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.

An Afghan interpreter who helped save then-Sen. Joe Biden's life in 2008 was among those stranded in Afghanistan after Biden's troop withdrawal. He has now escaped the country with his family, but not with President Biden's help.

Thanks to private organizations, including The Nazarene Fund, the interpreter and his family have now been rescued.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn Beck share the details:

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A shocking new report by The Daily Wire reveals that the furious father whose arrest at a school board meeting likely sparked the call for the FBI to investigate anti-CRT parents like domestic terrorists was furious for good reasons: The Loudoun County School Board allegedly tried to cover up his daughter's rape.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss the incident and explain why he joined 60 lawmakers in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers for why the FBI is targeting parents.

"We want to know ... what kind of coordination took place between the White House, activist groups and teachers unions, and the Department of Justice," Stewart told Glenn. "Because we have evidence that there was [coordination] and, in fact, that the White House are the ones who initiated this. They asked for these activist groups to write this inflammatory letter to the Department of Justice saying they were 'intimidated' and that they 'felt threatened', giving the Department of Justice Attorney General Garland, the excuse to say, 'Okay, well, we have to respond'."

Stewart went on to say he believes the federal government would only involve the FBI in such an issue if its purpose is to silence and intimidate parents concerned about the "poison" being taught to their kids in school. So, what can he and the other representatives who disagree with the Biden administration's overreach of power do to stop it?

Watch the video clip below to hear Stewart explain:

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Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu is now warning that his nation is preparing for war with China after Beijing flew a record number of warplanes over Taiwanese territory. Wu reached out to another country for help, but it wasn't the United States.

In a video, Wu urged Australia to help prepare for a possible invasion, but gave the U.S. no mention.

"The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that. And if China is going to launch a war against Taiwan, we will fight until the end. And that is our commitment. And, of course, during this period of time, we would like to exchange with other countries for security cooperation," Wu said on ABC News In-depth's China Tonight program. "We would like to engage in security or intelligence exchanges with other like-minded partners, Australia included, so that Taiwan is better prepared to deal with the war situation. And so far, our relations with Australia is very good. And that is what we appreciate it for."

On "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn, Pat Gray, and Stu Burguiere discussed whether or not America would do anything during such a conflict — because it sure seems like President Joe Biden is more focused on working with China to fight climate change. Plus, why did China just cut off all cryptocurrency?

Watch the video clip below to catch the conversation:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On "Glenn TV" tonight, Glenn Beck heads to the chalkboard to reveal how the fundamental transformation of America has already begun by turning the Declaration of Independence upside down.

If Donald Trump was a dictator, then what do we call President Biden? In Biden's first nine months in office, he has already issued 64 executive orders – that's more than Trump, Obama, W. Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan each issued in their entire first years in office.

You never hear the Left talk about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights any more, unless it's to "reimagine" the Constitution or slap a "harmful content" warning on our founding documents. Seriously. The National Archives said while its website label wasn't targeting the Constitution specifically, "some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions." The Left finds basic, guaranteed rights so offensive they now spend all of their time on workarounds to deal with America's annoying founding documents.

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below to see Glenn outline the aggressive unconstitutional abuses "King Biden" is jamming down our throats and teaches Americans how we can defend against presidential tyranny.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.