Fake News & OSINT Webinar

Fake News & OSINT Webinar

In times of a pandemic, misinformation campaigns are not only harmful to electoral process, fact-based journalism and potential citizens’ decisions based on inaccurate information, but now also to people’s lives. Our OSINT solution empowers users to detect Fake News, polarizing narratives and discover various conspiracy theories by encorporating an automated-bots detection, topic and entities detection and sentiment analysis done in the original language.

SAIL LABS’ Director of Business Development, Francesca Galeotti, walks participants through the topic of Fake News and showcases how open source intelligence (OSINT) can help when investigating the origin of a narrative or how to uncover automated bots spreading messages on social media.

If you are interested in how OSINT can be used to detect Fake News and conspiracy theories, download our use case dedicated to this topic.

SAIL LABS organized a conference called Fake News and other AI Challenges for the News Media in the 21st Century Conference in November 2018. If you could not attend the conference, but you are interested in the topic, you can download the summary overviews of all speakers’ presentations for free here (day 1 and 2) and here (panel Solving Ethical & Technical Challenges of Fake News).

The Media Mining System is a platform designed for media monitoring, analysis and data-driven decision making by extracting and analyzing multilingual information from open sources, such as TV, radio, blogs, social media, etc., in real time. This webinar also provides the participants with an overview of the system’s features, which enable users to investigate stories, first source of any news, social media topics and much more, making it possible to navigate the vast amount of information and to identify and counter disinformation.

Webinar's summary

After Francesca introduced SAIL LABS and mentioned company’s milestones, she explained the role of OSINT, how the intelligence disciplines overlap and how digital media impacts intelligence gathering. The rising popularity of new media led to establishing a new area of collecting intelligence – social media intelligence (SOCMINT).

Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT)

Social media represent a valuable source of information to governments worldwide. This is due to the fundamental aspects of social media such as openess of communication in real time, no journalistic gatekeepers giving rise to the user generated content and a high availability of the platforms to wide population. When assessing the advantages of social media for governments, three aspects or steps can be pointed out.

Specifically, social media offer a possibility for the government to obtain information about or opinions of a large group of population through social media for free. This crowd-sourced information possesses an additional flow of information between the citizens and the government, which is of a great value to the governments as they can evaluate the impact of their policies and how does the population perceive them.

The second step could be the research and the understanding of the social phenomena. This offers the possibility to better understand a huge number of phenomena concerning the population, while to be aware how ideas form and change is especially valuable for law enforcement.

The intersection of offline and online world, the number of active social media users and the rapid development of analytics offer near real-time situational awereness being the third crucial aspect of social media for governments.


What is the difference between misleading and fabricated content?

Francesca noted that we need to better understand what the types of the pollution of information are. A big part of the discourse surrounding Fake News conflates two notions – misinformation and disinformation. Francesca explained that when it comes to misinformation, the person who created it or spread it does need to intend to mislead the recipients. On the other hand, disinformation was created with a clear intention to deceive the audience. Therefore, we distinguish between more types of incorrect information while their discriminator is both the intent itself and the type of manipulation.

Misinformation, disinformation and malinformation

To further illustrate the intersection of different types of incorrect information, Francesca exhibited three categories of misleading information and how they overlap. The first category consists of information which can be labeled as misinformation – this kind of information is false, but not harmful – it can make false connections or have misleading content. Disinformation, the second type of information, is both false and harmful. It can be misleading due to the false, imposter, manipulated or fabricated content. The last category is a type of information that is not false but harmful and is called malinformation. Malinformation includes various types of leaks, harassment and hate speech.

5G and COVID-19 conspiracy theory on social media

Due to the current Coronavirus crisis bringing both health and economic uncertainty, the population is deprived by the economic and psychological consequences of the lockdowns and therefore, more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and Fake News circulating on social media. Francesca played a video of a social media user claiming that the nose wire present in face masks is a 5G anthena (the article with the mentioned video can be found here). Even though the conspiracy theory stating that 5G wireless technology causes health problems has already been known a long time ago, now it links the 5G technology to Coronavirus. Beliefs in this conspiracy theory even led to a series of arson attacks on 5G towers in Europe.

A detailed white paper dedicated to Fake News and conspiracy theories including details about 5G conspiracy theory, #filmyourhospital initiative and the usage of Coronavirus-related Fake News and conspiracy theories being used by far-right groups and islamic extremism can be downloaded here.

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