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Did you click on this article because of its catchy title and sexy photo? Or worse, did you share it without knowing the content? If so, you’ve just fallen victim to clickbait (Click the bait), your promising headline has caught your attention, but it is completely false.

There is evidence that “people are the weak link in cybersecurity”. A sentence carried out by Asma Aamour, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at the University of Montreal.

A researcher specializing in information security and artificial intelligence, she recently published a prof condition which measures fake news, disinformation, and disinformation in social media.

In particular, she dissects the different types of fake news, such as Click the bait (considered to be the least harmful), sarcasm (a form of humor that presents untrue news with the intent of ridiculing it), hoax (false or inaccurate news deliberately fabricated to conceal the truth), propaganda, rumor (vague or unsubstantiated claims) or theories plot.

“It is important to know the different categories of fake news in order to know how to distinguish between them and then be wary of them,” says Esma Aïmeur.

Because that is the gist of his talk: the only way to combat misinformation in social media is through education, awareness, and public vigilance.

Man is the real troublemaker

Asma Aamour is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at the University of Montreal

For Esma Aïmeur, lack of user awareness is the problem at the root of fake news and disinformation in social media.

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Recent statistics show that the proportion of unwitting spreaders of false news—those who share it without intending to mislead—is five times higher than that of intentional spreaders, the researcher notes. Moreover, the percentage of people who are confident in their ability to distinguish fact from fiction is ten times higher than the percentage of people who are not confident in the truth of what they are sharing.

In short, users share false content without their knowledge, but they are convinced of the quality of this information. So the problem is not just the bad faith of the individuals, but rather their lack of critical thinking, sums up Asma Amor.

To rectify the situation, the teacher is of the opinion that this online mindfulness should be taught from elementary school and throughout life. “Anyone can spot fake news. But only if they are told about it, if they are paying attention and if they know not to take everything you read or hear for granted. To use powerful tools like social media, one must first be aware of their dangers.” One hour of conference on cyber security is not enough, these topics must be included in all teaching programmes,” she insists.

Same story for the ChatGPT chatbot, and some of its posts are false or fanciful: Information should be taken with caution and include critical thinking.

Esma Aïmeur adds that it is necessary to check the source of the information by looking for signs such as misspellings, insecure addresses, recently created websites, urgent and urgent emails, etc.

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Could other technologies be useful?

Thus recognizing and detecting fake news remains a major unsolved challenge. Apart from a sharp critical mind, what means do we have to achieve this?

From the very beginning, Esma Aïmeur mentioned that artificial intelligence systems, such as machine learning and deep learning, are not yet able to help us in this regard.

On the contrary, these methods can sometimes be used to trick people into creating and posting fake content. Let’s think specifically about hyperfakes (Deepfake), which successfully fake facial expressions in videos, or collaborative filtering algorithms, which predict content users might like based on other users with similar tastes. Information bubbles are then formed as the content reinforces the users in their beliefs and opinions.

However, Esma Aïmeur points out that some online resources can help netizens separate the wheat from the chaff. For example, sites like reality checkAnd PolitiFact or snopes They are standards for online fact-checking and factual accuracy. NewsGuard, which is a web browser extension, that rates the overall credibility of a site. Google reverse image and location search feature TinEye It also allows you to find the source of the image on social media and LinkedIn checks the professional background of the author.

Fake news can feed fears, reinforce prejudice, erode public confidence in democracy, spread confusion, and incite hatred and discrimination. Let’s educate people, do prevention, because when it comes to cybersecurity, we’re going straight to the wall if we don’t act now,” the researcher concludes.

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