Sat. May 25th, 2024

An spate of intimidation-like hoaxes precedes the US election.

By ki0nk Apr20,2024
News

Rick Wilson, a political consultant, was the victim of a horrible prank with overtones of intimidation during this critical election year in the United States. He was woken up in the middle of the night by police officers who were armed to the teeth. This is the mishap that occurred to Rick Wilson.

The term “swatting” refers to the practice of persons calling law authorities to report a fictitious violent crime. In recent months, judges, election officials, and political figures on both sides of the American political spectrum have been victims of “swatting in the United States.” The goal is to incite a violent intervention by the police at the residence of the individual who is the object of the investigation.

“It is difficult to have dozens of police officers around the house with AR-15s (semi-automatic rifles, editor’s note) who come knocking on the door at three in the morning,” Rick Wilson said in an interview with AFP. A former strategist for the Republican Party and a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, which is a group of Republicans who are committed to opposing Donald Trump.

When the man left his home in Florida with his hands up in the air, he had already been the object of such a terrible prank in the past. His statement to the authorities was, “I am the victim of a hoax!”

Despite the fact that the consultant had no idea who could have been responsible for such an operation, they offered a prize of $25,000 for any information that could lead to the identity of the caller or calling parties. According to him, however, the purpose of these individuals is quite clear: “to take the lives of other people.”Regarding the holding of the vote in a highly polarized political context, under the threat of foreign interference as well as disinformation campaigns, these bad hoaxes have revived concerns about the holding of the vote. The presidential election in November, which will see Joe Biden and Donald Trump face off once again, is approaching.

The same method of behavior

This is especially true in light of the fact that a method of operation appears to be developing, which raises concerns about a coordinated operation against political leaders. An individual makes a call to the emergency services in order to “confess” to the intentional killing of his partner and to announce his intention to take his own life. Consequently, this is sufficient to cause the deployment of intervention units that are heavily armed.

In the year 2023, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that they had documented a total of 600 cases of this nature across the nation. The phenomena known as “to be on the rise” first developed in the 2000s and was initially employed for the purpose of harassing celebrities or amongst competing players on the internet.

Tanya Chutkan, the judge who will preside over the hearings at Donald Trump’s federal trial for allegedly criminal attempts to reverse the result of the 2020 election, is one of the individuals who has been targeted in recent months. However, prosecutor Jack Smith, who is in charge of overseeing the prosecutions brought against the former president in two instances, the elected Trumpist Marjorie Taylor Greene or Gabriel Sterling, who is responsible for holding the elections in the crucial state of Georgia, is also involved in the case.

Additionally, Georgia is one of the states in the United States that is working to increase the severity of the punishments that are handed down to those who commit these infractions. During the month of January, members of the Florida legislature introduced a bill that would provide for a maximum sentence of twenty years in jail for a victim who sustains catastrophic injuries as a result of police action.

A campaign that was started after Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who was himself a victim of such a hoax, was the one who started it.

In actuality, however, individuals involved are only recognized and apprehended a very small percentage of the time. It has been suggested by specialists that they employ artificial intelligence capabilities to impersonate the voices of other people, as well as encrypted technologies to conceal their footprints.

“Tracking these individuals is extremely difficult,” said Justin Smith, a member of the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections, which is an organization meant to protect voters and election workers from threats and coercion. Smith made this statement to AFP.

Therefore, in order to lessen the likelihood of them falling victim to such hoaxes, this retired law enforcement officer urges election officials to provide law enforcement with information regarding their place of residence.

Tech companies such as Google and Facebook are coming under increasing scrutiny over the question of whether or not they exercised a enough amount of discretion when removing bogus news. An investigation conducted by Buzzfeed discovered that during the three months leading up to the election, content from fake news websites generated more engagement than information from legitimate news websites. For additional information, Hari Sreenivasan has a conversation with Craig Silverman, the founding editor of BuzzFeed Canada.

As a result of a recent investigation conducted by BuzzFeed, it was discovered that during the final three months of the election, content from hoax websites and hyperpartisan blogs garnered more engagement than information from actual news websites. The number of times that users posted bogus articles, such as this one about Pope Francis praising Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton selling weapons to ISIS, was even higher than the number of times that they shared true stories.

If we are not serious about facts and what is true and what is not, and especially in this age of social media, where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snatches off their phones, if we are unable to differentiate between convincing arguments and propaganda, then we are in a precarious situation.

The first thing that we did was search for the twenty websites that had the most traffic in the three months leading up to the election. These websites may have been websites that published fake news or websites that had published something untrue that later went viral. After that, we looked at the total number of Facebook engagements for those websites.

And this is a total that takes into account the comments, responses, and shares the content has received. On top of that, we made the decision to evaluate those against the top 20 real election news hits from 19 of the most prominent news organizations. What we ended up discovering, which was fairly shocking, was that the engagement on the top 20 false stories was actually higher than what you saw for the real news during the final three months of the election. This was in comparison to the six months that came before that.

It came as a complete surprise to me that the leading fake news website that received the most engagement had only been registered a few months earlier, and that its top four fake stories received more engagement on Facebook than the top four election stories from The Washington Post. I had not anticipated that fake news would receive more engagement than real news in general.

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By ki0nk

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