Author Archive: apostolid

Fighting Disinformation through Human, Crowd and Artificial Intelligence

Fighting Disinformation through Human, Crowd and Artificial Intelligence

InVID co-organized a Networking session at ICT 2018 in Vienna, Austria.

The session took place in Room L4 on December 5th. Positioned within the theme of “Inspiring a digital society”, it aimed to bring together participants with an interest in the highly important topic of online disinformation. It featured a number of experts presenting the latest scientific and technological advances that can help mitigate it, and propose solutions and initiatives that tackle information manipulation.

Key questions discussed during the session, included:

  • the definition and types of mis/disinformation, case studies and lessons learned from past disinformation incidents;
  • tools and services that can be used for debunking misleading online content and inaccurate information;
  • latest scientific advances from the fields of artificial intelligence, web mining, big data, multimedia forensics, and social network analysis that can help tackle the problem;
  • and open challenges and future research directions.

As presented in the agenda of this session, Dr. Symeon Papadopoulos from CERTH-ITI initiated the discussion with some opening remarks. Following, Dr. Vasileios Mezaris (also from CERTH-ITI) the Project Co-ordinator of the InVID project, presented the motivation, overall concept, main objectives and results of the project, which will be completed by the end of this year.

Dr. Vasileios Mezaris from CERTH-ITI, the Project Co-ordinator of InVID, presents the motivation, main objectives, ov erall approach and integrated results of InVID

Subsequently, Denis Teyssou from Agence France-Presse talked about the developed InVID Verification Plugin (which has been adopted by a wide community of more than 8.000 users so far) and described its integrated technologies that assist journalists to debunk fake videos shared online.

Denis Teyssou from Agence France Presse, introduces the InVID Verification Plugin as a verication “Swiss army knife” that helps journalists to save time and be more efficient in their fact-checking and debunking tasks on social networks.

In the sequel, Nikos Sarris from ATC and Jochen Spangenberg from Deutsche Welle discussed about Truly Media – a platform for collaborative verification of digital content – and its role in the European Disinformation Observatory.

Jochen Spangenberg from Deutsche Welle, talks about the characteristics of mis/disinformation.

The presentation part of the networking session was completed by the speech of Zlatina Marinova from OntoText, which was dedicated on a newly started H2020 project that also targets media verification, called “WeVerify: Wider and Enhanced Verification for You”.

 

Meet InVID at the ICT 2018 Event

Meet InVID at the ICT 2018 Event

InVID will have a booth in the ICT 2018 Exhibition, which is part of the flagship EU meeting on Information and Communication Technologies, the ICT 2018 event, taking place in Vienna on 4-6 December 2018. Meet us in Hall X3, Stand i24 to see the latest InVID tools and technologies in action, and explore collaboration possibilities.

We will also be organizing an ICT 2018 networking session on fighting disinformation; join our session on December 5, 16:30 to 17:15, in Hall L4.

InVID at the 7th media festival Naprej/Forward

InVID at the 7th media festival Naprej/Forward

The InVID project and InVID Verification Plugin were presented on Friday, Nov. 23, by Vasileios Mezaris at the 7th media festival Naprej/Forward in Ljubljana.

The InVID session was attended primarily by journalists from all over Slovenia, who got to participate in a hands-on demonstration and testing of the InVID Verification Plugin. The InVID session was hosted at the EU House: the offices of the European Commission Representation and the information office of the European Parliament in Slovenia. 

More details (in Slovenian) about this presentation, can be found here.

The force of falsity

The force of falsity

In a lecture given at the University of Bologna in the mid-nineties, entitled “The force of falsity” and later included in English in his book “Serendipities”, Italian semiologist Umberto Eco reviewed several historical false stories and argued that those false tales, “as narratives, seemed plausible, more than everyday or historical reality, which is far more complex and less credible. The stories seemed to explain something that was otherwise hard to understand”

And he added: “False tales are, first of all, tales, and tales, like myths, are always persuasive”

During the CrossCheck operation on the 2017 French presidential election, one of the debunked stories was a video of a man presented on social networks as a migrant assaulting nurses in a French hospital (see screenshot of the tweet below).

