The DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) will lead a €2.4 million EU project to develop new tools for improving how information is shared and received on social media.
The three-year project, called PROVENANCE, is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. 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.
Project solutions will make it easier for consumers to evaluate online information by providing a simple, graphical guide – almost like a nutritional label – that will clarify the source and history of a piece of content.
At the same time, it will help content creators to secure their original work from misuse and manipulation by registering original work in a blockchain ledger, tracking how it spreads, and identifying any manipulations that occur.
These solutions will be valuable for news and political information but also creative content creators who want to secure their work from unauthorised use.
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.”
Commencing in December PROVENANCE will be led by Dr Jane Suiter, Associate Professor at FuJo. The project team includes academic and industry partners from four countries including the SFI ADAPT Research Centre for Digital Content Technology at Trinity College Dublin, which will be led by Professor Owen Conlon; the content intelligence company NewsWhip; the NTT Data company everis, the Institute of Information Theory and Automation at Czech Academy of Sciences; the non-profit Cibervoluntarios Foundation; and the Cognitive Science Section of Graz University of Technology.
In addition, PROVENANCE will work closely with citizens and content creators to address their needs and improve the digital environment for sharing content and information.