6 ways AI can make political campaigns more deceptive than ever

(The Conversation is an independent, nonprofit source for news, analysis, and commentary from academic experts.)

(The Conversation) Political campaign ads and donor requests have always been deceptive. In 2004, for example, US presidential candidate John Kerry, a Democrat, aired an ad stating that Republican opponent George W. Bush “says sending jobs overseas ‘makes sense’ for America.”

Bush never said such a thing.

The next day Bush responded by publishing an ad saying that Kerry “supports taxes 350 times higher”. This was also a false claim.

These days, the internet is running wild with deceptive political ads. Ads are often shown in the form of surveys and have misleading headlines to print on the ads.

Campaign fundraisers are also riddled with deception. An analysis of 317,366 political emails sent during the 2020 elections in the United States found that phishing was the norm. For example, a campaign manipulates recipients into opening emails by lying about the sender’s identity and using subject lines that trick the recipient into thinking the sender is replying to the donor, or claiming that the email “doesn’t ask for money” but then asks for money. Both Republicans and Democrats do.

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