As the US election takes place in the midst of the pandemic today, fake news on social media platforms will be reaching fever pitch.
Following the huge volume of in COVID misinformation this year, and the alleged interference of state-backed groups in democracy during the last election, it is clear that no internationally significant event will ever again be free from the manipulative influence of fake news.
Social media organisations have the ability to monitor the content on their sites and filter out pieces from questionable sources. With both democracy and public health now hinging upon these technologies, social media sites have a greater responsibility than ever to leverage visibility over their sites for the good of citizens and international relations.
Dr Iain Brown, Head of Data Science at SAS UK&I said, “Social media platforms have visibility over information users are sharing and are capable of stopping the spread of misinformation. Following reports of fake news which spread ahead of the last US Election, some allegedly from state-backed Russian groups, it’s now more pivotal than ever that these platforms take responsibility for stamping out fake news – for the good not only of democracy, but public health too.
“Conducting continuous analysis is key if social media platforms are to react quickly and responsibly to fake news during both the election and the pandemic. As the volume of news being shared rises, AI-based decisioning systems could be the solution to maintaining responsible platforms. AI is capable of this task, equipped to trace the source of problematic material (often generated by malicious AI counterparts), subsequently alerting companies and helping them develop a counter-bot. Machine learning and CAPTCHAs can also help social media companies to spot the tell-tale signs of fake news.
“The implementation of these technologies at critical moments for democracy and public safety sets the precedent for the future of social media censoring, as user numbers continue to boom worldwide. This is a test for both AI and the workforce, as they work side by side to strike the balance between taking down problematic material and stifling truth. Ultimately, social media giants have a responsibility to use technology to protect the public, by making changes which encourage fact-checking and truth.”
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