How to Manage Misinformation During an Election

Do you know how to spot fake news and misinformation? As the UK General Election approaches make sure you know how to fact-check with these top tips!

Misinformation in an Election

Misinformation can have a major impact on peoples decisions and opinions, especially during an election. Here are four types of misinformation you may come across during the election period.

1. Synthetic Media is a term used to describe any type of content, video, image, text or voice that has been partially or fully generated using artificial intelligence (AI).

2. Deepfakes could be an image, piece of audio or a video that has been created using AI technology. For example, someone could take a video of a celebrity and use this technology to change what they’ve said or where they are in the scene.

3. Misinformation is false or inaccurate information.

4. Disinformation is false information which has been made deliberately – knowingly or intentionally spreading false information.

What impact could these have on a general election?

Many social media users have been pushed videos including false stories about political leaders and parody videos about policy announcements which could mislead people and cause them to believe things that aren’t true.

How do you fact-check?

Here are some tips to help you identify if the information you’re reading or watching is accurate:

  • Does the story make sense? If the story or information seems unlikely, or beyond belief, this could be a sign or misinformation. Compare it with other reliable news outlets to ensure they’re telling the truth.
  • Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes. Often a sign that information is inaccurate is when it is low quality, with spelling and grammar mistakes. Reliable sources will have editors to remove these kinds of errors.
  • If the source is a social media account, check that it is reliable. Look at what has been posted previously on the account. If they have low followers, the account has been created recently or this is one of the accounts first posts, this could be a sign that they are not a credible source.

Of course with new technology like advanced AI, deepfakes are also likely to show up before the election of potential candidates, here’s a few tips that might make some easier to spot:

  • Have a close look at the background. Are signs or road markings in the background distorted in some way?
  • Does the photo or video have a slightly unreal sheen, without any obvious natural blemishes?
  • If you’re unsure a video is genuine, you can double-check it with a quick web search to see if it’s been posted by other trusted media outlets.
  • If someone says something important in the video, see if other reliable outlets are talking about it.

AI has come a long way in just the last year, which means deepfakes will get harder to detect. This is why it’s important to get your information from a variety of reliable news sources before sharing it with others.

For more information on fact checking and credible fact-checking websites see our related page.

You can also check out our page with all the info you’ll need for the upcoming UK General Election.

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