GZERO Media logo

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.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

More Show less

On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

More Show less

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

More Show less

In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream