Microsoft joins tech and media giants in the battle against fake news


Microsoft logoSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Microsoft and several major tech and media organizations will work together to battle against fake news and disinformation. Microsoft announced the formation of the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA). Microsoft joins Adobe, Arm, the BBC, Intel, and Truepic as the founding members of the coalition.

Disinformation isn’t just about people writing or saying false claims. In today’s world, people can doctor images, falsify documents, even create false content. The C2PA will work to create specifications for content that allow people to trace the origin of images, videos, documents, and audio.

Right now, a fake video of the Mars Perseverance rover is making its rounds around the web. The video had 17.1 million views on February 20, 2020, though the original video has since been deleted. As is the case with most fake news, even though the original is gone, people have shared it elsewhere.

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Microsoft’s blog post explains how the organizations will work together to combat disinformation:

C2PA member organizations will work together to develop content provenance specifications for common asset types and formats to enable publishers, creators and consumers to trace the origin and evolution of a piece of media, including images, videos, audio and documents. These technical specifications will 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.

The C2PA will use an open standard that can be used by any online platform.

Several organizations within the C2PA have already taken strides in the effort to verify content. Adobe leads the Content Authenticity Initiative and Microsoft and the BBC lead Project Origin. The C2PA brings those technologies under a single entity. Truepic also created native integration of hardware-secured photo capture technology, which the C2PA will build off of.

Microsoft shared a statement on the coalition:

There’s a critical need to address widespread deception in online content — now supercharged by advances in AI and graphics and diffused rapidly via the internet. Our imperative as researchers and technologists is to create and refine technical and sociotechnical approaches to this grand challenge of our time. We’re excited about methods for certifying the origin and provenance of online content. It’s an honor to work alongside Adobe, BBC and other C2PA members to take this critical work to the next step.

Truepic echoes similar sentiments:

Truepic was founded on the principle that provenance-based media authenticity is the only viable, scalable long-term solution to restoring trust in what we see online. We firmly believe that ecosystemwide adoption through an open standard is crucial to the long-term health of the internet. The C2PA will streamline the distribution of high-integrity digital content at scale, a vital step in restoring society’s shared sense of reality.

The BBC and Adobe also shared messages along the same lines within the announcement of the coalition.

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