News and Commentary

X flooded with falsified and graphic content around Israel-Hamas conflict: Posts spreading falsified and graphic content around hostilities between Israel and Hamas have flooded X (formerly Twitter)—including improperly labeled footage from other conflicts and graphic images and videos, some of which have been posted by Hamas. The European Union has opened an investigation into the site’s compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA) over the handling of disinformation around the conflict. Senior Fellow Bret Schafer said, “None of this is new or unique to this war. In every conflict, social media is flooded with falsehoods and manipulated media. The difference here is that X has spent the past year actively working to dismantle its ability to effectively moderate content, which now puts it at significant risk under the obligations required by the DSA and the United Kingdom’s Online Safety Bill.”

Amazon’s Alexa relays false election fraud claims: Amazon’s popular voice assistant Alexa responds with false claims that the 2020 US presidential election was “stolen” when asked about fraud in the race, citing far-right sites like Rumble or newsletter services like Substack. Senior Fellow David Levine told the Dispatch, “Alexa’s false claims about the 2020 election are simply the latest indication of how widespread and pernicious these baseless allegations about US elections have become. Companies that promote technologies like voice assistants as authoritative sources of information need to ensure there are sufficient safeguards in place to avoid amplifying falsehoods in empirically-based realms such as elections. Otherwise, they risk doing far more to harm US elections and democracy than to help them.”

In Case You Missed It

  • Iran, Russia, and other states’ cyber operations have increasingly become more aggressive and sophisticated, pairing computer breaches with disinformation campaigns to advance geopolitical goals, according to Microsoft’s new digital defense report.
  • Sixteen members of the US House and Senate asked President Biden to pass an executive order enshrining into law a set of guidelines governing the design and use of artificial intelligence.
  • The United States and European Union are negotiating the imposition of higher tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from “non-market” countries like China, according to an internal European Commission document.
  • China’s government plans to increase the country’s computing power by 50% by 2025 to keep pace with the United States’ supercomputing and artificial intelligence capabilities.
  • Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that the late Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was behind coup attempts to oust her, using various methods like smuggling money into the country to bribe voters and encouraging violent protests.
  • Vietnam’s government attempted to plant Predator spyware on the phones of multiple prominent US congresspeople, CNN journalists, and think-tank researchers through posts on X, according to a European Investigative Collaborations investigation.

ASD in the News

Time to go big on Ukraine aid. Senior Fellow Josh Rudolph wrote in The Hill

Ballot drop boxes fuel election fraud conspiracy theories. Two Democrats just made those claims. Senior Fellow quoted in AP News

Alabama is creating its own voter database. Experts aren’t sure that’s wise. Senior Fellow David Levine quoted in Alabama Reflector

Wirtschaftskrieg: Washington fordert Huawei-Bann (Washington calls for Huawei ban). Senior Fellow Lindsay Gorman quoted in Junge Welt

Drop boxes have become key to election conspiracy theories. Two Democrats just fueled those claims. Senior Fellow David Levine quoted in KHQ

Alimentos, la apuesta de desgaste de Putin (Food, Putin’s attrition bet). Co-Managing Director David Salvo quoted in El Universal

Battling corruption in Ukraine. ASD research quoted in Financial Times’ “Europe Express” Newsletter

Republicans still don’t know how to talk to young voters online. ASD research quoted in TechCrunch

Quote of the Week

“The United States will be able to stay focused on our partnership and commitment to Israel’s security, while also meeting our commitments and promise to continue supporting Ukraine.”

—US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said on October 10 at a special briefing in Brussels, Belgium.

The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.