Today’s Tech Sightings:
Cybersecurity officials were on the lookout for potential threats from hackers looking to disrupt the U.S. presidential election as voters went to the polls Tuesday. The high alert came amid concerns that some hackers might try to disrupt voting in key states. Researchers at the University of Michigan said hackers might try to discredit the electoral process in critical states, potentially putting the wrong candidate on top.
You probably don’t stop to ponder when you read a news item about the U.S. presidential election whether it was written by humans or robots. Maybe you should. Bots, or algorithms, or robo-journalists – whatever you want to call them – have been creating data-driven news stories for the past few months for prominent sites that include the Washington Post, the New York Times and many others. Note that in some cases, bots have been driving fake news as well on social media.
Speaking of bots, U.S. President Barack Obama criticized social media sites like Facebook for pushing fake news stories. Facebook automated its Trending section earlier this year, introducing algorithms that have, in several cases, driven fake news stories. Obama said people tend to believe stories they see on social media sites, even when they are spreading lies. A follow-up probe by Buzzfeed found teenagers in Macedonia creating fake stories that go viral on Facebook or telling people to vote by text, which is not the case.
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