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DCU Institute to lead €2.4 million EU project to tackle “fake news”
DCU Institute to lead €2.4 million EU project to tackle “fake news”

DCU Institute to lead €2.4 million EU project to tackle “fake news”

The DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) will lead a €2.4 million EU project to tackle the issue of “fake news” by tracking and flagging online disinformation, especially through social media.

The three-year project, called PROVENANCE is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and will focus on finding solutions to enable people to distinguish between original information and manipulated information or disinformation.

The term “disinformation” or the most commonly quoted phrase “fake news” can be understood as false information deliberately created and spread to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.

The PROVENANCE approach will involve the use of a ‘verification layer’ that will employ advanced digital technologies for multimedia analytics (including image forensics) to record any modifications to content and to identify similar pieces of content. A ‘Verification Indicator’ will contextualize individual pieces of content with relevant information, including when the content was registered, by whom, and any subsequent transactions.

The project solutions will be of particular use for consumers of news and political information but also for content creators who want to secure their content from manipulation or unauthorised use. The project solutions will be of particular use for consumers of news and political information but also content creators who want to secure their content from manipulation or unauthorised use.

Commencing in December PROVENANCE will be led by Dr Jane Suiter, Associate Professor at FuJo. The project team includes academic and industry partners from Ireland, Spain, the Czech Republic and Austria. Irish collaborators include the SFI ADAPT Research Centre for Digital Content Technology at Trinity College Dublin and the content intelligence company NewsWhip.

The project will work closely with citizens and content creators to address their needs and improve the digital environment for sharing content and information.

The establishment of the PROVENANCE project reflects an acute awareness of the challenges posed for citizens by large scale disinformation, including misleading and outright false information.

In 2014, the World Economic Forum identified the rapid spread of misinformation online as one of the top 10 trends in modern societies while recent European Commission research found that 80% of Europeans have come across information that they believe was false or misleading several times a month and up to 85% thought it was a particular issue for their country.

President of Dublin City University Professor Brian MacCraith said:

“Ensuring the integrity and reliability of news from various sources is a critical issue for citizens across the globe at this time and is one that gets to the very heart of democracy. Building on DCU’s expertise and our commitment to excellence and innovation in Journalism Education over many decades, I am delighted that our FuJo Institute is focusing its research and leading a team of international experts to address this key issue.”

FuJo director and Project Co-ordinator Dr Jane Suiter said:

“The speed and volume of disinformation on social media has the potential to undermine democracy, business, and social reputations. This project will enable the tracking of online content and enable the level of its manipulation through web and social media platforms to help consumers and business not only track their own material but to have confidence in the content that they see online.” 

About DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism: Led by Dr Jane Suiter (Director), the DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) is an interdisciplinary institute that aims to advance the social and democratic values of journalism in the digital age. FuJo members combine expertise in journalism and digital media as well as related fields across the social sciences, data and computer science, business and ethics. FuJo research provides informed leadership for the news media sector and the academic field through interdisciplinary projects and industry-focused innovations. FuJo is currently coordinating two projects funded by the European Commission: a European Training Network on harnessing digital and data technology for journalism and a H2020 project on content verification.

About NewsWhip NewsWhip is an Irish SME that is internationally recognised as the world’s leading Content Intelligence provider. Its platform tracks stories from across the web and social media, and uses machine learning algorithms to correctly predict major stories in over 80 languages. The actionable data provided by NewsWhip enables thousands of journalists and content creators from Japan to California to be first to breakout stories of interest to their audience each day.NewsWhip has uniquely broad coverage, and its patented award-winning technology predicts 79% of viral content by using intelligent algorithms coupled with outstanding processing power. Its existing products are already established as the fundamental industry tools for online content analytics. NewsWhip 450 corporate customers in 40+ countries include the world’s leading media companies, as well as Fortune 500 brands, educators, financial services firms, ad agencies, and international organisations. NewsWhip also hosts Whip Smart – an annual event in NYC attended by 200 of the top global publishers and content creators. The multidisciplinary NewsWhip Research Centre is comprised of content strategists, editors, data scientists, and research associates to demystify the spread of news and information. See https://www.newswhip.com/

About ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology ADAPT, the Centre for Digital Content Technology, provides a partnership between academia and industry in the field of digital content technology, leading on ground-breaking innovations in areas such as localization, social media analysis, multimodal interaction, intelligent content and media, and informal and formal learning. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the centre is led out of Trinity College Dublin and combines the world-class expertise of researchers at Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology. ADAPT has significant commercial expertise, having generated 7 spinout companies, multiple licenses and a large number of applied research collaborations. ADAPT’s unique Design & Innovation Lab works with companies to bridge research and technology to enhance commercial success. www.adaptcentre.ie