The options of using generative artificial intelligence like ChatGPT should lead to a new focus on fact checking. Chatbots use algorithms to scrape the internet for information, in worst case including disinformation, and create plausible, but not necessarily correct, answers. And trust is in short supply. Half of Americans do not trust their national news media according to a new survey by Gallup and Knight Foundation.
A survey by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in the US shows 72% of Americans expect AI will be used to write entire news articles. 78% said this would be a bad thing.
New initiatives for fact checking to fight misinformation have been launched recently. International Press Institute (IPI), Taz and Faktograf have launched Decoding Disinformation Playbook.
Google’s Jigsaw project announced, after good results in Eastern Europe, that it will launch a new campaign to make people aware of the risks with disinformation.
Poynter Institute published a test of ChatGPT stressing the need for fact checking and editing. Asking the bot why it does not give sources for “facts” in its summaries about various subjects, the bot itself explained:
“I am a machine learning model that was last trained on new data in 2021. I don’t have the ability to provide sources as I don’t have access to the internet. My knowledge is based on the data that was used to train me.”
Google’s Jigsaw is working together with German NGOs and disinformation experts for a prebunking campaign in Germany. A similar one is planned for India.
The campaign includes a series of short videos highlighting the techniques common to many misleading claims. The videos will appear as advertisements on platforms like Facebook, YouTube and TikTok in Germany.
The idea is to teach people how to spot false claims before they find them in online texts, in social media conversations etc.
“There’s a real appetite for solutions,” Beth Goldberg, head of research and development at Jigsaw, told news agency AP. “Using ads as a vehicle to counter a disinformation technique is pretty novel. And we’re excited about the results.”
The IPI, Taz, and Faktograf are working together to decode populist propaganda in Europe.
The Decoding Disinformation podcast series is about exposing disinformation but it is also about how a group of journalists are investigating the strategies used by populists and extremist groups to divert attention from facts, create noise and, ultimately, generate uncertainty, International Press Institute says.
The Gallup/Knight Foundation survey shows that:
- Only 26% of Americans have a favourable opinion of the news media, the lowest level Gallup and Knight have recorded in the past five years, while 53% hold an unfavourable view.
- Young people continue to hold more negative perceptions of the news media than older generations, confirming previous findings.
- While 72% say national news organizations have the resources and opportunity to report the news accurately and fairly to the public, only 35% say most national news organizations can be relied on to deliver the information they need.
- Thirty-five percent say most national news organizations care about how their reporting affects American society, culture and politics; fewer (23%) believe most national news organizations care about the best interests of their readers, viewers and listeners.
- Fifty percent of Americans feel most national news organizations intend to mislead, misinform or persuade the public.