Today with rapid advances in artificial intelligence it is increasingly becoming difficult to tell the difference. Researchers from Copenhagen Business School decided to conduct an experiment with 375 participants to test the difficulty in distinguishing between real and fake social media profiles.
They found participants were unable to differentiate between artificially generated fake Twitter accounts and real ones, and in fact, perceived the fake accounts to be less likely to be fake than the genuine ones.
The researchers created their own mock twitter feed where the topic was the war in Ukraine. The feed included real and generated profiles with tweets supporting both sides. The fake profiles used computer-generated synthetic profile pictures created with StyleGAN, and posts generated by GPT-3, the same language model that is behind ChatGPT.
“Interestingly, the most divisive accounts on questions of accuracy and likelihood belonged to the genuine humans. One of the real profiles was mislabelled as fake by 41.5% of the participants who saw it. Meanwhile, one of the best-performing fake profiles was only labelled as a bot by 10%,” says Sippo Rossi, a PhD Fellow from the Centre for Business Data Analytics at the Department of Digitalisation at Copenhagen Business School.
“Our findings suggest that the technology for creating generated fake profiles has advanced to such a point that it is difficult to distinguish them from real profiles,” he adds.
The research was published in the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS)