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Expert Spotlight - Electoral Misinformation and Disinformation

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In the lead up to the UK Elections, experts got together to discuss the topic of disinformation and misinformation during election times

During a year of elections across the world, and as we approach election day in the UK on 4th July, experts from Frazer-Nash’s Behavioural Science and Psychology Unit and Sam Stockwell from the Centre for Emerging Technology and Security (CETaS), got together in mid-June to discuss the topic of disinformation and misinformation during election times.

The discussions provide an insight to a complex and multifaceted issue that can potentially impact democratic processes, the risks, and the solutions available that are crucial for safeguarding the integrity of elections.

Disinformation versus Misinformation

This discussion explores:

  • The differences between disinformation and misinformation
  • The perpetrators and their motives
  • How this information is shared and what the effect might be
  • The risks disinformation and misinformation could pose to the election process
  • The complexity of identifying ‘real’ versus ‘fake’
  • Ways to protect yourself

Fake and Reality

This discussion explores:

  • The variety of methods used to spread disinformation and misinformation
  • The exploitation of social media platforms, fake news websites, and deepfake technology to disseminate misleading information
  • How can we recognise fake news and what can we do about it?
  • The importance of critical thinking and media literacy
  • Cognitive bias
  • Strategies to identify and curb the dissemination of false information

Meet The Experts

Dr Heather Taylor

Dr Heather Taylor leads Frazer-Nash’s Applied Human Sciences team. Heather is a Chartered Psychologist specialising in Cognitive and Behavioural Psychology, experience that she applies to the behavioural background of Artificial Intelligence.

Dr Emma Bradford

Dr Emma Bradford is Principal Consultant in Frazer Nash’s Behavioural Science and Psychology Unit. Emma is a Chartered Psychologist with extensive experience in the Defence and Security sector, and specialises in the psychology of Artificial Intelligence and Socio-Cyber Security.

Sam Stockwell

Sam Stockwell is Research Associate at the Centre for Emerging Technology and Security (CETaS) - The Alan Turing Institute. His research interests focus on the intersection between national security and the online domain, particularly in relation to countering radicalisation and violent extremism through both policy and technical solutions.

Sam is a contributor to the recently published briefing paper ‘AI-Enabled Influence Operations: The threat to the UK General Election’.

The Briefing Paper provides an evidence-based analysis of AI-enabled influence operations that have the potential to undermine the upcoming UK general election, as well as other upcoming democratic elections.