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Fake Pentagon attack hoax shows perils of Twitter’s paid verification

To virtually no one’s surprise, the combination of paid blue checks and generative AI makes it all too easy to spread misinformation. On Monday morning, an AI-generated image of an explosion at the Pentagon circulated around the Internet, even though the event didn’t actually happen.

Within about half an hour, the image appeared on a verified Twitter account called “Bloomberg Feed,” which could very easily be mistaken for a real Bloomberg-affiliated account, especially since it had a blue check. That account has since been suspended. Russian state-controlled news network rt As per the screenshot captured by the users before deleting the tweet, the image was also shared. Multiple Twitter accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers, such as deitaone, OSINTdefender And whale chart shared it. even a Indian television network Fake Pentagon explosion reported. It is not immediately clear where this fake photo and news story originated.

It’s not the first time that a fake image has successfully tricked the internet, but the stakes are higher when the fake event is a US government building exploding, rather than the Pope wearing a Balenciaga coat. Some have pointed out that the hoax may have been linked to a 25 basis point move in the S&P 500, but the decline did not last long, and there is no way to prove that it was entirely the result of the hoax. . This phenomenon begs the question of how generative AI might be used to drive the stock market in the future – after all, Reddit did it.

Misinformation is an issue as old as the internet itself, but the simultaneous rise of generative AI and changes to Twitter’s verification system create particularly fertile ground. From the get-go, Twitter owner Elon Musk’s plan to ditch the existing blue checks of his status quo and pay someone for the symbol has been a mess. Even if we know that blue checks no longer indicate legitimacy, it’s hard to break a visual habit you’ve developed for about fifteen years: If you look at an account called “Bloomberg Feed” that has blue checks posting about the attack on the Pentagon, you’re probably predisposed to think it’s real. As it becomes increasingly difficult to spot fake images, we are bound to see more of this type of fake news in the future.

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