15.4 C
New Delhi
Monday 16 December 2019
Sci-Tech Information Technology Fake news travels faster than the truth

Fake news travels faster than the truth

The indictment of 13 Russians in the operation of a 'troll farm' that spread false information related to the 2016 US presidential election has renewed the spotlight on the power of "fake news" to influence public opinion

Bloomington, Indiana: The indictment of 13 Russians in the operation of a “troll farm” that spread false information related to the 2016 US presidential election has renewed the spotlight on the power of fake news to influence public opinion. Now, an Indiana University faculty member who studies the spread of misinformation online is joining prominent legal scholars, social scientists and researchers in a global “call to action” in the fight against it.

Filippo Menczer, a professor in the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, is a co-author of a paper published March 8 in the journal Science that calls for a coordinated investigation into the underlying social, psychological and technological forces behind fake news. This is necessary to counteract the phenomenon’s negative influence on society, the authors said.

“What we want to convey most is that fake news is a real problem, it’s a tough problem, and it’s a problem that requires serious research to solve,” said Menczer, who also a member of the IU Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and founder of the IU Observatory on Social Media, a platform that provides tools for identifying automated social media accounts and analyzing the spread of misinformation across social networks.

The paper includes estimates that the number of automated “bots” is 60 million on Facebook and up to 48 million on Twitter, the latter based upon a recent study by Menczer and colleagues. It also cites an analysis that found the average American likely encountered one to three fake news stories in the month before the 2016 U.S. election.

“The spreaders of fake news are using increasingly sophisticated methods,” he added. “If we don’t have enough quantifiable information about the problem, we’ll never be able to design interventions that work. This paper is really a call to groups across the globe — academics, journalists and private industry — to work together to attack this problem.”

This includes the tech companies that create the platforms used to produce and consume information, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. The authors said these companies have an “ethical and social responsibility transcending market forces” to contribute to scientific research on fake news.

Additionally, the article’s authors point out that false information affects not only the political sphere but also areas not previously regarded as political, such as public health topics like nutrition and vaccinations, as well as the stock market. They also said the problem is particularly intractable because some research has found that repeating a lie to correct it can actually ingrain false information in the mind.

One solution Menczer and his colleagues propose is rigorous research into the effectiveness of high school courses that help students recognize illegitimate new sources. They also propose specific changes to the powerful algorithms that increasingly control people’s access to information online.

“The challenge is there are so many vulnerabilities we don’t yet understand and so many different pieces that can break or be gamed or manipulated when it comes to fake news,” Menczer said. “It’s such a complex problem that it must be attacked from every angle.”

Menczer is a prominent voice in the fight against fake news whose research is frequently cited in major media outlets and academic conferences. The essay’s co-authors include researchers at high-profile organizations such as Microsoft, Harvard, Yale and MIT.

Indiana University

Subscribe to our newsletter

You will get all our latest news and articles via email when you subscribe

The email despatches will be non-commercial in nature
Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction in New Delhi

Leave a Reply

Opinion

Justice That Is Instant Is Travesty

But neither the state nor society can wash their hands off this social craving for settling scores in the name of doing justice to the victim

Karnataka Voters Punished INC, JDS Leaders

Even the BJP was not confident of the result even as their leaders kept saying for public consumption they were winning all the 15 seats

The United States Of The World

The United States, stereotyped as the land of plenty and plentiful guns, is still a destination of choice for people from across the world

प्याज़ के आँसू न रोएँ — महंगाई से किसान, उपभोक्ता दोनों को फ़ायदा

जिस अल्प मुद्रास्फीति की वजह से वे सरकार से बहुत खुश थे, उसी 1.38 प्रतिशत की खाद्यान्न मुद्रास्फीति के कारण किसानों को अपने पैदावार के लिए समुचित मूल्य नहीं मिल रहे थे

CAB Can Correct Wrongs Of NRC

… if the government can fix the inept bureaucracy and explain what happens to those marked as aliens, as the neighbours are not taking them back
- Advertisement -

Elsewhere

Delhi, Assam, Bengal, Bihar set afire by anti-CAA thugs

In Delhi, suburban Bengal and Patna, the rioters' religious identity was obvious from what they wore, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said

Rabri Devi accused of domestic violence by daughter-in-law

Aishwarya said that a security worker snatched her mobile phone device at the behest of Rabri Devi to erase evidence of domestic violence and then threw all her belongings out of the house

Savarkar to Sena: Kick out INC from Maharashtra govt

Grandson of the freedom fighter Ranjit Savarkar advised Uddhav Thackeray today that if he were to throw out INC, BJP wouldn't vote against it

Mayawati calls INC bluff on Savarkar

Mayawati said it was duplicitous to curse Savarkar on the one hand and be in a coalition government with a pro-Savarkar party in Maharashtra

NEFT transaction 24×7 beginning 16 December

NEFT is a method of online transaction, in which you can transfer to another bank account up to Rs 2 lakh online at a time

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

For fearless journalism

%d bloggers like this: