Risk of misinformation becoming a ‘pandemic’ in 2022

Experts believe that the battle with disinformation will become more difficult in 2022, but not without a way out.

Mike Caulfield, a researcher at the University of Washington, said conspiracy theories and disinformation like QAnon, Covid-19 and 2020 election manipulation will “get bigger and further away from the truth”.

One reason disinformation is becoming more and more serious is that the government and technology companies have not caught up with the problem. “We still mainly react passively, the cycle of things will only get worse if we don’t stay one step ahead of the problem,” Caulfield asserts.

Fake news continues to be a dilemma in 2022. (Photo: Internet)

In one study, Chris Conner, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, argued that conspiracy theorists no longer trust the government when the social system has let them down in the context. difficult economic life and do not receive appropriate mental health care.

“The right thing to do is listen to people like that and seriously consider what they’re reacting to,” Conner said.

Reaction of social networks

Over the years, social media companies have still largely followed the old ways of dealing with misinformation, such as removing false content, blocking the accounts of influential individuals who are spreading disinformation, and improving social media. Improved reporting system for “flagged” content. Twitter recently permanently banned the personal account of a Republican congressman from Georgia for sharing Covid-related misinformation, but that wasn’t enough.

Meanwhile, experts repeatedly emphasize that social media is also a factor that causes widespread misinformation.

“Social media companies can absolutely continue to suppress these movements, and can sacrifice a small portion of their profits to do the right thing for the greater good,” said Mike Rothschild, researcher Conspiracy theory said, adding that “the QAnon movement is unlikely to have spread if Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were determined to stop it by 2018”.

Meanwhile, media companies insist they have learned from the lessons of 2020 and are preparing for the 2022 elections.

“We are enforcing policies against the removal of voter interference content, and the company will continue to improve its strategies for handling content regarding the constitutionality of voting methods, like claims of voter fraud,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy. “While each election brings its own set of challenges, we are actively applying lessons from previous elections to the 2022 event as well as beyond.”

On the Twitter side, the company has updated its new reporting settings for “tweets” that spread medical and political misinformation. The company affirms its “commitment to improving the integrity of medical conversations”.

YouTube introduces misinformation policies in 2020 and 2021 with the banning of malicious content about Covid vaccines. In 2021, more than 1 million videos were removed. Google’s platform insists on improving the system to completely remove harmful content.

TikTok also began processing disinformation about elections and Covid vaccines in 2020, leading to hundreds of thousands of videos being removed from the platform in 2021.

Social media companies have applied many tools to help individual users identify false information through labeling or information verification articles. One of the other effective actions is simply slowing down certain content as soon as it is published.

Even so, those who spread disinformation or conspiracy theories also find many other platforms to use. Telegram, the encrypted messaging app, has become a haven for QAnon supporters. Rumble and Odyssey are two platforms that contain videos about malicious information and conspiracy theories that have been removed on YouTube.

What to expect in 2022?

Former US President Donald Trump could become the main agent for the spread of misinformation in 2022. In October 2021, Mr. Trump announced that he would launch his own social platform “Truth Social” to counter started with Big Tech.

However, since then, the former US President has rarely mentioned his social network. Although the website still allows creating accounts and waiting lists, a specific launch date of the platform has not been given. Those who wish to keep their usernames must contribute to the Republican National Committee.

Other pro-Trump platforms such as Gab, Parler, Gettr and Frank may not have large user bases, but along with Telegram, it will almost certainly become active around the time of the 2022 US midterm elections.

“If they can convince the majority of the public that the 2022 election is unconstitutional then they can almost get the legislative changes they want,” Caulfield said.

While experts, government agencies, and tech companies are all well aware of how bad disinformation can become, the battle to stop it is still uphill.

Vinh Ngo (According to CNet)

India has the most misinformation on social networks about Covid-19

India has the most misinformation on social networks about Covid-19

According to one study, India (15.94%), the US (9.74%), Brazil (8.57%) and Spain (8.03%). misinformation related to the Covid-19 pandemic.


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