How to combat misinformation?

On the left of the image, a pattern repeats itself endlessly. It is that of a test pattern, like that of old televisions, supposed to allow the display to be adjusted, calibrated or corrected with standardized values. Opposite, the same pattern is blurred, distorted. In the center these words: “Fake News?” “Study on the threat posed by online disinformation”, explains the subtitle.

The June 6 edition of Nature brings together a series of articles and scientific studies that examine the scourge of disinformation and attempt to assess its real risks. Many people consider that false information, which spreads at breakneck speed, threatens to undermine society, to exacerbate the polarization of opinions and even destabilize elections.

The researchers are keen to emphasize that it is possible to combat misinformation. For this, platforms and regulators must act and gather information on how fake news spreads and why in various societies around the world. summarizes the editorial.

The assault on the Capitol as a field of study

By studying what happened on Twitter (now called X) before and after the assault on the Capitol in the United States, January 6, 2021, researchers have for example highlighted that the banning and deletion of 70,000 accounts suspected of circulating fake news coincided with a considerable drop in the dissemination of false information. It is difficult to know whether this ban had a direct effect on the behavior of the remaining users on Twitter or whether the violence of the events had an indirect effect on what was shared online.

At any rate, write the researchers :

“These events were a life-size experiment showing how it was possible to combat misinformation on social media through terms of use.”

A another team was interested in the links between advertising and fake news. It shows that companies that use automatic advertising space purchasing are ten times more likely to see their ads land on disinformation sites. “While it is possible to verify where their ads appear, most advertising executives underestimate their share of responsibility for spreading fake news – and so do consumers,” decrypted Nature in his editorial.

AI not yet the majority

Still other researchers have questioned the role of artificial intelligence on the spread of fake news in India. “Their work on WhatsApp users in India shows that AI-generated content is not yet the majority in the flow of disinformation – but the evolution of uses tells us that it is probably only a matter of time.”

All the articles collected in this edition demonstrate that the world has a common interest in curbing the spread of disinformation and maintaining public debate about what facts and evidence are. For this, researchers have a role to play, but they must be able to access data that companies often do not want to share.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button