All Misinformation stories

Why academics are creating deepfakes

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Deepfakes — realistic AI-generated audio, video, and images — are denounced as a threat to democracy and society by experts and lawmakers. So why are academics producing research that advances them?

Why it matters: Increasingly accessible tools for creating convincing fake videos are a "deadly virus," said Hany Farid, a digital-forensics expert at Dartmouth. "Worldwide, a lot of governments are worried about this phenomenon. I don't think this has been overblown."

Congress seeks probe of deepfakes

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Three members of Congress today asked the nation’s spymaster to investigate the national security implications of computer-generated video and audio manipulations known as "deepfakes."

Why it matters: The lawmakers — two House Democrats and a Republican — echoed the warnings of experts who say deepfakes could become the next vector for poisonous propaganda and misinformation.

Updated Aug 23, 2018 - Technology

NewsGuard launches first product with help from Microsoft


NewsGuard Technologies, a new service that uses trained journalists to rate thousands of news and information sites, is launching its first product today: web extensions that let users view vetted, non-partisan trust ratings for news and information websites.

Why it matters: It's the first look at the services to be offered by NewsGuard, co-founded by journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz. The labels, which have been researched and assigned by journalists, are being placed on the most trafficked news and information websites in the U.S.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 21, 2018 - Technology

Podcast: Fake News 2.0

Dan discusses the changing face of fake news with Axios media reporter Sara Fischer. In the "Final Two" Dan talks about Uber finaly hiring a CFO and dueling lawsuits surrounding a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

Subscribe to the Axios Pro Rata podcast.

Go deeper: The propaganda war gets sophisticated

Aug 21, 2018 - Technology

Fake News 2.0: The propaganda war gets sophisticated

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Industrial-scale creators of fake news are becoming increasingly savvy in their efforts to avoid new web platform rules, defensive AI and readers on guard for propaganda.

Why it matters: The tactics used by bad actors during the last election cycle have been modified to avoid more sophisticated detection and to take advantage of new technologies, making some of them harder to identify and stop in real-time.

Updated Aug 17, 2018 - Technology

Troll-fighters tackle fake news ahead of the midterms

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A surge of nefarious activity online has created new businesses, research disciplines and newsroom beats focused on studying and combating internet propaganda.

Why it matters: Americans were mostly caught flat-footed by the sophistication of state-sponsored and fringe misinformation attacks leading up to the 2016 election. Now, a variety of groups — from academics to journalists — are mobilizing to try to stay ahead of it.

Aug 16, 2018 - Technology

Senate passes unanimous resolution avowing a free press

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders takes questions during the White House daily briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a uniform decision Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted to "reaffirm the vital and indispensable role the free press serves."

Why it matters: The resolution comes on the heels of a nationwide push by hundreds of local and national newspapers to publish editorials standing up for the press in response to President Trump's claims the press is an "enemy of the people."

48% of Republicans say the "news media is the enemy"

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Image

43% of Republicans — compared to 21% of independents and 12% of Democrats — believe that "the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior," according to a new Ipsos poll provided to The Daily Beast.

The big picture: The results starkly illustrate a growing partisan divide in support for press freedom and faith in fair reporting, but still suggests that measurable skepticism about the media's motives exists on all sides of the political spectrum.

Aug 5, 2018 - Technology

Trump tweets "dangerous & sick" news media can "cause War"

President Trump continued his tirade against the "Fake News" media, a position that has caused ruptures within his immediate family, stating that the media "can also cause War" in a Sunday morning tweet.

"The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!"

Go deeper: Trump's torch-it-all strategy

The impending war over deepfakes

Kim Jong-Un with Elvis. Photoshop: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Researchers are in a pitched battle against deepfakes, the artificial intelligence algorithms that create convincing fake images, audio and video, but it could take years before they invent a system that can sniff out most or all of them, experts tell Axios.

Why it matters: A fake video of a world leader making an incendiary threat could, if widely believed, set off a trade war — or a conventional one. Just as dangerous is the possibility that deepfake technology spreads to the point that people are unwilling to trust video or audio evidence.