Catholics warned against high-tech fake videos that might create war and strife

A journalism expert is warning Catholics about the proliferation of fake videos that are created using high technology, which might incite war and strife.

(Pixabay/pixel2013)The search for truth is important in Catholic faith and thus, people should learn to be discerning of fake news, a journalist said.

Rudolph Bush, the director of journalism from the University of Dallas shared his concerns with the Catholic News Agency. He suggested that a potential scenario where the image of Pope Francis or another Catholic leader could be manipulated using technology to spread a hoax.

"It's very likely to happen, I think, and the consequences could be serious," the journalist said. "Depending on who is targeted by this, depending on how ripe that target is to be manipulated, it could be very damaging," he added.

Called "deepfake" videos, Bush cited one item featuring former U.S. President Barack Obama. In it, Obama said words to insult President Donald Trump and his housing secretary Ben Carson. However, Obama never actually said anything disparaging to these officials, but his image was manipulated and synchronized with the voice of director and actor Jordan Peele.

Peele created the video with Buzzfeed to highlight fake news and raise awareness. Bush said that the video showed how it's quite easy to plant seeds of "distrusts and worries" in today's society because of technology, which could lead to war and strife.

"We live in an age when there is so much false information, at such a volume, that it can be hard to sort out what is true," Bush further said, adding, "We have a responsibility as consumers to verify what is true, and when we understand what is true, to share it with our fellow parishioners."

The journalist advised Catholics to find trusted sources for news and information in their community. He reminded Catholics that searching for the truth is of central importance in Catholicism, as well as journalism. Bush also advised for people to verify the information they read or watch with a critical mind before spreading these online so that they do not also become a party to the spread of misinformation.