Lie Machines review in the Washington Post
3 July 2020
Have a look at the coverage of the project’s latest memo on “News and Political Information Consumption in Mexico:”
Monika Glowacki was quoted in a Washington Post article about Mexican fact-checking efforts:.
As part of its deal with electoral authorities to broadcast the debates, Facebook ran a national advertising campaign around news literacy, publishing in newspapers an infographic called “How to Spot Fake News,” similar to ads Facebook ran in India ahead of a big election there. Critics argue that Facebook may have developed too-cozy relationships with candidates and governments in weak democracies, opening the door to bad actors who abuse its service, said Monika Glowacki, a researcher for the Oxford Computational Propaganda Project, who is writing a case study about Mexico. “They invited them in,” she said.
And executives are aware that a broader crackdown can create thorny political questions when Facebook also cultivates relationships with officials, a strategy the company has doubled down on since the U.S. election. Unlike in the United States, where Facebook’s AI systems automatically route most stories to fact-checking organizations, Facebook relies on ordinary people in Mexico to spot questionable posts. Many people flag stories as false simply because they disagree with them, executives said.
Monika also spoke to Reuters about WhatsApp and disinformation:
Facebook’s WhatsApp has also emerged as a favorite destination for those seeking to shape the political conversation. It is popular even in rural areas and uses little mobile data, said Monika Glowacki, a student at the UK-based Oxford Internet Institute who is researching disinformation in Mexico.
Many rumors spread on WhatsApp contain an element of truth, such as a statistic, but will present it in a misleading context to spark fear or emotion, Glowacki said. Some messages appear aimed at reducing voter turnout, and they come with greater credibility than content viewed on social media, Glowacki said.
Al Jazeera ran an interview with Monika during their news coverage of the election:
”Bots and false accounts on Twitter and Facebook are increasingly difficult to detect. They are no longer purely automated, but are instead cyborg, at times, managed by a human who cultivates a history of human account activity to evade suspicion,” says Monika Glowacki from the Oxford Internet Institute.
”News-seeking is moving away from public platforms and into private, one-to-one applications, such as WhatsApp, the most popular texting service in Mexico. This is sinister, because misinformation is seeping into your private life.”