An election is a time when people avoid fact-checking if something disagrees with their point of view. Social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook have taken measures to deal with the influx of fake news on the cusp of the latest UK elections. Even Google intends to flex its tech muscle by cracking down on fake news videos on its video-sharing site YouTube. Twitter has stated that it is banning all political ads. Facebook’s response is to open a war-room to quickly respond to the posting of fake news online by taking those shares down immediately.
Vulnerable Populace May Still Fall for Misinformation
The UK’s citizens have had their share of voting fiascoes. The latest of these was the vote for the UK to leave the EU, termed “Brexit” which saw many people dismayed at the result. The blame for the decision, many commentators noted, rested with the spread of misinformation. Digital misinformation experts in the UK believe that the British voting public is still vulnerable to the same tactics that worked before. Campaigns for the elections hit a fever pitch as soon as standing Prime Minister Boris Johnson called a December 12th snap election.
Deepfakes and False News Reports Expected
Deepfake technology, allowing malicious users to doctor a video to make an authentic fake version of a video that could pass off as real online, has become a significant issue in recent years. False news reports have similar damaging effects on a populace that is already very polarized along ideological fronts.
The UK isn’t the only country facing this looming specter of lies. The US has seen its share of fake news propagate online and spread like wildfire on social media. The US elections proved that data miners could even collect data about citizens and use it to change their points of view through targeted advertising. Despite the genuine issue of socially engineering election results, there has yet to be any legislation put in place to deal with the threat. While Google, Facebook, and Twitter can do what they must, to control false information, the onus is still on the government to legislate a solution to the problem.