Jul 18, 2017

​Most people can spot fake stories, but not fake images

Original photo: Vin Cox, CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Photos b–f are derivatives of the original and licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

People think they can spot fake images. They can't. So the fake news battlefield is about to shift from text to images.

From Axios Science editor Alison Snyder: People can detect a fake image of a real-world scene only 60% of the time, and even then can only tell what is wrong with the image 45% of the time, according to research published in the open access journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Those findings are very different from those from a Pew study earlier this year, which found that an overwhelming majority of online users (84%) say they're confident in their ability to spot a fake news story.

Why it matters: As people get smarter about what fake news look like, fake news perpetrators are adapting their techniques from creating false news stories to manipulating real ones. This is often done with doctored headlines, images, videos and sound.

  • Visuals: A Stanford University study shows how new technologies can alter facial expressions in real time to change the context of someone's reactions. Here's an example that a technologist did on George W. Bush's facial expressions during an interview last year — pretty crazy. The Economist recently profiled ways that people with little training or experience can doctor videos in a similar fashion.
  • Audio: Axios' Ina Fried reported earlier this year that Canadian startup Lyrebird is touting technology that can mimic any voice from just 1 minute of recorded audio.
  • Headlines: A conservative group backing a Virginia gubernatorial candidate altered the headline of a local newspaper to misrepresent the truth about an opposing candidate's position, causing the post to go viral.

Our thought bubble: If big internet platforms are having a tough time regulating fake news stories on their platform, imagine the chaos of trying to monitor doctored videos and photos …

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Making sense of the UN's climate conference delay

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The scuttling of November's pivotal UN climate conference is the starkest sign yet of how COVID-19 is throwing a wrench into efforts to combat global warming. But like the wider relationship between the coronavirus and climate initiatives, the ramifications are ... complicated.

Driving the news: UN officials announced Wednesday that the annual summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, is postponed until some unknown time next year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 952,171 — Total deaths: 48,320 — Total recoveries: 202,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 216,722 — Total deaths: 5,137 — Total recoveries: 8,672Map.
  3. Stimulus updates: Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return to receive their checks.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, a staggering number that eclipses the record set on March 26.
  5. Health updates: The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for ACA marketplaces this year.
  6. National updates: The Grand Canyon closed after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. World update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered self-quarantine after his health minister tested positive for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

The weirdest NBA draft ever

Table: Axios Visuals

The 2020 NBA draft was already shaping up to be the weirdest draft in years, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the sports world, it could be the weirdest draft ever.

Why it matters: While most drafts have a clear hierarchy by the time April rolls around, this draft does not. There's no reliable No. 1 pick, almost every top-10 prospect has a glaring weakness and the global sports hiatus has shrouded the whole class in mystery.

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