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Wrong information

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

With more than half the world’s population heading to the polls in 2024, the season of disinformation is upon us and the warnings are dire. World Economic Forum Announcement Misinformation is a high social risk for the next two years and for major news organizations. caution That disinformation is an unprecedented threat to democracies around the world.

Still, some scholars and pundits have questioned whether misinformation can really have an effect. . Others think the concern over misinformation is just one. Moral panic Or simply a symbol rather than the cause of our social ills. Pollster Nate Silver even thinks that misinformation “Not a coherent concept.

But we argue that the evidence tells a different story.

A 2023 study shows that the vast majority of academics Experts Agree on how to define misinformation (ie false and misleading content) and what it looks like (eg lies, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience). Although disinformation was not covered in this study, such experts generally agree that it can be defined as intentional misinformation.

A recent paper clarified That misinformation can be both a symptom and a disease. In 2022, about 70 percent of Republicans still are. Confirmed False conspiracy theory that the 2020 US presidential election was “stolen” by Donald Trump. How would millions of people have acquired these beliefs if Trump had never presented them?

Furthermore, while it is clear that people do not always act on dangerous beliefs, the US Capitol riots on January 6, fueled by false claims, serve as an important reminder that a Wrong information Mobs can disrupt and undermine democracy.

Given that about 25% of elections are decided by a margin. Less than 3%Misinformation and misinformation can have a significant impact. one the study It turns out that among previous Barack Obama voters who bought none. Regarding Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, 89 percent voted for Clinton. By contrast, among early Obama voters who believed at least two fake headlines about Clinton, only 17 percent voted for her.

While this does not necessarily prove that misinformation led to voting behavior, we do know that. Millions Before the election, black voters were targeted by misleading ads disparaging Clinton in key states.

Research has shown that such micro-targeting of specific audiences based on variables such as their personality not only affects Decision making But also the effects Voting Intentions. Fresh Paper illustrated how large language models could be deployed to generate microtargeted ads at scale, estimating that for every 100,000 people targeted, at least several thousand could be persuaded. Is.

We also know that not only people are evil. Sensible Deepfakes from real content (AI generated images of fake events), studies show that deepfakes are effective Political Attitudes among a small target group.

Misinformation also has more indirect consequences, such as corrupting the public confidence And participation in the elections.

Besides hiding under our beds and worrying, what can we do to protect ourselves?

Power of pre-banking

Many efforts have focused on fact-checking and dispelling false beliefs. in contrast to, “pre banking” There’s a new way to prevent false beliefs from forming in the first place. Such “vaccination” involves warning people not to fall for a misrepresentation or propaganda tactic, as well as explaining it.

The misinformed rhetoric is obvious. Marker, such as scapegoating or using false pretenses (there are many more), that people can learn to recognize. Like a medical vaccine, a pre-vaccination exposes the recipient to a “weak dose” of an infectious agent (disinformation) and rejects it in a way that confers protection.

For example, we created an online the game Department of Homeland Security to Empower Americans to Detect Foreign Influence Techniques in 2020 . Poor diet? Pineapple Pizza.

How could pineapple pizza possibly be a way to combat misinformation? It shows how ill-intentioned actors can take an innocuous issue like whether or not to put pineapple on pizza, and use it to try to start a culture war. They can claim it’s offensive to Italians or plead with Americans not to let anyone limit their pizza topping freedom.

They can then buy bots to amplify the issue on both sides, disrupt the debate and sow chaos. our Results It turned out that people improved their ability to recognize these tactics after playing our inoculation game.

In 2020, Twitter identified fraudulent election troopers as potential “vectors of misinformation” and sent out pre-banks to millions of American consumers warning them of fraudulent claims, such as that voting by mail is not secure.

These pre-banks arm people with a fact — that experts agree that voting by mail is reliable — and it has worked so far because pre-banks instill confidence in the electoral process and make consumers more fact-based. Encouraged to seek information. Other social media companies, e.g Google And Meta A range of issues have followed suit across the board.

A new one Paper Tested in the US and Brazil to inoculate against false claims about electoral processes. Not only did it find that pre-banking worked better than traditional debanking, but that inoculation improved the discernment between true and false claims, effectively reducing electoral fraud beliefs and the upcoming 2024 election. Confidence in the integrity of the

Briefly, inoculation a free speechEmpowering interventions that can work globally. US President Joe Biden used this method when Russia was looking for an excuse to attack Ukraine.Vaccination“The world is against Putin’s plan to stage and film a fabricated Ukrainian atrocity, complete with actors, script and film crew.

In fact, he warned the world not to fall prey to fake videos with actors pretending to be Ukrainian soldiers on Russian soil. The international community was forewarned. no chance To fall for it. Russia certainly found another excuse to attack, but the point remains: forewarned.

But we don’t need to rely on the government or tech firms to build. Mental immunity. We all can. learn How to spot misinformation by studying markers with misleading rhetoric.

Remember that polio was a highly contagious disease that was eradicated through vaccination and herd immunity. Our challenge now is to create herd immunity against the ploys of disinformers and propagandists.

The future of our democracy may depend on it.

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This article has been republished. Conversation Under Creative Commons License. read Original article.Conversation

Reference: Disinformation Threatens Global Elections: How to Fight Back (2024, February 18) Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-disinformation-threatens-global-elections.html

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