Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Disarming disinformation: piloting new proof technology


A pioneering system aimed at preventing the spread of disinformation and creating verifiable content from capture to publication is being road tested in a series of workshops led by the Thomson Foundation. As disinformation becomes more widespread and more sophisticated, a community of the world's leading media and tech companies including Adobe, Nikon, Microsoft, and the BBC known as the Content Authenticity Initiative are working together to create technical standards for certifying the source and history or provenance of media content.

The spread of mis and disinformation a clear and present global threat'

UN Secretary-General Ant nio Guterres

Image manipulation These specifications known as content credentials are already being integrated into image capture and edit software and journalists from the Western Balkans and Central Europe were among the first to check them out in a series of online workshops.

In June 2023, the UN Secretary-General Ant nio Guterres called the spread of mis and disinformation a clear and present global threat' and it's clearly a big challenge facing journalists who were in the workshops.

Goran Avramovic from Kosovo explained the importance of being able to check the credentials of an image.

In a previous instance, he and his colleagues proved a photograph released by a politician which allegedly showed Albanian women being raped, was in fact taken from a porn site.

We need all kind of tools in order to confront that, he said.

Arbnora Memeti who's a photojournalist in North Macedonia, said that her photographs were often manipulated. The other day I woke up to a photo which had been posted saying this photo is old and from 2014'. But it was not, because I took it [the day before].

Global technical specifications The technical standards system adds content credentials or metadata at every point of content creation from an image taken on a camera or smartphone through editing, including the addition of AI material, to publication. When it comes to editing, credentials can be added via open-source browser-based systems as well as paid-for products such as Adobe's Photoshop.

The system works to specifications created by the Coalition for Content Provenance Authenticity (C2PA), a coalition formed by leading media and tech companies and is designed to be tamper proof so the data cannot be stripped from the content. It will also be available for audio and video files.

It is now available via an App on a smartphone and will soon be available in DSLR cameras such as Nikon, Canon and Leica.

I still do not know if this photo was manipulated or not

Arbnora Memeti, photojournalist North Macedonia

Existing verification tools insufficient The need for standardised specifications such as C2PA to enable fast, effective verification was highlighted in the workshop by Victor Markovic in Serbia.

He explained about verification problems experienced by journalists with an image which appeared to show the country's President paying his respects at a school in Belgrade where a mass shooting had taken place.

A lot of professional forensics [people] came to help and determined that it was fabricated but we still do not have official proof. I still do not know if this photo was manipulated or not. he said.

During the workshop, the journalists were able to capture an image on their smartphones using an app called ProofMode, which was created by Guardian Project, a global collective of software developers and designers.

ProofMode can add content credentials identifying for example the geolocation where an image was taken, date and time. It is currently being used by journalists in Ukraine to document potential war crimes.

Content creators get credit for work Fabiola Maurice from the Project explained that the app addressed four key types of mis and disinformation content: fabricated, false, manipulated and imposter.

The participants were then able to add additional content credentials to an edit using Adobe software in Photoshop and Lightroom which is at the Beta development stage.

Coleen Jose who led the demonstration for Adobe explained how the Coalition was looking to address disinformation online and the breakdown of trust.

First, we are doing that through attribution; content creators get credit for their work, she said. And then bring a level of truth about how things are made rather than detecting how things might have been falsified...not after the process, but the process itself. Thats what we are focusing on: the process itself.

Through the workshops delivered by Thomson Foundation, the media and tech companies hope to gain more of an understanding of the challenges facing journalists around disinformation and how technology can be used to protect content and become part of a journalist's daily workflow.

Related content...

Countering misinformation Helping to counter disinformation

Silencing the media How journalists are being silenced.

Misinformation digital learning WhatsApp course goes viral in Sudan.

Explore our projects across the globe
See more stories from thompsonfoundation

More from Thomson


Empowering Media Leaders: Transformative Insights from the Executive Learning Series

Navigating Strategy, Ethics, and Innovation in the evolving European media lands...


AI and Disinformation in Taiwan's 2024 Election

This is a summary of the report commissioned by Thomson on AI Disinformation Attacks during Taiwans 2024 Presidential Elections, written by Professor Chen-ling ...


