The damage deep-fakes inflict on democracy


There are three important initiatives that could play a key role in helping to contain the damage that deep-fakes inflict on democracy, according to Clint Watts, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, and Tim Hwang, the program chair of COGSEC, a group focused on investigating and thwarting online influence operations:

  • First, the public needs an early warning system that can operate as a kind of air-raid siren for signaling coordinated online disinformation efforts. Universities, online platforms and civil society organizations should be coordinating to create a unified structure for signaling to the broader public when significant media manipulation campaigns are underway. This is more than just another fact-checking initiative: the aim would be to provide up-to-date information about evolving threats and the techniques being used to spread them.
  • Second, we should recognize that disinformation is, at its core, a human problem, not a technological one. “Fake news” detection algorithms and institutions that are already distrusted by the public will not be able to save the day. Instead, we need to urge citizens to participate in a nationwide corps of “disinformation field medics” who will be able to monitor social media chatter in their regions and provide fast responses to counter the spread of hoaxes. Libraries, community organizations and local journalists are all groups that can play a big role in the post-election period.

  • Third, social media companies, recognizing that recent fakes have been widely distributed by social media influencers with large followings, could preemptively issue warnings, which they can then follow up with temporary bans or even permanent de-platforming during this delicate period…..they write for The Post. RTWT

The National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies asked five leading experts about the role that deep-fakes and other emerging applications may play in the disinformation landscape. RTWT.

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