Tag Archives: disinformation

‘Truly Shameful’: Pentagon Ran Secret Anti-Vax Campaign Against China at Height of Covid Pandemic

“I don’t think it’s defensible,” an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth said of the clandestine effort.

By Jake Johnson. Published 6-14-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo:Covid-19 vaccination/flickr/CC

Reuters investigation published Friday revealed that the Pentagon ran a “clandestine operation” aimed at discrediting China’s coronavirus vaccines and treatments, a campaign that U.S. public health experts and others condemned as a cynical ploy that endangered lives for political purposes.

According to Reuters, the Pentagon’s secretive campaign was designed to counter what the U.S. “perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines,” a country that was ravaged by Covid-19. The virus, which killed millions of people globally, was first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

Continue reading
Share Button

‘Sad Day for Free Speech’: Media Matters Layoffs Follow ‘Thermonuclear’ Attack by Elon Musk

“This is how free speech is actually chilled—vengeful dipshit billionaires,” said one media executive, after more than a dozen staffers let go from nonprofit watchdog whose mission is to combat right-wing disinformation and propaganda.

By Jon Queally. Published 5-24-2024 by Common Dreams

Elon Musk, CEO of X, SpaceX and Tesla. Photo: Daniel Oberhaus/flickr//CC

Just months after mega-billionaire Elon Musk launched what he termed a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters for America, the nonprofit media watchdog outfit announced a round of punishing layoffs Thursday which it in part attributed to the financial strain imposed by the legal battle it now faces.

What triggered Musk’s initial outrage in November was MMFA reporting about “pro-Nazi content” on the social media platform X, owned by Musk, appearing alongside ads by prominent corporations in the content stream shown to users.

Continue reading
Share Button

Deepfakes of Black Trump ‘Supporters’ Spark Fresh Calls to Ban AI in Political Ads

“The spread of misinformation and targeted intimidation of Black voters will continue without the proper safeguards,” said Color of Change.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-4-2024 by Common Dreams

This deepfake image of former President Donald Trump with Black “supporters” shows misformed and missing fingers, as well as unintelligble lettering on attire. (Photo: Mark Kaye/X)

Racial justice defenders on Monday renewed calls for banning artificial intelligence in political advertisements after backers of former U.S. President Donald Trump published fake AI-generated images of the presumptive Republican nominee with Black “supporters.”

BBC highlighted numerous deepfakes, including one created by right-wing Florida radio host Mark Kaye showing a smiling Trump embracing happy Black women. On closer inspection, missing or misformed fingers and unintelligible lettering on attire expose the images as fake.

Continue reading
Share Button

Feds ‘All F—king Tied Up in Knots’ Over How to Handle Election Threats

Top CIA, DHS, DOJ, and FBI officials recently gathered to discuss simulations on deepfakes and violence at the polls—and, as one journalist put it, “the results weren’t encouraging.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-9-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Public Policy Institute of California/Facebook

Just nine months away from the U.S. general election, reporting published Friday by CNN suggests the federal government is poorly prepared to respond to “nightmare scenarios,” from violence at the polls to disinformation created with artificial intelligence.

One U.S. official familiar with a previously unreported meeting at the White House Situation Room in December told CNN‘s Sean Lyngaas that in terms of a coordinated federal response to an election-related threat, “we’re all f—king tied up in knots.”

Continue reading
Share Button

Experts ‘Terrified’ of AI-Driven Misinformation ‘Tsunami’ in 2024 Election

“If people don’t ultimately trust information related to an election, democracy just stops working,” said a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 1226-2023 by Common Dreams

An ad for a deepfake video maker. Screenshot: OpenAISee

As 2024 approaches and with it the next U.S. presidential election, experts and advocates are warning about the impact that the spread of artificial intelligence technology will have on the amount and sophistication of misinformation directed at voters.

While falsehoods and conspiracy theories have circulated ahead of previous elections, 2024 marks the first time that it will be easy for anyone to access AI technology that could create a believable deepfake video, photo, or audio clip in seconds, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Continue reading
Share Button

Press Freedom Group Slams Tom Cotton for Boosting ‘Malicious Disinformation’ About Gaza Journalists

The U.S. senator and top Israeli officials have “put journalists’ lives at risk” by seizing on a baseless report, the Freedom of the Press Foundation said.

