Misinformation can be countered with good practices and technology

Fighting against misinformation requires, in addition to efforts to adopt a code of practice to combat false messages by social media, investment in new Technologies

By * Roberto Gallo, Kryptu’s CEO

Sharing of fake messages via social networks, whether by text, videos or audio, contributes not only to the dissemination of disinformation but also to the execution of virtual fraud, children and vulnerable people’ harassment, and even crimes’ perpetration.

Although it is not a recent practice, as it has already been used several times as a strategy for psychological warfare operations (PsyOp), mass disinformation campaigns gained prominence in the 2016 presidential elections in the United States. To have an idea of its power of influence, just remember that during the American elections that year, fake news and the rumors derived from it even guided the agenda of the major press vehicles, becoming the hottest topics by the national and international media.

Since then, this activity has grown exponentially and has become a true “epidemic”, which challenges companies, governments, judicial organs, and civil society as a whole daily. In particular, because combating or completely undoing a lie consumes much more time and energy than fabricating and spreading the lie.

One of the fundamental characteristics of misinformation is that, in addition to influencing emotions, objective reasoning, and the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, and governments, it tends to be more powerful when there is no reason to distrust the source or whoever propagated it. If the source seems credible, its effectiveness is greater, and if more people say the same thing, the more believable it appears to be. This is the so-called social validation effect.

Several groups realized that social media are quicker in spreading information and have a very high capacity to influence people. And the fact that anyone can post anything resulted in the major communication channels, traditionally more trustworthy,  not being able to keep up with the speed of social media. In addition, the metric that was important to traditional media, namely the number of paid subscribers, has turned into clicks, because advertising revenue is now driven by user interaction.

This change of logic caused the average quality of information to deteriorate dramatically. Today we see disinformation campaigns being launched all the time and this generates commonality with crimes, in which essentially whoever is behind a fraud or a disinformation campaign, for example, pursues a false, but trustworthy identity, so that their scams are successful.

Confronting misinformation, fraud and cybercrime is undoubtedly a challenge. Therefore, in addition to efforts to adopt a practices code to combat misinformation on social media, the bet has to be on technology. At Kryptus, for example, this is an important and active research and development topic – the technologies are expected to hit the market later this year. It’s the first step.


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