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From AI-generated news to verification

The vocabulary of disinformation is spread with the intent to deceive, often as part of a co-ordinated campaign. Misinformation is when false information is unintentionally spread, for instance by repeating a rumour to a friend or reposting an unsubstantiated claim on a social-media platform.

Disinformation is not a new phenomenon, but social media and artificial intelligence (ai) are making it easier to spread lies. A disinformation campaign might try to sway voters in the run-up to an election, turn social groups against one another, undermine scientific research, discredit a business or manipulate share prices. As technology makes the spread of false information ever more complex, disinformation hunters are fighting back—and the language used to talk about disinformation is changing.

In february 2024 America’s State Department revealed that it had uncovered a Russian operation designed to discredit Western-run health programmes in Africa. The operation included spreading rumours that dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, was created by an American ngo, and that Africans who received treatment were being used as test subjects by American military researchers. The campaign, based around a Russian-funded news site, was intended to sow division and harm America’s reputation. Discouraging Africans from seeking health care was collateral damage along the way.

The campaign was brought to light through the work of the Global Engagement Centre, an agency in the us State Department. Once a false story is detected, the agency works with local partners,

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