Fake tweet about a migrant being violent in a France hospital

Fake tweet about a migrant being violent to the nurse of a hospital in France

The video was disgusting. “We treat them and and they are thankful: the proof… Here is what the media is hiding from you” could be read in the first caption while later copies blamed a migrant seeking free healthcare for the barbarian act and started to campaign in favor of withdrawing universal medical care.

But that migrant was in fact a Russian citizen in a Novgorod (Russia) hospital, drunk according to the local press and caught one month before by a monitoring camera. The video was reported in several Russian news publications.

An image similarity search on keyframes (using the InVID Verification Plugin) was enough to retrieve that Russian video and to conclude that this barbarian act was used out of context to spread an insidious xenophobic campaign. Debunked by ten French media, that video reached fifteen millions views on Facebook.

Being an emblematic fake in France was not sufficient: that very same video was used again and again in the following days and weeks at least in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Turkey, then France again, always as a migrant locally attacking hospital staff members, triggering again several millions views and more debunks. Retrieval of the same video was possible thanks to the use of InVID keyframe fragmentation technology.

Furthermore, months after the debunk, an image similarity search on a keyframe would retrieve correctly several fact-checkers websites but would also lead on Google to an artificial intelligence “best guess for this image” presenting it as “a nurse beaten by a migrant”.

Although the above example is only reaching the first of the five stages of election meddling proposed by Finnish researcher Mika Aaltola (“using disinformation to amplify suspicions and divisions”), it shows the level of insidious manipulation that circulates with impunity on social networks to favor, often over a long period of time, extremism and racism, and their political allies. 

As French researcher François-Bernard Huyghes rightly pointed out: “the goal is to make (the voter) political choice appear to be spontaneous: I believe A, therefore I receive a message telling me that candidate Y thinks so as well. According to this model, we have gone from a strategy of mass political persuasion dumped by the media, to targeted soliciting tailored to our deepest wishes.”

In our societies already shaken by economic crisis and mass unemployment, we should not underestimate the force of falsity.

* Paper initially presented by Mr. Denis Teyssou (AFP) at the High-Level Conference on Election Interference in the Digital Age, building resilience to cyber-enabled threats, organized in Brussels on 15-16th of October 2018 by the European Political Strategy Center

References

[1] Eco,U. Serendipities, Language and Lunacy. New York, Columbia University Press. 1998
[2] https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.org/france-en/faq/
[3] Aaltola, M. Democracy’s Eleventh Hour: Safeguarding Democratic Elections Against Cyber-Enabled Autocratic Meddling, FIIA Briefing Paper 226, November 2017. available at https://www.fiia.fi/sv/publikation/democracys-eleventh-hour?read (retrieved on 10/30/2018)
[4] Huyghes, F-B, “Que changent les fake news?” La Revue internationale et stratégique, 110, 2018/2, p. 83-84. Translated into English in Jeangène Vilmer, J.-B. Escorcia, A. Guillaume, M. Herrera, J. Information Manipulation: A Challenge for Our Democracies, report by the Policy Planning Staff (CAPS) of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM) of the Ministry for the Armed Forces, Paris, August 2018. Available at https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/information_manipulation_rvb_cle838736.pdf (last retrieved on 11/3/2018)

The InVID Verification tools at EJTA 2018

The InVID Verification tools at EJTA 2018

The InVID technologies for newsworthy content discovery and verification were presented by the CERTH team at the EJTA Teacher’s Conference 2018, that took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, on 18-19 of October 2018. The different components of the InVID Verification Plugin for online debunking of fake videos, were demonstrated during a hands-on session.

This session started by a short introductory presentation made by Dr. Vasileios Mezaris (the InVID Project Co-ordinator). This presentation aimed to discuss the motivation behind the project (i.e. the ever-growing need for quickly identifying and stopping the spread of fake news!), the goals of the project and the integrated technologies that have been developed, to assisting journalists and media professionals in collecting, discovering and verifying newsworthy user-generated content.

The participants of this session, more than 15 academics and teachers from Schools of Mass Media and Journalism from European universities, had the opportunity to follow a step-by-step procedure for installing the plugin, and using it in a number of fake news debunking examples, based on the different verification components of the plugin.

The collected feedback regarding the functionality of the InVID Verification Plugin was highly possitive, while the demonstrated examples in comparison with the free access to the InVID plugin were highly valued as a source that will enable the participants to enrich their courses with some real-life scenarios of fake news debunking using a state-of-the-art video verification technology.

Academics and teachers from Schools of Journalism arround Europe, being presented the verification functionalities of the InVID plugin.

Dr. Zampoglou (CERTH) demonstrating the analysis capabilities of the image forensic component that is integrated into the InVID plugin.

 

A wrap-up of the InVID presence at IBC 2018

InVID presence at IBC 2018

The InVID project was invited to participate in the Future Zone of the International Broadcast Convention (IBC), that took place in Amsterdam on 14-18 of September, to demonstrate the developed integrated tools for newsworthy content discovery and verification.

A few hundred visitors from TV channels, media organizations, software houses and research organizations passed through the InVID booth, that was nicely located between the BBC R&D booth and our colleagues from the COGNITUS project, to check the functionalities of the InVID technologies. More specifically, these visitors were introduced to:

  • the freely-available InVID Verification Plugin, a browser extension that offers a set of analysis components for debunking fake videos online;
  • the InVID Verification Application, a web-based integrated technology with advanced content management and verification functionalities (beyond the ones supported by the free plugin);
  • the InVID Multimodal Analytics Dashboard, a web-based platform for newsworthy contentc collection and discovery;
  • and the InVID Mobile App, a mobile application (available for both iOS and Android users) that enables newsworthy content contribution to media organizations by the public (i.e. trusted citizens/users of the app).

Our participation in IBC allowed us to get in touch with potential customers of the InVID technologies, such as mainstream television groups, providers of social media feeds for broadcasters and also international television networks. Indicative dissemination and promotion activities of our presence in IBC are the following.

Rolf Fricke (Condat) was interviewed about InVID and the InVID technologies, on a live Radio show by Myrte van der Putten.

Marco Lawrenz (Condat) presented the verification functionalities of the InVID Plugin, to ZDF producers.

A collaborative demonstration of the established communication between the CONGITUS platform (used for UGV content enhancement) and the InVID Verification Plugin (used for UGV content verification), was made with the help of our partners from the CONGITUS project.

A big THANK YOU for visiting the InVID booth and showing your strong interest to the InVID solutions for newsworthy content discovery and verification!

Visit InVID at IBC 2018

Visit InVID at IBC 2018

InVID has a booth in the IBC 2018 Exhibition – the top annual business conference and exhibition of the media, entertainment and technology industry, held in RAI Amsterdam, Sept. 14-18, 2018.

Meet InVID in the Future Zone of IBC 2018, Hall 8, stand 8.F16. We will be there to showcase the latest InVID tools and technologies, and discuss with you how InVID can address your individual video and news verification needs.

InVID Plugin surpassed 4000 installations – New release available

We are thrilled to inform you that the InVID Verification Plugin has surpassed 4000 installations! A big thank you to all of you who are using this tool for media verification, and motivate us to make it even better!

In addition, we are glad to announce the release of a new version of this tool, which:

  • contains a GDPR-compatible cookie consent,
  • enables the users to directly apply the forensics filters on any extracted/collected keyframe or submitted image,
  • allows the application of reverse image search using the KarmaDecay and the Bing search engines via its contextual menu, and
  • has a number of bugs fixed.

To get the new Chrome- and Firefox-compatible versions of the plugin, please visit http://invid-project.eu/verify

Presentation of InVID verification technologies at JUDNM-T

InVID verification technologies at JUDNM-T

The InVID project and the InVID verification technologies, were presented on a workshop focusing on tools for content verification. The workshop was co-organized by CERTH/InVID and the Media Informatics Lab of the Journalism & Mass Media Dept. of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in collaboration with the Open Knowledge Greece Foundation and the Journalists’ Union of Daily Newspapers of Macedonia – Thrace (JUDNM-T). It took place on Wednesday 6th of June 2018, in the conference centre of JUDNM-T, in Thessaloniki, Greece. The audience of the workshop (approximately 40 people), was comprised by journalists, academics and Master students of the Journalism & Mass Media Dept.

After the introductory part of the event, which was made by Prof. Andreas Veglis, the workshop started by an overall presentation of the InVID project by Dr. Vasileios Mezaris, the project co-ordinator. Dr. Mezaris explained the project’s motivation with the help of some indicative examples of fake news. Following, he described the project’s goals and overall concept for meeting these goals, and briefly discussed the developed integrated technologies for newsworthy media collection and verification. The given presentation can be seen below.

Subsequently, Mr. Evlampios Apostolidis from CERTH-ITI, gave a talk on fake news that rely on video reuse. In particular, Mr. Apostolidis presented some examples of such fakes, discussed the most common approaches of journalists to deal with this type of fake news and explained how the InVID technologies can assist journalists to identify the original video source. For this, he presented the developed web application for video fragmentation and reverse keyframe search, that enables the users/journalists to perform reverse video search at the fragment-level, and detect previously published versions of the same video online. The given presentation can be found below.

Following, Dr. Symeon Papadopoulos from CERTH-ITI, discussed the current status on the creation and spread of fake news and rumors via social networks and listed a number of credibility signals that could allow a user (i.e. a journalist or a media verification expert) to evaluate the veracity of a news item. Finally, we presented the functionalities and characterists of the developed context analysis and aggregation toolkit that has been developed in InVID and is integrated in the InVID Verification Plugin, and highlighted the creation (and future public release) of a constantly extendable Fake Video Corpus, that can support the current and future reseach on this field.

The first part of the workshop ended with a presentation focusing on image forensics analysis, made by Dr. Markos Zampoglou from CERTH-ITI. Dr. Zampoglou explained the existing challenges related to the detection of tampering of digital images, highlighting the fact that the sharing of these images via social media platforms entails a re-compression process that usually erases most of the digital traces that could assist the identification of manipulations. Based on this observation, he stressed the need to analyse the most earliest version of a digital image, and discussed the funtionalities of the REVEAL Media Verificaiton Assistant that is integrated in the InVID Verification Plugin. The given presentation can be seen in the following.

The second part of the workshop was a hands-on session, where the participants of the workshop had the opportunity to get activelly involved in a step-by-step process containing:

  • the installation of the InVID Verification Plugin for both Chrome and Firefox users (made by Evlampios Apostolidis);
  • a brief explanation of all different components integrated in the plugin (given by Evlampios Apostolidis);
  • a real-time debunking of a couple of examples of fake news based on video re-use (performed by Evlampios Apostolidis);
  • a real-time debunking of a couple of examples of fake news based on context change (performed by Olga Papadopoulou, also from CERTH-ITI);
  • a real-time debunking of a couple of examples of fake news based on image tampering (performed by Markos Zampoglou).

The aforementioned examples were used for demonstration purposes, while an additional set of examples was provided to the participants of the workshop, aiming to motivate them to discover the functionalities, capabilities and limitations of the different components of the plugin, and send us their feedback (via the integrated survey) concerning their experience with this tool.

InVID plugin surpassed 3000 downloads

InVID plugin surpassed 3000 downloads

We are very pleased to announce that our free plugin that supports video verification has surpassed 3.000 downloads. The functionalities of this integrated toolbox for content verification are now widely used by journalists, experts of the human rights community, and others dealing with video verification.

We thank all users and supporters of this technology and we promise to make it even better! Would you like to help us on this? Then, simply take the survey and give us feedback about the tool!

If you haven’t discovered the tool yet, get it for free from: http://www.invid-project.eu/verify

Survey about the InVID Verification Plugin

Survey about the InVID Verification Plugin