The use of social media manipulation tools surged by 150% between 2017 and 2019, according to the Oxford Internet Institute. More than 40% of survey respondents feel social media has increased political division and foreign engagement. Furthermore, countries like as Russia invest much in disinformation campaigns each year.
According to new research, intelligence analysts are recruited by governments, internet firms, and anti-disinformation teams to monitor the impacts of online media manipulation. The emergence of deepfakes, according to ExpressVPN, has made it easier to manipulate public opinion through propaganda operations and disseminate disinformation by modifying people’s memory of past events. Deepfakes now number in the millions, with an estimated annual rise rate of 900%.
What Are We Losing By Manipulating The Media?
Misinformation, according to the European Parliament, is anything “created, presented, and disseminated for financial gain or to intentionally mislead the public, and may cause public harm.”
Public Safety and Health
The public’s health and safety are jeopardized. Initial research indicates media manipulation can impact public opinion on contentious matters such as vaccination and experimental cures. Worldwide, there is a significant impact on transmission rates and healthcare systems.
Co-opting social movements, swaying public opinion on global issues such as climate change, and recruiting vulnerable people into terrorism are all examples of how media manipulation may impact public safety. According to the European Parliament, disseminating misleading information threatens individual privacy, democratic liberties, and the right to free speech.
Media manipulation can cause populations to distrust their governments, damage democratic systems, and exacerbate international tensions. According to a report released by the US Department of Justice following the 2016 US presidential election, the Russian Internet Research Agency paid for over 3,500 Facebook ads supporting Trump and managed a network of phony accounts posing as American activists.
The yearly cost of media manipulation to the world economy is $78 billion. The cost includes anything from stock market losses to debunking myths.
Facebook and other tech behemoths have made it apparent that they want to tighten down on media manipulation across their platforms. However, publications published in 2021 show that efforts to analyze and combat social media impact lag behind the pace.
According to the RAND Corporation, most counter-disinformation strategies, including Facebook’s, rely on human and computer analysis, leaving detection gaps at scale.
As if recognizing the troll wasn’t challenging enough, disinformation efforts are well organized, employing bot networks, deep fakes, and advanced AI to maximize spread and escape detection.
Six Guidelines for Recognising Manipulated News Stories
To counteract the negative impacts of media manipulation, one must be able to recognize false information, which is easier said than done. Here are some ideas to help you improve your analysis:
Take note of the citation!
Because different websites utilize different criteria, even seemingly reputable news should be scrutinized. The author deserves to be evaluated by the experts. Is it feasible to ascertain who they are and what they desire?
Consider the subject matter thoughtfully.
Consider the interest in this story that extends beyond the headline. If the information is from a reliable source, double-check its correctness. You can use a fact-checking tool if you have any reservations about a certain issue.
Take a look at the comments below.
According to leaked documents, comments on Facebook posts may play a greater role in disinformation efforts than the posts themselves. False or misleading remarks may go unreported even when published in trusted publications.
Trace its beginnings
Whether or whether visual media corresponds to the period or area stated in the write-up depends on where and when the information was recorded. Articles that utilise photographs without giving the artists credit should not be trusted.
Investigate its origins.
Knowing where and when the information was captured determines whether or not visual media correlates to the period or place specified in the write-up. Articles that use photos without crediting the artists should be avoided.
Use image-search-reverse to your advantage.
Perform a reverse image search to confirm the material’s legitimacy. This assists in detecting unauthorized use of previously obtained images or films.
4 Ways to Avoid Social Media Manipulation
Avoid relying on social media as a source of knowledge.
If it wasn’t obvious before the emergence of COVID-19, it certainly is today. There is a lot of incorrect info on sites like Facebook and YouTube, which may be disastrous. A little question that social media has democratized both the distribution and creation of knowledge. There are both benefits and drawbacks to this, though.
Reduce Your Addiction to Social Media
Even though it seems clear, not everyone follows this rule. Spending less time on social media allows you to focus on what truly matters in life, such as friends, family, and interests, while protecting you from various forms of social media exploitation.
If you simply can’t motivate yourself to do it, you may try downloading an app that will help you. You may regain control of your time and attention using various solutions, from simple blockers and time management apps to high-end productivity software like FocusMe.
Carry Your Pounds
The world’s governments must tighten down on social media and impose stronger regulations. But we can’t just wait things out and hope for the best. Each of us may help in several ways. If you care deeply about this topic, legislators in your region may be pushed to draught or vote on legislation to govern social media. You may create or join a grass-roots movement to impact change from the ground up.