Disinformation campaigns have weaponized WhatsApp into very real fake news

LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Judging by mainstream media in the U.S., you would think the world is ending because of fake news and Russian trolls on Facebook and Twitter. But around the world, the worst danger posed by the spread of fake news actually happens through private messaging apps. And in countries like India, fake news "danger" is not hyperbole. At least 24 people have been killed by mob lynchings in India this year, caused by rumors that spread on WhatsApp.

With private messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, and Line, people can forward messages to their friends or groups, with no way to determine the origin of the message. These messages are encrypted, so that no one can read messages not intended for them. Supposedly, even employees of these apps can't access the messages.

RELATED: BuzzFeed Writer: Why Can't Google, Facebook Get a Grip on Fake News?

Samantha Bradshaw works for Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Project, which studies disinformation campaigns around the world. The project has found political disinformation campaigns waged through private messaging apps in 10 countries so far this year. Bradshaw says, "The closed platforms can be more dangerous because the information is spreading in these intimate groups of friends and family – people we tend to trust."

Unvetted rumors spread through these apps have turned deadly. In one incident, a group of friends were driving through a village and paused to give chocolate to some local children. Someone started a rumor on WhatsApp that the carful of friends were kidnappers. A mob formed quickly and overwhelmed the group of friends, killing one of them, a 32-year-old man. The man's brother said, "They kept pleading, but nobody listened to them. My brother was killed by fake news."

In Brazil, a fake message claiming that a yellow-fever vaccine was dangerous spread through WhatsApp. So many people avoided the mandatory vaccine that the government had to issue an official warning debunking the claim.

Technology continues to improve so many aspects of life, but it hasn't been able to improve one key thing for mankind: our ability to tell the truth.

WhatsApp was founded by two libertarians with a deep belief in privacy. Their whole concept for the app revolved around not mining and storing information about users. In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. Ironically, the privacy controls that made this and similar apps so appealing, are the very things people are now using to weaponize the app.

Technology continues to improve so many aspects of life, but it hasn't been able to improve one key thing for mankind: our ability to tell the truth.

A recent report from Rolling Stone details a public letter sent to Spotify — signed by "270 physicians and scientists" — demanding that the platform implement a "misinformation policy" in response to Joe Rogan's recent interview with Dr. Robert Malone on “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

"This is absolute fascism," Glenn Beck said on the radio program. "There is no safe space. They're coming after talk radio. They're coming after our podcasts. They're coming after our websites."

Glenn said this is this is just one more example of the left's crackdown on freedom of speech and further prove of their ongoing fight against free thinkers or anybody who wants to have an open conversation that may include ideas contrary to what they believe.

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:


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There is no transparency when it comes to the Biden administration, and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's recent exchange with the FBI’s Jill Sanborn is just another example. When questioned about alleged involvement the FBI had on January 6, 2021, Sanborn refused to answer almost every single time.

Do our government officials still work for us? Take a look at the latest headlines: The DOJ and U.S. Army are preparing for possible conflicts with "domestic terrorists," Biden's education secretary allegedly requested the NSBA letter that suggested treating upset parents like domestic terrorists, and President Biden said if you're not with him on the Democrats' voting bills, then you're with the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the FBI won't tell Congress whether it was involved in the the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the corporate media insists that there's nothing to see here, especially concerning Ray Epps.

The American people are concerned, and it’s "extraordinarily disturbing" how far the federal government goes to avoid answering our questions, Glenn Beck said on the radio program. There's a very odd growing trend here: Our leaders, including the unelected ones, no longer answer to the people. This must stop now.

"The question that I have is, where is the transparency? And is anyone going to be held accountable? They are not afraid of our senators. They are not afraid of Congress," he stated. "This has got to stop. They have got to answer to the law. This is an oversight committee. Who is in charge, the FBI or the people? Once the people are not in charge and are not allowed to see the secret documents, we are toast. Toast!"

Watch the video clip below to hear for more from Glenn:

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Have you ever wondered why so many insane things are happening simultaneously RIGHT NOW? Big corporations are going woke. The stock market got red-hot during a FORCED recession. Stores like Walmart and Target were allowed to stay open during the lockdown, but mom-and-pop stores on Main Street had to close, some of them forever.

On Wednesday's "GlennTV" special, Glenn Beck explains it all in this sneak-peek episode — a primer to his new book and the upcoming explosive, in-depth special: “The Great Reset: Joe Biden & the Rise of 21st-Century Fascism.” Co-author Justin Haskins joins along with Glenn’s head writer and researcher, Jason Buttrill, to answer audience questions about a topic that the media has tried to censor and “fact-check.” You will be equipped with everything you need to know about what the global elites of the world have planned for the transformation of society and YOUR life.

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:


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After new information came out that suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci intimidated and bribed scientists into dismissing the COVID-19 lab-leak theory, Sen. Rand Paul and Fauci got into a heated debate in a Senate hearing. But instead of providing answers, Fauci accused Sen. Paul of endangering him.

Sen. Paul joined "The Glenn Beck Program" Wednesday with his response and explained why he believes "people live in fear of what [Fauci] will do to them."

"It's all about money. If you cross Tony Fauci, you don't get your money. He controls the purse strings for the entire country, the entire university system. And he's been doing it for forty years," Sen. Paul began.

"It's consistent with his arrogance, this level of arrogance that he's developed. He said several weeks ago, that he is science and any attack on him is an attack on science. Yesterday, he said anybody who opposes him is encouraging death threats," he added.

"Look, I've been on the receiving end of semi-automatic gunfire. I was 20 yards away from Steve Scalise when he almost died. I was 10 feet away from a staffer that was shot. And, you know what? The guy doing the shooting was a Bernie Sanders supporter. But not one of us, not one of the Republicans on the ball field, said, 'Oh, it was Bernie Sanders' fault.' But that's the juvenile level of personal attack that Fauci is now stooping to. He is saying that the personal threats he gets are actually the fault of his critics."

Sen. Paul continued, "But the thing is, [Fauci] needs to answer the question. Everything he did in the committee yesterday was misdirection so he didn't have to answer the question. The question was, why did he smear three scientists from Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard? Why did he smear them as fringe epidemiologists? And why did he conspire against Francis Collins to take them down in a very public way? He wouldn't answer the question."

Watch the video clip below to hear more of Glenn's conversation with Sen. Rand Paul:


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