The Scoop: Meta hopes to foil election misinformation with AI identification tools

Plus: Swifties and sports gamblers converge at the Super Bowl, rivals come together for new sports network.

It’s an election year and tech will play a big role in how information — and misinformation — about this year’s cycle spreads. In an attempt to get ahead of the issue, social media giant Meta announced that it’s working on tools that can flag AI-generated content on Facebook, Instagram and Threads.

This move comes after the massive spread of misinformation during the 2020 election cycle on Facebook. But these tools don’t exist yet, and there isn’t an industry-wide standard to identify AI-created material. In addition, audio and video content can cause additional complications beyond those of still images, CNBC reports.

Why it matters:  If malicious actors want to spoof a statement from an individual or company, this announcement from Meta shows that the big social companies don’t have much in the way of defenses to stop them at the moment, though they’re working on it.

PR pros always need to be cognizant of their organization’s reputation in public, doubly so now that there’s AI to contend with. It’ll be worth watching to see if Meta can pull off these ambitious content-flagging initiatives, and if other platforms follow in their footsteps, (OpenAI is in on the trend now.) AI isn’t going away, and PR people need to know how it’ll change the social landscape that they’re working in. As AI tech progresses, it may not just be political candidates or celebrities that are the target of deepfakes — companies and their employees will need to stay vigilant as well.

Editor’s Top Reads:

  • ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are joining forces to launch a sports streaming service. Reports state that the as-yet-unnamed product will bundle channels and services together to target sports fans. It’s interesting to see this offering come about for a few reasons. First, as more people cut cable connections, this offering helps sports fans have a one-stop-shop for their viewing habits. Additionally, it’s notable that the three companies behind it are competitors in the sports television space, and looked past that competition to form a juggernaut in the lucrative sports-viewing space. Sometimes collaboration can trump competition in the business world.
  • The Super Bowl this Sunday is set to smash records — and not just because of the action on the field. According to the AP, 68 million people are set to wager on the game. That’s a big number, and they’re getting a little bump from a certain Grammy winner Taylor Swift. “There’s little doubt that sportsbooks will be seeing Swifties sign up that otherwise would not have given sports betting a second thought,” Chris Grove, partner at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming told the AP. Regardless of your thoughts on Swift’s music or the NFL, this is notable because one pop culture phenomenon creates tangible business results for an entire industry during another cultural staple’s biggest day. From a PR perspective, sometimes looking for surrounding trends can help give your voice a much-needed boost.
  • It’s no secret that X has had a tumultuous year, to put it mildly. Soon, the microblogging app is going to have more competition. Bluesky, a decentralized conversation platform that had been invite-only, is gearing up to open to the general public, according to The Verge. “Bluesky thinks there’s still room for another take on what is increasingly looking like the next phase of social networking,” Bluesky CEO Jay Graber told The Verge. Will Bluesky see a migration of major companies and brands when it opens up? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. But anytime a potential landscape change arrives in the world of social media, it’s worth a look.

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.


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