Entry opens for EU Award for Investigative Journalism 2024

Journalists from the Western Balkans and T rkiye can now submit their investigative stories published in 2023 for the EU Award for Investigative Journalism 2024...


Sudan: New WhatsApp Course Equips Journalists to Report on Conflict Related Sexual Violence

An innovative learning tool to help media and civil society better understand ho...


She Speaks Sudan': Thomson launches programme to empower women journalists and civil society actors in exile

A groundbreaking initiative offering training and mentoring to 30 women journali...


Tackling lies online: the answer may be all in the mind

Psychology can play an important role in helping us understand what audiences respond to (Dr Jon Roozenbeek, Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab) For newsroo...


AI and Regulation: Advocating for an Informed and Collaborative Approach

A regulator, a technologist and a politician walking into a conference room - the beginning of a very geeky joke - or more accurately, the start of the second T...


AI and Disinformation in Taiwan s 2024 Election

This is a summary of the report commissioned by Thomson on AI Disinformation Attacks during Taiwans 2024 Presidential Elections, written by Professor Chen-ling ...


Rethinking how we tackle disinformation in the age of AI

This fantastic course will help you understand and fight disinformation, an absolutely essential skill to acquire during this global election season. Sign up an...


Transformative Technology in challenging media landscapes

Thomson's work in captive, closed and repressive media landscapes has long been about making sure we get the best possible idea of what people really need f...


No votes for all

Out of an estimated 20,000 journalists in Pakistan, less than one thousand are women according to a recent Gender Disparity Report published by the Internationa...


Connecting and training Sudanese journalists-in-exile

To help empower Sudanese journalists living in exile amidst the ongoing conflict in their homeland, Thomson trainers have been delivering workshops designed to ...


Award winning young journalists get their mojo in London

MoJo is something I want to pursue further and include, not as a last thought, but as a one of the components of my daily work. Michelle Banda Vodacom Young Jou...


Open Call: Executive Learning Programme For Media Professionals in the Western Balkans

A chance to apply for the new learning programme specifically designed for media...


AI and Disinformation: why collaboration and culture change matter

This is a summary of the inaugural Thomson Talks with Madhav Chinnappa held on 30 November 2023 focused on the specific subject of AI/News & Disinformation. Th...


Enhancing minority representation in run-up to Pakistan s elections

Pakistan is one of more than 65 countries where decisive elections will take place in 2024 in what will be the biggest election year in history. Thomson Media ...


Rwanda: High-impact investigative journalism celebrates success

An innovative investigative training programme for Rwandan journalists has resulted in the publication of 15 impactful stories which have prompted widespread ch...


Head of Development: New role for Thomson

As 2023 draws to a close, a new chapter begins for Thomson with the appointment of a new member of the team. Anton Artemyev joins us in January in a new role a...


In the news - media insights for Young Journalist finalists

The three finalists for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist of the Year 2023 enjoyed an action-packed trip to London which included meeting the Queen, visit...


Yara El Murr wins Young Journalist Award 2023

Yara El Murr from Lebanon is Thomson Foundation's Young Journalist of the Year 2023. Yara received the honour at the Foreign Press Association Media Award...


Yashraj Sharma: The 2022 YJA winner on a year of opportunity

Yashraj Sharma has seen big changes in his life since he won the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award in 2022. In the run up to the 2023 winner being anno...


Paris Charter on AI and Journalism unveiled

Thomson Foundation has joined 16 partner organisations to launch the Paris Charter on AI and Journalism'. The first of its kind, the charter defines crucia...


Zuha Siddiqui, Young Journalist Award finalist 2023

Zuha Siddiqui from Pakistan is a labour and tech reporting fellow for the global non-profit publication Rest of World. She's one of three finalists nominate...


Jamaima Afridi, Young Journalist Award finalist 2023

Jamaima Afridi is a freelance journalist based in north-west Pakistan on the edge of the Khyber Pass. Her stories focus on injustices faced by women and vulne...


Yara El Murr, Young Journalist Award finalist 2023

Yara El Murr is a 25-year-old journalist and documentary filmmaker from Lebanon. She is a finalist in Thomson Foundations Young Journalist Award 2023. The awar...


Announcing the 2023 Young Journalist Award finalists

Young journalists from more than 60 countries entered this years prestigious Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award 2023. Countries from across Africa, Asia...


Investigative journalism exposes new scandals

The 2023 EU Award for Investigative Journalism has proven to be an exceptional showcase of talent, diversity and shifting journalistic priorities. More than 20...


Thomson Foundation announces new trustees

Thomson Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of two new members to its Board of Trustees - investment expert, author and former financial journal...


Unique training courses to help create the definitive account of the Ukraine War

Some of the world's leading foreign correspondents and war crimes investigators have contributed to a set of major new training courses for journalists cove...


Thomson joins Partnership on AI

Thomson Foundation is delighted to be one of five new organisations to join Partnership on AI. Thomson is now one of 114 partner organisations from around the ...


Shortlist for Young Journalist Award 2023 revealed

An astonishing array of talented journalists from around the world have made it through to the shortlist for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award 2023....


Thomson Talks: Former Google director to lead Thomson Foundation Thought Leadership events.

Madhav Chinnappa, the former Director of News Ecosystem Development at Google an...


Strengthening the media s role in promoting democracy

Thomson works with journalists in some of the toughest places in the world. Their work and livelihoods are frequently under threat. Thomson Foundation believes ...


Disarming disinformation: piloting new proof technology

A pioneering system aimed at preventing the spread of disinformation and creating verifiable content from capture to publication is being road tested in a serie...


Connect 6: The magic of mentoring

To mark the Thomson Foundation's 60th year of nurturing and training journalists globally, we matched six talented young journalists with six of the best in...


Backing brave journalism in challenging places long-term

In the autumn of 2022, I was introduced to a young Afghan journalist in London. Zahra Joya had fled Kabul a year before as the Taliban swept through the city. A...


Award winning inspiration from young journalists

Pursuing independent journalism is more important than ever. Right now, we are not just facing one or two crises. The crises that journalists are facing are not...


From trainee to trainer: The man who brought Mojo to Sri Lanka

KC Saranga has trained more than 1,000 journalists, students and people in marginalised communities in Sri Lanka on how to tell stories using their mobile phone...


Top quality entries for EU Investigative Journalism Award

A total of 267 applications from 7 countries, representing 125 media outlets and featuring a diverse group of authors (both individuals and groups), have been s...


Young Journalist Award 2023 is open for entries

Since 2013 our Young Journalist Award has celebrated the outstanding young talent in the media profession. The award is an opportunity for those brilliant young...


Transforming cultural journalism in the Western Balkans

A new project is underway in the Western Balkans to transform digital storytelling and engage public audiences with creative and culture-related content. Aroun...


Reaching the million+ Ukrainian refugees in Germany

Staying informed about everyday life and events in Ukraine is crucially important for the refugees who have fled the war. By April 2023, 1.06 million Ukrai...


Rwandan journalists awarded funds to support investigations

Equipped with new investigative journalism skills and financial support after recently completing a training programme, 15 Rwandan journalists are empowered to ...


Unveiling a seminal course on AI ethics in the newsroom

The Thomson Foundation is proud to unveil a pioneering free, online training course designed to help newsrooms address a defining issue of the modern age: the e...


60 years: Our alumni s stories

Sixty years after it was founded Thomson Foundation - now joined by the Berlin based Thomson Media, continues to innovate. Its blended approach to life-long lea...


Investigative journalism competition Western Balkans and Trkiye

Journalists from Western Balkans countries and T rkiye are invited to submit their investigative stories for the EU Award for Investigative Journalism 2023. On...


Media under siege: how journalists are being silenced.

The onslaught of false news against real news is unprecedented. In the Middle East, an alarming trend of people doubting published news is overwhelming, Mohamm...


Why Moldova is ahead of Romania in Media freedom

This article is written by Vitalie Cojocari, a journalist and broadcaster with Euronews in Romania. He is a mentor for the Thomson Media project EU support for ...


Connect 6: The power of mentoring

Three months after Thomson Foundation offered six young journalists a once-in-a-lifetime chance', its world-class mentoring programme Connect 6' is re...


Let's hear it for audio

Despite reports to the contrary, radio isn't dead. In fact, not only has it been revived but its combined with its close cousins, the podcast and the long r...