Fake news fighter Trusted News Initiative (TNI) is setting up a shared early warning system of rapid alerts to combat the spread of disinformation during the upcoming U.S. Presidential election.
The Associated Press and The Washington Post are the latest signees to TNI, an industry collaboration of major news and global tech organizations set up last year to stop the spread of disinformation. TNI partners include AFP, BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, European Broadcasting Union, Facebook, The Financial Times, First Draft, Google/YouTube, The Hindu, Microsoft, Reuters, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Twitter and The Wall Street Journal.
In the month leading to polling day, TNI partners will alert each other to disinformation that poses an immediate threat to life or to the integrity of the election so that content can be reviewed promptly by platforms, while publishers ensure they don’t unwittingly republish dangerous falsehoods. The alerts will also flag content that undermines trust in TNI partners by identifying imposter or manipulated content that purport to come from trusted news brands. To achieve this, TNI will deploy verification technology, called Project Origin, led by a coalition of the BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, Microsoft and The New York Times, wherein a digital watermark is attached to media originating from authentic content creators, and can provide an automated signal warning of manipulated or fake media.
TNI has successfully tackled disinformation during the U.K. 2019 general election, the Taiwan 2020 general election and more recently, harmful coronavirus disinformation.
Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, said: “Disinformation is one of today’s great harms. It can undermine democracy, create division and distort public debate. Tackling it is a pressing priority.”
“That’s why it is so vital that TNI is successful. It has had a remarkable start and I’m pleased more organizations are joining the fight against disinformation. In a world of increasing division, working together is the best way to deliver results.”