Several major tech and media firms, including Arm, Intel and Microsoft, will work together to help combat the spread of misinformation.
The group of six also consists of the BBC, Adobe, and Truepic, and seeks to establish a ‘standardised provenance solution’ to help combat misleading content online, according to a statement from Microsoft.
Named the ‘Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA)’, the Joint Development Foundation project will develop software to enable publishers, creators and consumers to trace the origin and evolution of a piece of media.
Microsoft said that these technical specifications include “defining what information is associated with each type of asset, how that information is presented and stored, and how evidence of tampering can be identified.”
Explaining the coalition’s plan in more detail, Eric Horvitz, Microsoft technical fellow and chief scientific officer, said: “The basic idea is that a publisher of a media file, in this case, a video, will cryptographically sign a digital fingerprint of the file at the time of publication.
“That signature and fingerprint become part of a ledger and a receipt is sent to the publisher. When a consumer views the file, the browser or video player checks the ledger for the manifest and receipt, then displays a signal to the user indicating whether that content is certified.”
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Commenting on these two projects, Microsoft said that with the foundation of the C2PA, “technical standards will be unified while these two entities continue to pursue adoption, prototyping and education within their respective communities.”
Commenting on the joint venture, Jatin Aythora, Chief Architect, BBC, said: “It’s vital that news providers play a part in the battle against disinformation.
“We welcome the opportunity to participate in the C2PA provenance work, which has the potential to support audience confidence in the news at a time when trusted sources of information are more important than ever.”
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Misinformation has been running rampant on the internet for many years, particularly on social media during the Trump presidency. Firms like Facebook and Twitter have imposed new rules on their platforms to attempt to combat the spread.
In October 2020, in the run-up to the US election, Twitter announced it was flagging tweets by former president Donald Trump over claims he had developed “immunity” to Covid-19 after contracting the virus.
Facebook has also made attempts to halt the spread, announcing new tools in April last year to attempt to remove coronavirus-related misinformation following the release of a ‘scathing’ report into such content on the platform.
As well as this, alt-right social media platform Parler was recently taken down by Amazon Web Services amid claims that the site is a hotbed of ‘violent content’ and misinformation.