Study finds real explosion in fake news across the globe

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By Craig Timberg | Washington Post

Campaigns to manipulate public opinion through false or misleading social media postings have become standard political practice across much of the world, with information ministries, specialized military units and political operatives shaping the flow of information in dozens of countries, a British research group reported Monday.

These propaganda efforts exploit every major social media platform — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and beyond — and rely on both human users and computerized “bots” that can dramatically amplify the power of disinformation campaigns by automating the process of preparing and delivering posts. Bots interact with human users and also with other bots.

Though most social media platforms are designed and run by corporations based the United States, the platforms are infiltrated almost immediately upon their release to the public by a range of international actors skilled at using information to advance political agendas, both within their own countries and often beyond, said the researchers from Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Research Project.



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