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Election Fuelled Misinformation: A Serious Global Risk, Warns World Economic Forum

Election misinformation global risk

This year is the year of many elections around the world. This, plus two ongoing wars, could make it a year of misinformation and disinformation is a global risk according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Over the next two years, close to three billion people will vote in several economies, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As per the World Economic Forum, widespread use of misinformation and disinformation, as well as tools to spread them, could undermine the legitimacy of newly elected governments, resulting in violent protests, hate crimes, civil wars, and terrorist attacks.

As well as sanctions, cyber offenses, and detentions, state-backed campaigns can add fuel to the fire in the form of detentions based on nationality, ethnicity, or religion, the report says.

The world is becoming increasingly polarized

As the third-most severe short-term risk, societal polarization features among the top three risks for both the current and two-year horizons.

An influential set of risk factors, social polarisation is interconnected with economic downturns and can serve as a driving force behind numerous consequences.

As a result of polarization and economic hardship, trust and a sense of shared values are diminishing. The erosion of social cohesion leaves plenty of room for new and evolving risks to emerge.

According to WEF, the truth will come under pressure as polarization increases and technological risks remain unchecked.

Propaganda and censorship will rise as truth is undermined. “Governments may become increasingly empowered to control information based on what they determine to be “true”, the World Economic Forum warns.

Misinformation highway powered by artificial intelligence-Election misinformation global risk

AI is leading misinformation highway, driving more and more factors into it. Who is affecting the truth? Besides being quite effective at generating believable content, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to discern, even for the digitally educated consumer and detection mechanisms. On top of that, artificial intelligence hallucinated content is being added.

AI-generated misinformation and disinformation ranked second after extreme weather conditions that could rock the calendar year in the survey. According to the report, such information can still be emotively powerful, blurring the line between benign and malign uses.

Even if the platform on which it is shared warns that it is fabricated content, an AI-generated election campaign video or misinformation is a global risk or could influence voters and fuel protests, or in more extreme scenarios, leads to violence or radicalization.

Over the next two years, synthetic content will manipulate individuals, damage economies, and fracture societies in a variety of ways. It will also lead to the proliferation of new forms of crime, like non-consensual deepfake pornography, or stock market manipulation.

While election misinformation and disinformation threaten societies and it is a global risk as per world economic forum, some governments may act too slowly as a result of the insidious spread of misinformation and disinformation, which poses a trade-off between protecting free speech and preventing misinformation, while repressive governments may use improved regulatory controls to undermine human rights, according to the World Economic Forum report.

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Editorial Director
I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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