AI fake news sites continue to flood web

Automated websites churning out fake or inaccurate news reports continue to proliferate, with another hundred new examples spotted so far this year alone. That’s according to fresh data from NewsGuard.

The watchdog reports the number of fake news sites as 713. They’re found in 15 languages as diverse as Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Turkish.

A previous report by NewsGuard noted a rise in AI-generated sites making false or unverified claims from just under 50 in May to around 600 in December, a more than tenfold increase across just over half a year.

The further rise since then suggests that the problem continues to trend upwards, meaning news consumers everywhere should be wary.

AI-generated websites previously highlighted by NewsGuard include iBusiness Day, Ireland Top News, and Daily Time Update, which it says are masquerading as established news sites.

NewsGuard believes the purpose of many of these bogus news sites is to generate revenue through “programmatic advertising under which the ad-tech industry delivers ads without regard to the nature or quality of the website.”

Previous fake stories spotted by the watchdog included a fabricated story about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s psychiatrist saying he had died, which was featured on a TV show in Iran and circulated on authentic media sites.

With billions of people across the world, including in the US, expected to go to the polls to elect new leaders in 2024, fears about the spread of disinformation are naturally acute.

“From unreliable AI-generated news outlets operating with little to no human oversight to fabricated images produced by AI image generators, the rollout of generative artificial intelligence tools has been a boon to content farms and misinformation purveyors alike,” said NewsGuard.

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