The Fake War On Fake News; Is It All Part Of The Propaganda Game

The Fake War

Editor: Vladimir Bajic | Tactical Investor

Finland is winning the war on fake news

Helsinki, Finland (CNN) – On a recent afternoon in Helsinki, a group of students gathered to hear a lecture on a subject that is far from a staple in most community college curriculums.

Standing in front of the classroom at Espoo Adult Education Centre, Jussi Toivanen worked his way through his PowerPoint presentation. A slide titled “Have you been hit by the Russian troll army?” included a checklist of methods used to deceive readers on social media: image and video manipulations, half-truths, intimidation and false profiles.

Another slide, featuring a diagram of a Twitter profile page, explained how to identify bots: look for stock photos, assess the volume of posts per day, check for inconsistent translations and a lack of personal information.

The lesson wrapped with a popular “deepfake” — highly realistic manipulated video or audio — of Barack Obama to highlight the challenges of the information war ahead.

The course is part of an anti-fake news initiative launched by Finland’s government in 2014 – two years before Russia meddled in the US elections – aimed at teaching residents, students, journalists and politicians how to counter false information designed to sow division.

he initiative is just one layer of a multi-pronged, cross-sector approach the country is taking to prepare citizens of all ages for the complex digital landscape of today – and tomorrow. The Nordic country, which shares an 832-mile border with Russia, is acutely aware of what’s at stake if it doesn’t. Full Story

President Trump claims the media peddles fake news.

One month before the 2016 presidential election, a white supremacist Twitter account sparked a rumour linking the Democratic Party to a paedophilia ring operating out of Comet Ping Pong, a Washington D.C., pizzeria. The story blazed across the internet—one million tweets were tagged #Pizzagate in November alone—and came to a head when Edgar Maddison Welch, a soft-spoken 28-year-old from North Carolina, decided to take matters into his own hands. On December 4, he opened fire on Comet Ping Pong.

Although no evidence of trafficking was found at the site, and outlets as diverse as, the New York Times and Fox News debunked Pizzagate, the story stuck. A December poll of 1,224 US voters found that 9 per cent believed Hillary Clinton was “connected to a child sex ring,” while 19 per cent were not sure. “It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,” Clinton said after the election. “It’s a danger that must be addressed, and addressed quickly.”

Fake news has become a two-part problem: Fictional stories whip from Facebook feeds onto front pages, while right-wing media and government officials—most notably, President Donald J. Trump—level devastating charges against the mainstream media that it is peddling fake news. The COM community is working to take down this two-headed hydra, devising inventive ways to help restore trust in mainstream reporting and give the public new tools for separating fact from fiction. Full Story

Hoax Busters: Indonesia’s front line in the war on fake news

A small army of “hoax busters” in Indonesia is trying to hold the line against a swarm of fake news that threatens to sway millions of voters as the world’s third-biggest democracy heads to the polls.

While many countries fret about the explosion of online falsehoods, observers say Indonesia’s enormous social media audience — and low levels of digital literacy — make its April 17 polls particularly vulnerable.

A whopping 130 million people — about half the population — spend an average of over three hours daily on social media, one of the highest rates globally.

Analysts say much of what they are reading about the 245,000 candidates, who are standing for everything from the presidency to local legislative seats, is untrue.

The online battle is particularly fierce over the reputations of President Joko Widodo, who is running for re-election, and his challenger Prabowo Subianto.

Both are hit daily with false reports and doctored headlines circulated by fans, detractors and for-hire fake news fabricators known as buzzers.

Misinformation emerged in the 2014 election, which Widodo won, said Ari Nurcahyo, a political analyst at the Para Syndicate think tank.

“Now it’s much more difficult to contain so the effect is more destructive, not only for the candidates but also for society,” he said.

“If it’s not dealt with properly then we’ll have serious issues even after the election.”

– Hoaxes, hate speech – Full Story

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