Fake Image of Explosion Near Pentagon Unsettles Stock Markets as Concerns Grow Over AI's Flip Side

The fake news compelled Pentagon to issue clarification

A fake image of Pentagon went viral, sending jitters of another 9/11 like terror attack in Washington. It even sent the stock market into panic, leading to a selloff. The social media rumor spread so fast that even Pentagon had to officially clarify that there was no such explosion.

fake image of pentagon explosion

The image that seems the work of Artificial Intelligence again brought forward the flip side of the generative AI models. The fake news has its roots in two tweets made at 10.09 am local time. The earliest tweet found by AFP sharing the Pentagon image came from a QAnon-promoting account that has previously shared disinformation, though the original source of the image was not known.

"We can confirm this was a false report and the Pentagon was not attacked today," a spokesman for the Pentagon said. The Arlington, Virginia fire department also responded, posting on social media that there were no explosions at or near the Pentagon.

The fake photo, which showed smoke billowing outside the Pentagon, was also shared by Russian state media outlet and other accounts alongside claims that an explosion has occurred at the complex, according to the New York Post.

The misleading image also unsettled the stock market for a few minutes, with the S&P 500 dropping 0.29 percent from its Friday close before paring the initial losses.

Emerging generative AI technologies have raised a concern as they enable non-specialists to create convincing images in a matter of seconds, rather than requiring the expertise required to use programs like Photoshop making such jobs easy for miscreants.

Previously, social media users were tricked by viral AI-generated images of Pope Francis wearing a Balenciaga puffer jacket and of former President Donald Trump clashing with the NYPD while being arrested. I

n March, tech-billionaire Elon Musk and over 1000 experts called for a six-month moratorium on the development of advanced AI until proper safety guidelines were in place, citing the spread of misinformation as a key motivation.

Dr Hinton 'The Godfather of AI" had also warned that AI will become more dangerous in the future — with "bad actors" potentially exploiting advanced systems "for bad things" that will be hard to prevent."

Related topics : Fake news