If you’re worried about AI taking away your job, here’s a new thing to worry about – AI potentially influencing the “news” being reported.
Sadly, this is precisely what happened yesterday. Our cast of characters includes AI, Twitter and Republic, among others.
On Monday, there were multiple tweets about an “explosion” at the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US department of defense in Arlington. A photo of this “explosion” went viral, showing a vast column of black smoke near a building.
It was later revealed that the image was , but the damage was done. Verified accounts were tweeting about the explosion, Russian news outlet RT.
Several Indian news channels then broadcast “live breaking news” coverage of the purported explosion.
Republic TV’s anchor cited RT as the channel’s source. “We do not have any official information about the cause of the blast,” she said. “Right now, reports are coming in from RT especially, there is an explosion near the Pentagon.”
The channel even interviewed an “international affairs expert”, Madhav Das Nalapat, as part of its coverage.
Republic later took down the video, tweeting that it had “pulled back the newsbreak”.
noted that Republic was not alone – media outlets like News18 MP, Times Now Navbharat and Zee News also carried reports on the “explosion”.
The Arlington Fire Department later tweeted saying there was “no explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation”.
This isn’t the first time fake news has made its way to the media – and it’s unlikely to be the last. In March, sections of the media reported on “attacks” on north Indian migrants in Tamil Nadu. None of these “murders” were true, but several news portals mainstreamed the fake news regardless. .