Facebook and Twitter were major sources of misinformation spread in 2016, and now a New York University study warns of the high risk that Instagram and WhatsApp will be used similarly in the 2020 US presidential election, MIT says. Tech Review.
As early as 2018, a report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee revealed that Instagram was an essential tool in spreading Russian disinformation campaigns. According to Bloomberg, research results indicate that the Russian Research Agency, the troll farm who sought to share American opinion through fake news and memes, managed to get more engagement on this social network than on Facebook.
"Instagram did not have the same capabilities for identifying false information as Facebook," said Paul Barrett, author of the report "Disinformation and the 2020 Election: How the Social Media Industry Should Prepare." Already the misinformation levels recorded in WhatsApp were able to influence both the Brazilian and the Indian electorate, as revealed by the BBC.
Both platforms have been taking increasingly serious steps to curb the spread of misinformation. On the one hand, in August this year, Instagram began testing a tool that signals possibly false information. On the other hand, in January, WhatsApp limited the number of groups a user can message, and three months later , have launched a feature that allows you to search for any image received.
However, for Barrett, such measures are not enough. The New York University researcher believes that Instagram should adopt the same type of verification tools used by Facebook, and WhatsApp needs to limit the number of groups a user can reroute. messages to only one.
Disinformation campaigns from Russia are just one of the potential threats to democracy. According to the report, electoral division maneuvers, similar to the American case, may also come from China or Iran.