Media Duped By AI-Generated Pentagon & White House Explosion Tweets

Media Duped By AI-Generated Pentagon & White House Explosion Tweets

Media outlets were fooled by a verified Twitter account purporting to be part of Bloomberg that claimed there were large explosions outside the Pentagon and the White House.

Tweets from an account called Bloomberg Feed, which had received verification on Twitter via the Twitter Blue subscription service, showed AI-generated images of explosions outside the two most important buildings in the US.

The tweets were picked up by Russia Today which said that there were “reports of an explosion near the Pentagon in Washington DC.”

The tweet was later deleted but, in the time that it was up, it attracted at least 38,000 views and garnered more than 180 retweets.

The images of the explosion appear real at first but, on closer inspection, have the telltale signs of an AI-generated image. The fence at the front of the building is blurred and the columns are different widths. The Arlington Police Department was quick to dispel the fake image on Twitter but it was of no use.

Twitter’s paid-for verification system means that any account can look somewhat believable for the relatively nominal fee of US$8 per month. However, as a result of their verification, these accounts receive preferential treatment from the Twitter algorithm with extended reach and priority listing in replies to tweets from other users.

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has run into problems with its paid-for verification. When Twitter owner Elon Musk launched the new system, users were quick to spoof famous accounts and even Musk himself.

What’s more, the fake images caused a stock market dip. Admittedly, not a big one, just 0.26 per cent, and it quickly recovered.

However, if you were a short-seller, this kind of tweeting, plus some quick fingers on the buy and sell buttons could generate a decent amount of money.




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