Doctored Photo Hurts the Stock Market

Orson Well’s put all of America in a panic with his 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast about a Martian alien invasion from outer space that people believed was real. 

On May 22, an image began going viral on social media that depicted thick black smoke emanating from the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., that many thought was an attack or a possible explosion.

After the U.S. stock exchange dropped about 80 points, the S&P went down 0.26 percent in about 4 minutes until the Twitter posted photo was revealed to be a fake created by someone using Artificial Intelligence or Photoshop. 

The finger-pointing was immediate. The media began questioning Twitter and Elon Musk’s new verification policy capable of telling who’s an actual celebrity and who’s an impersonator. 

This blowup would suggest that Twitter’s system has some possible credibility issues and concerns when determining the validity of images. 

Twitter users didn’t take long to poke holes in the poor image quality. One Twitter user, whose Twitter name is OSINTdefender, points out how A.I. can be used in harmful ways.

Twitter has long been a trusted source for news media, and several outlets ran with this fabricated image and will have to retract the poor reporting. This event will damage Twitter’s credibility, especially with the increased suspicion of Artificial Intelligence.

The executive director of Witness, a human rights organization, said that rudimentary analysis could detect fakes, but the images circulate rapidly through social media. People share things that may not be right but feel and look right to them. 

The Arlington Fire Department Captain, Nate Hiner, said he was advised about the photo, but there were no calls after the image was posted to Twitter. No fire calls, medical calls, no incidents of any kind were reported. 

He also questioned that the building in the photo didn’t resemble the Pentagon. He stated there’s no building he knows of that looks like that anywhere in Arlington.