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UN rolls out AI-powered tool to help nations stamp down so-called 'misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech'

Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres (Photo by John Minchillo-Pool/Getty Images)

The United Nations is convinced that "online information pollution is an urgent global challenge" that can be remedied by an AI and a left-leaning cleanup crew.

To stamp out dissenting views and hurtful opinions expressed online, especially those articulated in the form of memes, the U.N. Development Program has produced an AI-powered, speech-policing tool called iVerify "that can be used to identify false information and prevent and mitigate it spread" in concert with the Facebook- and Google-funded fact-checker Meedan, Facebook-owned CrowdTangle, leftist nonprofits, and the George Soros-funded International Fact-Checking Network.

When first peddling the tool, the U.N. cited the Jan. 6 protests in Washington, D.C., as "one of the most visible examples of how the viral spread of misinformation can negatively affect the electoral process," suggesting that iVerify "can help."

According to the UNDP, iVerify provides various regimes "with a support package to enhance identification, monitoring and response capacity to threats to information integrity."

While approved narratives will be better protected and threats better identified, the UNDP promises iVerify "will not be misused in ways that would undermine freedom of expression, freedom of the press or political and social rights."

The UNDP has already beta-tested iVerify in third-world nations, such as Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, and now appears keen to deploy it the world over.

This is how the technology purportedly works:

  • Content is flagged, either manually or automatically, then reviewed by an open-source algorithm, which uses machine learning to establish whether it is "fact-checkable and/or constitutes hate speech";
  • The content's sources are consulted, and the responses are checked against "public data and sources ranging from thematic experts to relevant authorities to ensure all sides of the story are investigated";
  • Three reviewers sign off on "quality control";
  • The content is then presented with a cautionary rating based on the determinations of the reviewers; and
  • Fact-checks can later be updated.

The built-in capacity to "update" fact-checks appears to indicate an acceptance on the part of the designers that this process will inevitably result in false reports and/or inaccurate ratings.

Of course, it's not just "false information" that will be targeted. Disruptive language and unfortunate facts deemed pejorative or discriminatory by a sensitive few will also be "fact-checked."

After all, the "UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech" defines hate speech as "any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor."

According to the U.N., offending content can take the form of cartoons, memes, objects, gestures, and symbols.

Guterres said in June 2019, "Hate speech is in itself an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles."

The Washington Examiner noted that the "digital overlords" are likely to over-regulate speech out of favor with their ostensibly leftist social worldview, highlighting the U.N.'s page on "LGBTQI+" inclusion as an indication of what opinions and facts might ultimately be targeted by iVerify.

The page denounces countries and cultures that take issue with same-sex relationships, transvestism, and gender ideology, as well as with governmental refusals to affirm individuals' rejection of their biological sex with corresponding official documents.

The language-policing made possible by iVerify appears to have long been a priority for U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who stressed while actual wildfires burned that "we must confront bigotry by working to tackle the hate that spreads like wildfire across the internet."

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