DCU to lead EU project to tackle ‘fake news’

Initiative will use digital technologies to identify modifications and similarities in social media content

Dublin City University is leading a new EU project to tackle "fake news" by tracking and flagging online disinformation on social media.

The three-year, €2.4 million project will focus on finding solutions to enable people to distinguish between original information and manipulated information.

DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith said the university’s institute for future media and journalism will focus its research and team of international experts to address this key issue.

“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,” he sad.


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 . . . 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.”

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

The approach will involve the use of a “verification layer” that will use digital technologies for multimedia analytics to record any modifications to content and to identify similar pieces of content.

This, the university said, will contextualise individual pieces of content with relevant information, including when the content was registered, by whom, and any subsequent transactions.

DCU said the project solutions will be particularly useful for consumers of news and political information but also for content creators who want to secure their content from manipulation or unauthorised use.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent