Now we know how deeply the online sphere is polluted with damaging fakery at election time. In our cover story, James Ball sounds the alarm over the next stage in the web of lies, videos known as ‘deepfakes’ in which anyone can be convincingly made to say just about anything. Without swift action, the future may be one where no one believes anything online. Emily Taylor looks at the huge challenge of individual states regulating a global network. It will not be easy, she says, but the time has come for the state to find ways to protect its citizens from online harm.
Hate speech also features in Michael Vatikiotis’s article on Southeast Asia. The region seems to be blessed with all the qualities needed for a bright future, but the rise of identity politics is undermining that. From Indonesia to Myanmar, relations between Buddhists and Muslims are soured by politicians seeking easy slogans to win votes.