Why you should expect altered images of politicians to keep going viral in 2020


-The researchers says
there has been an increase in misinformation
in the last several years. And there’s a lot of
competing dynamics in that. I mean, one is just that
the Internet is more a part
of our lives, we get our information more
and more from the Internet, so we’re also getting
our disinformation from the Internet. But with President Trump
in office, you have a leader
who is not afraid to share
his own misinformation. In this space we have people
who are sharing doctored images, doctored videos,
or lightly altered images. They either don’t realize it’s
false or they know it’s false and are actively
trying to sow chaos, spread a political message. This material is made to evoke
an emotional reaction. The best of it goes viral because people have
that reaction. One of the more evocative
early pieces of misinformation or political
or whatever you want to call it was an edit of
then-candidate Obama’s face to put him
in kind of Joker makeup. It was a sign that images
are powerful, they can get a message across. There’s been sort of outright
Photoshops — Adam Schiff had posted
a picture, I believe, with his dad and that was edited to show him
sitting next to Jeffrey Epstein. It was a totally fake image. Representative Gosar shared
a fake image of Barack Obama shaking hands
with the Iranian president. It never happened, it’s an image
that has been long debunked. Joe Biden has also been
hugely targeted by these kinds
of disinformation campaigns. There have been a number
of satirical memes made of Joe Biden, sort of poking fun at this idea
that he’s handsy and has been inappropriate
around women. And you’ll even see, you know,
these not total fakes but heavy altered images
of people like Nancy Pelosi. Taking an image of her
and sharpening it, deepening every line in her face
into this craggy valley, and, you know, shrink-wrapping
her flaws effectively. And, you know, this happens
with President Trump too. They accentuate his gut
when he’s on the golf course. When you see a politician or a thought leader
making headlines, gaining attention, there’s often
somebody on the other side who wants to tear them down,
undermine that message. Last year, we actually
broke the story of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
giving a speech before the Center
of American Progress. Somebody took the video
and slowed it down to 75% of the speed
and modulated her voice achieving the affect
of making her sound drunk, undermining her making
her arguments at a time when talk of impeachment
was ramping up. And there was another recent
example with Elise Stefanik where she has become a pivotal
figure for the Republicans criticizing the Democratic
effort to impeach Donald Trump. There was one image that went
viral showing her flipping her
middle finger into the camera. It was totally faked, and yet
people were sharing it widely as proof that she was not
taking the hearing seriously. It doesn’t even need to be
this sophisticated edit of a photo or a video,
you can just change the text, change the caption,
misattribute something, act like a photo or video was taken in a totally
different place in a totally different context. We saw this happen a lot
with Hillary Clinton when she was running for office. Any one cough could be looped
and accentuated to the point where people were saying
she had Parkinson’s disease or some fatal illness. We can logically know
that it’s false, right, and yet the emotional
response is still there. That’s what’s so insidious about
this kind of misinformation. They’re not always trying
to convert people to their side. Sometimes they’re trying
to infuriate people. You have seen this growing
market of disinformation that’s been fueled by Trump,
fueled by the Web, and fueled
by higher polarization. The broader concern is that
there’s a system now to support
making more of this, there’s a system now to share
more of this disinformation. And so how do we walk ourselves
back to a point of wanting to err
on the side of the truth?

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. You’re talking about something that has been a common political practice since the printing press was invented while “Deep Fakes” are actually a thing?

  2. This article is not intended to cast away any of the impending Democrat candidates pedophilic tendencies being uploaded onto the web.

  3. Trump will be ready to release CGI enhanced, fake documentaries in the last weeks of the presidential race. You'll see stuff like Elizabeth Warren having sex with a black porn star, or Pete Buttigieg doing it with an Oriental woman. You'll also see unprecedented voter suppression and vote tampering. 2020, for the Republicans, is all about making Trump the chosen one – the first queen of America. I'd say King, but he's too "Putin's B***h".

  4. What do Russian disinformation campaigns look like, and how can we protect our elections? [Brookings]

    –What you need to know: One of the goals of Russian information warfare is to create a society in which we can’t tell the difference between fact and fiction.

    –The Russian government is becoming more sophisticated in mastering the tools of political warfare for the digital age. This includes the use of bots, trolls, micro-targeting to spread disinformation.

    –The strategies are not new but the digital tools are.

    –Over the next few months we are going to see more disinformation campaigns, including fake websites that work together as a network to spread disinformation, fake personalities and entities on Twitter and Facebook, and manipulation of social media networks’ algorithms, including Google, YouTube, and others. And we’re not really paying enough attention to algorithmic manipulation.

    –The more frightening development that we are likely to see in the next 12-16 months is the use of artificial intelligence to enhance the tools of political warfare.

    –Right now, humans control and produce online entities like bots and trolls. But soon, disinformation campaigns will become more automated, smarter, and more difficult to detect. AI driven disinformation will be better targeted to specific audiences; AI driven online entities will be able to predict and manipulate human responses; At some point very soon, we won’t be able to tell the difference between automated accounts and human entities.

    –The phenomena of deep fakes—fake video and audio that appears convincingly real – is going to be used by malicious actors to mislead and deceive us. Debunking this content will be like playing whack-a-mole. This is going to become a reality much sooner than we’re comfortable with.

    –Democratic societies, including the United States, can do many things to inoculate themselves against these kinds of tools of political warfare, disinformation, and cyber-attacks.

    –Step one is getting the U.S. government to develop a strategy of deterrence when it comes to political warfare.

    –We currently don’t have such a strategy, because we diluted or dissolved the institutions and capabilities we had during the Cold War.

    –Step two is acknowledging individuals’ responsibility to be more critical consumers of information and recognizing that the information we consume is not neutral but often manipulated by malicious actors. As citizens, we have a responsibility to be more discerning and aware.

  5. Russian/GOP Troll tactics. Demoralization, Denigration, Discredit, Disinformation, Projection, What-About-ism and let’s not forget about Racism.

  6. Putin’s chef, a troll farm and Russia's plot to hijack US democracy [TheGuardian]

    The plot against America began in 2014. Thousands of miles away, in a drab office building in St Petersburg, Russia, a fake newsroom was under construction with its own graphics, data analysis, search engine optimisation, IT and finance departments. Its mission: ”information warfare against the United States of America”. What followed, according to an indictment brought by the US special counsel, Robert Mueller, on Friday, was a stunningly successful attack on the most powerful democracy in the world. It involved stolen identities, fake social media accounts, rallies organised from afar, US citizens duped into doing Moscow’s bidding, and two Russians going undercover in a ruse reminiscent of The Americans, a TV drama about KGB spies in suburban Washington during the cold war.

    Mueller also delivered an indictment, figuratively if not literally, of tech giants Facebook and Twitter for handing Russia a weapon to turn against the American people – one that Barack Obama’s administration was impotent to deflect

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