MWC Barcelona: Digital Future Society seeks technological solutions to fight disinformation

27 May 2021 | Network Updates | Update from Mobile World Capital Barcelona
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

  • The winning solutions of the challenge will be able to carry out their pilot projects, which will be financed through an economic contribution of up to € 40,000 per pilot.

  • The international call aims to explore new tools that help detect falsehoods and reduce their spread through the networks.

Digital Future Society opens a new international call for innovative challenges, Tech against Disinformation, to identify and test innovative technological solutions that help optimize and automate the content verification or fact-checking process, and thus contribute to reducing the spread and impact of disinformation in society. Participation in the call is free and open to any national or international legal entity.

The winning solutions will receive, from the Digital Future Society, support in the execution and coordination of the project, and a financial contribution of up to € 40,000 for the pilot. In addition, the winning projects will be able to connect with the local and national ecosystem networking in Spain. From today until July 9 of this year, the call to present the projects is open, through the online form on the Digital Future Society website: Tech against Disinformation. The winners will be announced at the end of September 2021.

Digital Future Society seeks to identify and put into practice innovative ideas that respond to the challenges of the digital age. For this reason, it launches this international challenge that will allow the identification and development of solutions that help fact-checkers to optimize the verification processes, detect falsehoods more quickly, put them publicly in evidence and stop the dissemination of these contents.

The Tech against Disinformation call has the collaboration of Newtral, EFE Verifica, Verificat and Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals. It should be noted that the fight against disinformation and the strengthening of democratic institutions is part of Goal 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

Streamline and automate fact-checking

The solutions must deliver concrete and measurable results and be ready for the pilot project. For this, it is required to have a certain level of technological development and its implementation must be viable, both technically and economically. The winning solutions will be piloted in the Spanish real fact-checking context.

The tools presented must streamline and automate the verification processes in any of the following phases: traceability of the information origin and identification of the channels that promote viralization; monitoring of communication media, social networks and messaging applications; verification of content, data and information identified; and dissemination of verified content in order to block dissemination.

Regarding the approach of the solutions, it is not restricted and can be based on aspects such as the detection of manipulated multimedia contents by means of image processing techniques; multilingual systems for the automated identification of phrases in speeches, social networks and the media; early detection systems for targeted campaigns, among others.

Technology to face disinformation

Disinformation is defined as the dissemination of false or inaccurate content, data and information aimed at deceiving or confusing the audience, a practice that, in recent years, has spread to reach a new dimension of the phenomenon. Technological advances and the massive use of the internet and social networks, in addition to the insecurity of the journalistic sector, has caused a very widespread problem. In addition, disinformation generates serious consequences at the social level and on the democratic health of society, since the influence on public opinion can have a high impact at the collective level, as has been experienced in some recent electoral processes or in the current program of COVID-19 vaccination.

Currently, through social networks and messaging applications, anyone with a smartphone or computer can spread false content, which can spread quickly. In addition, technology makes it possible to give false information a greater appearance of truthfulness through the manipulation of images, videos and audios, and to use tools to amplify and viralize content in an automated way.

In this context, the information verification process known as fact-checking is essential to combat disinformation and limit its spread. However, it is a slow and manual process that requires time and resources. The digitization of information and the increase in the speed at which content is disseminated on the Internet requires new tools that help detect falsehoods and reduce the impact that disinformation can generate.

More details about the Tech against Disinformation Call:

This article was first published on May 25 by MWCB.

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