I-Team 8

Spread of misinformation seen as biggest threat to Indiana voters

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The biggest threat to the Indiana voter ahead of the election is the spread of misinformation or fake news.

That’s according to a virtual election security seminar hosted by the University of Southern California on Tuesday afternoon. The seminar featured former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh and current mayor of Indianapolis, Joe Hogsett.

The Indiana University School of Media has a group tracking fake news on social media. They are using an app called HOAKY, in which researchers are able to pull a sentence or phrase from a story and track the spread of the story across social media.

James Shanahan, dean of the media school at IU, says they are following the first wave of misinformation stories now. He is expecting five or six additional waves of fake news or misleading stories to hit social media before Election Day.

“One thing we are looking at for this period of time and in the election is very simply to track narratives that are emerging on social media that have powerful take up, if you will, across social media,” said Shanahan.

Fake or misleading stories are often planted by groups seeking to create chaos or damage a particular candidate.