Misinformation lives everywhere. False accounts of events, doctored photos, and purposely misleading news stories are quickly shared and passed around on social media, usually by well-meaning people who don’t know they’re sharing incorrect information. It’s a big problem in the best of times, but the stakes become much higher during a heated crisis like the current Israel-Hamas war. As the violence in and around Gaza has continued to escalate, people are turning to places like X (aka Twitter) for the latest news on the conflict. But they’ve been met with a flood of bad info—old videos, fake photos, and inaccurate reports—that researchers say is unprecedented.
This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with WIRED reporter David Gilbert about how misinformation and disinformation spreads across social media, and how recent changes made by X before the Israel-Hamas war have made the problem even worse. We also talk about how the proliferation of generative artificial intelligence tools is making fake photos and videos look more believable.
Read David and Vittoria Elliot’s WIRED story about how disinformation is getting worse on X. Read David on the role misinformation played in coverage of the recent Gaza hospital explosion. Also read David’s story about how posts by X owner Elon Musk are seemingly making the platform’s misinformation problems worse.
David Gilbert can be found on social media @daithaigilbert. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.
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