By Jake Johnson. Published 11-11-2023 by Common Dreams

Senator Tom Cotton. Photo: Michael Vadon/flickr/CC

A U.S.-based press freedom group slammed Republican Sen. Tom Cotton and top Israeli officials on Friday for uncritically boosting a report that falsely suggested Gaza-based photojournalists who were on the scene during Hamas’ deadly attack on southern Israel last month were in some way complicit in the assault.

The report, published on November 8 by the Israeli media watchdog HonestReporting, stated that “judging from the pictures of lynching, kidnapping, and storming of an Israeli kibbutz, it seems like the border has been breached not only physically, but also journalistically.”

Continue reading
Share Button

Trump and Big Tech are setting the tone for a violent 2024 election season

Tech giants’ hands-off approach to disinformation does not bode well at a time of growing political violence

By Chrissy Stroop Published 8-30-2023 by openDemocracy

Photo: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office

Donald Trump turned himself in at Fulton County jail in Georgia on Thursday last week, where he was fingerprinted and had a mugshot taken – just like any other accused felon. Obviously, unlike many others in the same situation, he was immediately able to post bond and leave. Nevertheless, the moment was remarkable: it was the first ever mugshot of a former president.

Back in March, before the various investigations had resulted in any indictments, Trump warned there could be consequences if he was indicted, calling on his supporters to “take back our nation”. No 6 January-style mass action has materialised, but as summer winds down in the northern hemisphere, political threats and violence do seem to be ramping up here in the US.

Continue reading
Share Button

US Billboard Campaign Blasts Fossil Fuel Giants for Causing Extreme Heat

“From Alaska to Maui, our communities are struggling to survive the rapidly worsening impacts of the climate crisis, all the while, Big Oil is raking in billions at our expense.”

By Julia Conley. Published 8-24-2023 by Common Dreams

A billboard in Austin, Texas shows a U.S. map with high temperatures across the nation. (Photo: Fossil Free Media)

As about 111 million people in nearly two dozen states continued to face heat advisories, with temperatures reaching as high at 115°F in some cities, the nonprofit media lab Fossil Free Media unveiled a multicity campaign with one simple goal: ensuring that all Americans understand that the intense heatwaves across much of the country this summer have not been a natural phenomenon, but the result of continued fossil fuel extraction.

Starting Thursday drivers along stretches of highway in Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Fresno, California will pass by prominent billboards displaying a map of record-breaking temperatures that have been recorded across the U.S. this summer.

Continue reading
Share Button

Experts Demand ‘Pause’ on Spread of Artificial Intelligence Until Regulations Imposed

“Businesses are deploying potentially dangerous AI tools faster than their harms can be understood or mitigated,” Public Citizen warns. “History offers no reason to believe that corporations can self-regulate away the known risks.”

By Kenny Stancil. Published 4-18-2023 by Common Dreams

Image: Mike MacKenzie/flickr/CC

“Until meaningful government safeguards are in place to protect the public from the harms of generative AI, we need a pause.”

So says a report on the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) published Tuesday by Public Citizen. Titled Sorry in Advance! Rapid Rush to Deploy Generative AI Risks a Wide Array of Automated Harms, the analysis by researchers Rick Claypool and Cheyenne Hunt aims to “reframe the conversation around generative AI to ensure that the public and policymakers have a say in how these new technologies might upend our lives.”

Continue reading
Share Button

US right exploits Nashville school shooting to marginalize trans people

Right encourages hate towards trans community to avoid focus on gun control – but not everyone is fooled

By Chrissy Stroop  Published 4-5-2023 by openDemocracy

A protest at the Tennessee Capitol for stricter gun laws in the state. Photo: Shannon Watts/Twitter

 So far in 2023, there have been 90 incidents of gunfire at primary and secondary schools in the US. The most recent happened on 27 March at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, a small private Christian school with classes ranging from preschool through to sixth grade (up to 12 years old). The Nashville shooter slaughtered six innocent victims, including three nine-year-olds, before being killed by the police.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, it was the 130th mass shooting of the year, meaning that mass shootings are currently occurring at a rate of about 1.5 per day in the so-called “land of the free”.

Continue reading
Share Button