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Whatever it was you heard on @MSNBC, it was neither a fart from Swalwell nor a fart from Matthews—but unfortunately it signals something we urgently need to discuss.

Maybe the most unfortunately prompted thread I’ll ever write:
@MSNBC 1/ First, all these journalists should know better. A lav would NEVER pick up something at that volume. A boom...I guess theoretically. If the boom were pointed directly at his nethers.
@MSNBC 2/ They'll try to say Swalwell is lying in the below, but I have good reason to believe him because of the above.
@MSNBC 3/ Now, it definitely was a fart SOUND. And by all accounts it appears to really have occurred live (I didn't personally see it but believe some of the people posting they did).
@MSNBC 4/ I won't pretend I know how that sound got there—but given the amount of people in both the studio & control room who could have managed to sneak access, whether on purpose or on accident—Occam's Razor holds that it was probably somebody on the MSNBC side.
@MSNBC 5/ So...pbly a prank. You may remember what it is to be in your twenties. *Outside* (& I mean OUTSIDE) chance they were somehow hacked.

If you only came here for the fart, now's the time to leave. But—
@MSNBC 6/ —this moment is a playful preface to an issue that could become urgently important to the nation.

If you care about that, read on.
@MSNBC 7/ It's time to talk about shallowfakes & how we are going to respond to them when we are targeted by them.

You may have heard people freaking out about deepfakes—I outline in this thread why they're not especially concerning for the 2020 election cycle.
@MSNBC 8/ So, what's a shallowfake?

A shallowfake is a fancy word for media doctored with simple editing/motion techniques.

Probably the most notable example is the Nancy Pelosi shallowfake from earlier this year.
@MSNBC 9/ Social media is where we live now.

Just look at the response to #fartgate.

Remember—this is occurring amid the third-ever impeachment in American history, with some of the most astonishing revelations of corruption a President has ever committed.
@MSNBC 10/ What concerns me is that we jump on this shit.

We're giving ample evidence that this type of throwaway disinformation media will be WILDLY effective during this election season.
@MSNBC 11/ Audio is the easiest thing to edit. Was true with Pelosi—& even if the Swalwell moment was a real fart, it also would've been super easy to doctor & spread across social media.

Then all these "news" "outlets" could blast it out.
@MSNBC 12/ But it's one thing to just spread farts.

It's another thing to coordinate the *creation* of fake farts—or, say, fake audio of a candidate on the stump, saying something damning—& disseminate that through a pipeline that has been effected over the past 4-5 years.
@MSNBC 13/ Or if, say, a bunch of really important witnesses are going to begin their testimonies *checks calendar* TOMORROW.
@MSNBC 14/ The really dangerous thing about shallowfakes is that they're often so silly/ridiculous (Pelosi sounds druuuunk! Swalwell FARTED!) that it really doesn't matter if reliable people or detection software debunks it within 24 hours. It'll have filled its purpose—to distract us.
@MSNBC 15/ You know, like right now.
@MSNBC 16/ I know I said not to be worried about deepfakes, but turns out I was wrong on one count. The aspect of deepfakes we SHOULD be worried about is the creation of deepfaked audio.

Researchers recently demonstrated how 5 seconds of voice data could reproduce voices.
@MSNBC 17/ Combine that with aforementioned shallowfakery & we're staring down a 2020 election cycle that is going to be absolutely bombarded with disinformation media.
@MSNBC 18/ And unfortunately, this disinformation format is staggeringly effective.

It's social media meth.

So what do we do?
@MSNBC 19/ For starters: we need to keep ourselves accountable. No matter how funny/shocking something is on first blush, consider what it is, the source, & the impact of sharing it

(Look, I'm not trying to be a scold. Farts are fucking hilarious. I laugh at my own on the daily.)
@MSNBC 20/ Most importantly, no matter WHAT it is, in the moment something like this happens in the political sphere, ask yourself what else is going on, and who stands to benefit from distraction at this particular moment.
@MSNBC 21/ Even if it *is* totally serendipitous, it'll gear your mind toward the ongoing national emergency that is our traitorous pres+his cronies.

& if you can pinpoint a motive/source/potential fault in whatever media is being shared, use your voice to debunk it in a civil fashion.
@MSNBC 22/ Social media can be hilarious. I'd never want to take away from that.

But when it comes to political gaffes, we need to be on our guard.

Boomers, Millennials, & Zoomers need to take a note from the Gen Xers over there in the corner, too cool for all this noise.
@MSNBC 23/ Because we've already got the odds stacked against us.

And one way or another, we're going to be barraged with way more of these farts in 2020, friends.
@MSNBC Sorry to be a stinker, but this stuff is important.

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