Steve Dempsey: a real solution to fake news?

  • Steve Dempsey: a real solution to fake news?
    Independent.t. E.
    Politicians saw the potential of social media to court voters years ago. Now they realize the same platform that can help you get elected can also promote misinformation and undermine confidence in democratic institutions and the press.

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Politicians saw the potential of social media to court voters years ago. Now they realize the same platform that can help you get elected can also promote misinformation and undermine confidence in democratic institutions and the press.

It is not only a big problem for the political classes. It’s big business. A recent report from the Oxford Internet Institute, the government and political parties spent $500 million (€431m) on the development and implementation of psychological operations and manipulation of public opinion in social networks since 2010.

The study called complex of truth and trust: the global Inventory organized manipulation of social media.

He found that the number of countries where there are manipulation of social media are on the rise to 48 countries this year, compared to 28 last year. He also found at least one political party or a government Agency using social media to manipulate domestic public opinion in each country.

Samantha Bradshaw-one of the authors of the report. “Social media is easily compromised because of the principles of the free flow of information, transmission of messages at such low prices,” she says. “Plus there is the factor of anonymity. You don’t always know where the information comes from. With the previous propaganda campaign in Russia and the USA in the “cold war”, did you know where these messages are coming from. Now it is not so clear.”

The research shows how different countries have different capabilities in terms of cyber-troops that can be mobilized to sow the seeds of social confusion. Cyber troops sounds ominous, but this term includes governments or political agents, who manipulate public opinion on the Internet. The study notes that political parties are increasingly hiring PR firms or data Analytics companies to spread misinformation, start a political boat or trolling campaigns, search results and advertising Messages to the suppression of the voter. In countries with secured cyber army of China, Israel, Russia, UAE and USA.

The threat of misinformation in social media and chat apps, which also appeared a new trend now a serious problem for governments around the world. In 2016 more than 30 countries taking legislative action against fake news stories on the Internet. But, according to Bradshaw, they are in no hurry to do it.

“A British exit from the EU was one of those early signs when there are signs of the entities operating these platforms and technologies in a way that they didn’t have,” she says. “For the quarter and the month we saw a lot of fake accounts reinforcing the “leave” message, we have seen a lot of ads that have been micro-focus on people with very polarizing messages. And we also saw the illegal spending on advertising in social networks. This was to be a Wake-up call for regulators to say we need to start thinking about how social media plays in elections and what the rules should be for politicians who want to use this technology for the campaign”.

But there is still no consensus on the policies that could limit the capacity of technology companies to the detriment of democracy. On the eve of the midterm elections in the United States, the Senate, the Vice-Chairman of the intelligence Committee of the U.S. mark Warner released a white paper that describes how social media and technology companies can be regulated to protect consumers and to prevent interference in elections.

The proposed approaches include ensuring that bots and fake accounts which are clearly marked, making platforms libel, making platforms to show the monetary value of their data and GDPR-as the legislation on data protection.

In the UK, special Committee for digital, culture, media and sport, recommended that the standards in the ofcom television and radio companies will be applied to online content. However, they also noted that the complex, global nature of regulation of online platforms-it is something more than the current ‘outdated legislation.

Closer to home, this week Dooley Fianna file Timmy introduced a proposal that would see 6pcs tax on digital advertising – effectively a tax on Facebook and Google’s revenues – to support the printed products.

It’s unclear what it will be or even if it is. But let’s be clear, we need some form of regulation. We can’t really rely on platforms to regulate themselves. With great reach comes great responsibility. Without some legislative checks and balances, social media giants to communicate the risks associated with the collection of data across the enterprise and to privatize all the gains.

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