Ohio State University.

“We are drawn to these social media sites because they are one-stop shops for media content, updates from friends and family, and memes or cat pictures,” Pearson added. People who viewed content that was clearly separated into categories – such as current affairs and entertainment – didn’t have the same issues evaluating the source and credibility of content they read.

“Jumbling of content makes everything seem the same to us. It makes it harder for us to distinguish what we need to take seriously from that which is only entertainment,” said Pearson in the study appeared in the journal New Media & Society. For the study, Pearson created a fictional social media site called “Link Me.”

The 370 participants saw four webpages with either two or four posts each. Each post consisted of a headline and short paragraph summarizing the story, as well as information on the source of the post. The sources were designed to be either high or low credibility, based on their name and description.

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Fake News, Lie, News, Media, Disinformation, Propaganda
 In novel coronavirus times, there is so much fake news going around and according to new research, there’s a price to pay when you get your news and political information from the same place you find funny memes and cat pictures. Pixabay

All posts were based on real articles or public social media posts taken from Reddit or Tumblr. The results showed that when the content was not grouped by distinct topics – in other words, news posts appeared on the same page with entertainment posts – participants reported paying less attention to the source of the content.

“They were less likely to verify source information to ensure that it was a credible source,” said Pearson. That may be one reason why satirical and other types of fake news get shared by people who evidently think it is real. One solution would be for social media companies to develop tools to distinguish content.

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But until that happens, it is up to users to pay more attention to where their news is coming from – as difficult as that may be. (IANS)