AI Fake News Websites Have Skyrocketed Since May 2023

AI Fake News Websites Have Skyrocketed Since May 2023

The number of fake AI news sites is rising as generative AI is deployed to turbocharge misinformation, raising concerns about the spread of false narratives globally.

In February alone, the number of AI-generated fake news websites reached 739, according to a report by NewsGuard, a platform that is dedicated to tackling and countering misinformation. The websites usually run under generic names like iBusiness Day, Ireland Top News, and Daily Time Update.

Over a 10-fold increase

NewsGuard’s report, titled “Tracking AI-enabled Misinformation,” shows a significant increase in the number of AI-generated fake news websites since last year. The report shows that there were less than 50 AI-generated news sites in May last year.

The figure grew to 600 as of December 2023, before further ballooning to 739 sites as of Feb. 22. This has sparked concerns over the proliferation of fake news and misleading information on the internet.

“The sites have churned out dozens and, in some cases, hundreds of generic articles about a range of subjects, including politics, technology, entertainment, and travel,” said NewsGuard.

One of the main concerns raised under the NewsGuard report is that most of the sites post information exclusively AI-generated, operating with little or no human oversight.

This has raised concerns with calls for collaboration between governments and tech firms to swiftly act in mitigating the spread of fake news and preserving “the integrity of online news sources.”

Also read: U.S. Faces A Deeper Threat From China’s New AI ‘Supermind’

They are diverse too

A look at the sites revealed they are not confined to a specific language but diverse in many ways. According to the report, the sites are publishing content in 15 languages, among them Chinese, Arabic, Dutch, English, Italian, French, German, Korean, Spanish, and many others.

A Cryptopolitan article notes another worrisome trend with regards to fake news sites. According to the article, there are brands that are supporting the sites “through programmatic advertising.” This trend calls for a cautious approach for businesses whenever they place online ads.

“Brands must take measures to exclude untrustworthy sites, ensuring their advertisements do not appear alongside false information,” reads the article.

The lack of vigilance could lead to more such sites sprouting every day, on a larger scale, exposing people to misleading information.

The fabrications

According to NewsGuard, the articles thrive on falsehoods. Some of the false claims contained in the articles include celebrity death hoaxes and misinformation about political leaders.

The articles also contain news about fabricated events, while some old events may appear as recent in the articles, which is also a common feature on these sites.

In one of the startling revelations, the report identifies a Chinese government-run site that uses AI-generated content to spread false narratives.

For example, the news site claims the US has a bio-weapons laboratory in Kazakhstan where it operates, infecting camels “to endanger people in China.”

According to the report, this “highlights the geopolitical implications of AI-generated misinformation and the need for international cooperation to combat the spread of false narratives.”

NewsGuard has underscored the need for readers to be cautious while also emphasizing the need to distinguish between AI-generated fake news and real news. However, there have also been concerns that AI tools are increasingly becoming sophisticated, creating a thin line between real and AI-generated content.

With generative AI gaining traction, it has created an era where chatbots, image creators, and voice cloners can create content that looks “real.”

Now, with the 2024 election, there are fears more such websites will sprout to spread election misinformation and mislead voters.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.