BBC: ‘Dangerous’ AI offers to write fake news. “The text generator, built by research firm OpenAI, was originally considered ‘too dangerous’ to make public because of the potential for abuse. But now a new, more powerful version of the system – that could be used to create fake news or abusive spam on social media – has been released.”
BBC: Fake news is ‘reinforced by false memories’. “A study into false memories highlights the risks of ‘fake news’ spreading via social media. Volunteers were shown fabricated news reports in the week before Ireland’s 2018 abortion law referendum. Nearly half of them subsequently claimed to have had prior memories of at least one of the made-up events detailed.”
Poynter: Warnings from fact-checkers could discourage people from sharing false Facebook posts, study says. “The misinformation expert Claire Wardle, writing in the current issue of Scientific American, poses (then expertly answers) a key question for people concerned about the current state of the online information ecosystem: Why do people share misinformation, conspiracies and other kinds of misleading content on social media?”
Boing Boing: OpenAI releases larger GPT-2 dataset. Can it write fake news better than a human?. “The danger of GPT-2 is not fake news as sharable, influential longform but as social media chum in brief: imagine a flood of more convincing bots making human actions harder to measure, goosing the ‘engagement’ of emotionally vulnerable users while deflating the value of those interactions.”
CNN: Websites that peddle disinformation make millions of dollars in ads, new study finds. “As the United States gears up for another presidential election, aware of the role online disinformation played in 2016, the business of publishing false or extremist content online remains a lucrative one. At least $235 million in revenue is generated annually from ads running on extremist and disinformation websites, according to a new study from the Global Disinformation Index provided exclusively to CNN ahead of its September release.” Lying is more lucrative than telling the truth? Now there’s a thought that’ll make your mouth sour.
Poynter: A guide to anti-misinformation actions around the world. “Spanning from Brazil to South Korea, these efforts raise questions about infringing free speech guarantees and are frequently victims of uncertainty. The muddying of the definition of fake news, the relative reach of which is still being studied, hinders governments’ ability to accomplish anything effective. In the spirit of this confusion, explained in detail in a Council of Europe report, Poynter has created a guide for existing attempts to legislate against what can broadly be referred to as online misinformation.” Wow, this extensive!
Poynter: Why is fake news so prevalent? Researchers offer some answers. “There’s no doubt that the world of fact-checking has experienced a boom over the last decade. But are we any closer to truly understanding the phenomenon of misinformation, or how to stop it? There’s a plethora of fresh research that helps answer this question, as media scholars and researchers study and explore how different kinds of misinformation behave in different contexts.”