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THE NEXT GENERATION OF FAKE NEWS

THE NEXT GENERATION OF FAKE NEWS

Faced with future threats, planners sometimes make the mistake of preparing to fight the last war. How to avoid that problem in meeting the challenge posed by “fake news?” It helps to take a hard look at how these threats are evolving. Three thoughts:


We are all Russians now  Suspected Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election continues to generate headlines, but new evidence suggests the injection of fake news into the US national bloodstream is increasingly a domestic phenomenon.

Before last week’s midterm elections, US political activists on the left and right were aggressively using Facebook and Twitter to spread false information. Both companies say they found and took down hundreds of sites in recent weeks created by Americans, some with hundreds of thousands of followers, which deliberately promoted disinformation.

There’s nothing new about dirty tricks and party propaganda in US elections, and some content creators may be motivated more by profit than a desire to shape public opinion for political gain. But these increasingly sophisticated campaigns of misinformation appear directly inspired by Russian tactics.

Russian interference revealed a set of tools that can be easily used to sway or cast doubt over the outcome of elections. Even as users become more discerning about fake news, more actors will develop the means to deceive.

Supply follows demand –A new study published by BBC World Service finds that in India, distrust of mainstream media is leading people to spread information from alternative online sources without attempting to verify whether the news is true. The study also found that “a rising tide of nationalism in India” is poisoning political debate. “In India facts were less important to some than the emotional desire to bolster national identity,” wrote the study’s authors.

The urge to support favored political figures and parties, to denigrate others, and to promote a particular vision of India and its perceived enemies has led citizens both to supply fake news and to accept it as true without any serious attempt at verification. Of course, this problem has less to with Indian nationalism than with human nature. It’s a growing problem everywhere.

This isn’t simply a story about bad people trying to deceive honest citizens. The human tendency to believe what we want to believe increases the appeal of falsehood and creates demand for more.

Deep Fakes” are becoming more sophisticated – We’ve raised this alarm before and surely will again: Fake video is becoming more sophisticated. In particular, face-mapping technology, designed to improve television language dubbing, is making it easier to create video that appears to show a person saying or doing something they never actually said or did.

Experts in these technologies point out that AI algorithms can quickly identify phonies, and that so-called deep fakes—manipulated video—add only at the margins to an already serious fake news problem. But AI algorithms are useful only for those who want to know the truth, and video fakes can have a more emotional impact than written ones for the same reasons that a single provocative image can be emotionally more powerful than a thousand words.

The takeaway: Combine the increasingly commonplace nature of systematic disinformation, a natural desire to believe in it, and a persuasive manufactured image, and fake news is becoming a more complex and dangerous problem.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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For the first time in twenty years, extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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