Friend or Foe - What role does technology play in the spread of fake news?

With fake news now seemingly a staple of digital life, we examine the role technology plays in promoting and prohibiting its spread.

shutterstock 1121670800 01.10.20 friend or foe what role does technology play in the spread of fake

Misinformation and fake news are nothing new, yet in recent years the terms have become truly mainstream and taken on a life of their own. Now touted daily, fake news is seemingly everywhere, particularly social media sites where it spreads rapidly thanks to easy shareability and sub-standard moderation. Today, even claiming that a piece of content is misinformative could turn out to be fake news itself.

Despite increased awareness of the issue, many are still asking what more can be done to curb the problem. One approach where debate rages fiercely is the application of emerging technology. As advances are made to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity, could we see a future where fake news is dealt a decisive blow? Or will these technologies be used to propagate more false narratives and skew the truth even further?

Faking facts

As we continue into the digital era, the opportunities for fake news to present itself increase. Pascal Geenens, Director of Threat Intelligence at Radware attributes this rise to the fact that “before social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc. news was created and delivered by radio, TV, newspapers and the recipient of the news only had very limited ways of responding or interacting with it”. In the past, the limited availability of news and information generally had a positive impact on the quality of information that was presented to the public. As more ways of interacting with and consuming information emerge, more opportunities are created to present it in a different context and display altogether new viewpoints. In isolation, these new voices and inaccurate viewpoints might not reach many people, however in a digital environment where content can be shared quickly and easily, misinformative articles can rapidly find their way to the screens of many users.

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