The use of doctored images was a crucial and deceptively simple technique used by Russian propagandists to spread false information during the 2016 election. The use of these photos exposes a loophole in tech company’s defenses.
Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have systems set up to detect misinformation, but it is hard to detect falsehoods posted directly on their platforms, in particular through pictures. Secured Borders, a Facebook group which called for the deportation of undocumented immigrants, turned out to be one of 290 Facebook and Instagram pages created and run by Russia-backed accounts that sought to amplify divisive social issues, according to authorities. The group, along with many of the others, often relied on images that were doctored or taken out of context.
The issue is that algorithms designed by big tech companies are still years away from being able to accurately interpret the content of many images and determine if they were distorted or taken out of context. Meanwhile, users are less likely to doubt the legitimacy of images, so distorted pictures can be unusually effective weapons in misinformation…Read more.
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