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Fake News - Tool For Weaponisation


By Arthur Moses Opio

Over time, big institutions like Makerere University have not been spared in regard to Fake News.

We have also found ourselves sharing content that we got on social media quickly without first verifying whether it's true or not. By the time we find out it's not true, the information has already spread like wildfire. Tools to detect what's fake or not-fake aren't readily available and this creates a lot of hard work for communicators to be on the look out or to ensure that there is no space or room for information gaps to be weaponized. Often silence breeds such occurrences because there is no information out there. Such information is also spread in social channels that we might not be using like TikTok, Rumble, Instagram, etc.

With the advent of AI, we will continue to see Fake News rise. All someone has to do is ask Co-Pilot or ChatGPT or any AI tool out there  to generate for them whatever they want. A lot of information we now read online is AI generated. To understand this, you need to be a keen user and you will know the wording and refinements that are different from the everyday person you interact with.

What hackers or scammers have learnt to do over time is to fill the information void and sit in the middle to determine the course of action. This can be done to malice or awaken a people.

Just yesterday, A plethora of Global Media companies kept sharing news of how Trump said there is going to be a bloodbath (This is for educational purposes). This information was taken out of context without quoting the full transcript on the auto industry that he was talking about. Elon Musk picked up the information and said, "Legacy Media Lies".

Legacy Media Lies


Trump, bloodbath
Legacy Media Lies, Metahphor Murderers

According to Anton Konopliov of Redline "Despite most journalists feeling confident in their ability to recognize falsehoods (71% extremely or very confident), over a quarter (26%) of reporters have still unknowingly propagated false information by reporting on stories later proven untrue."

Some of the cases of Fake News we have had are:

"Makerere University offers free online courses(Run on Facebook), laptops, and national certificates and (and scholarships)" The Fake news was sponsored online as an ad under JIn online. It had a fake link attached to it and promised no hidden fees, no age requirement, no academic requirements with the ability to view courses for different ages 15-25, 25-35, 35055 and 55 + years.


Fake Free Online Courses

For another case, it was a sponsored ad by Online course again (This run on Facebook), it had basically the same things as the one above, except that it was using the Mak Logo and they said, "From 2024, online courses offered by University of Namibia will be free and open to everyone. This course offers an accredited university certificate and laptop!" All these communications have a link at the beginning and also embedded within the message. They are only waiting for that margin of error when people click.


Fake Online Course With Mak Logo But Pointing to Namibia

Currently, you could be watching a video shared on WhatsApp and you think it is real. AI is allowing the generation of Deep Fake Videos. Anton Konopliov of Redline says "Deepfake videos are skyrocketing, with over 500,000 estimated on social media in 2023 alone. As this technology improves, visual misinformation could significantly impact elections."

This is not the first time this is happening. With such a big institution trends like this will continue. Social media training remains a core component as it has now become part of the tools for official communication. Hackers aren't sleeping, they are luring naive people to their fake sights and extorting money from vulnerable people. Such trends pick around application times

Just over the weekend, a fake communication from the Dean's Office was also spread online. Being a critical office. Hackers will tend to use information from such powerful offices. It is said, impersonators love using information of CEOs, leaders, etc, because they know such information will be trusted. Swiftly the information was arrested and quick communication let out to let the student community know it was fake news.


FakeNews From Dean's Office.

Battling fake news is a collective effort, it is more than just I.T, there is a lot of psychology behind all this. Teams have to work together because the Mak Brand is a responsibility for all staff.

DICTS continues to do awareness on almost all key social media platforms.

We encourage all of us to  be alert and vigilant.

Let us leave no gap for scammers to weaponise.


Do not hesitate to reach out for any ICT inquiry.

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