Avoid Getting Duped by Fake Photos and Videos with This Nifty Plug-In
No matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on, one thing we can all agree on is that fake news is the international scourge of our time. It’s all too easy to fall for social media posts that use photoshopped images or videos presented out of context.
Last June, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines released Fakeblok, a plug-in that blocks websites known for spreading fake news from your newsfeed. But what about images and videos from social media sites other than Facebook? The last thing you want is to share a photo or video to prove your point, only to have someone publicly point out that it’s fake.
Thankfully, the InVID European Project has created a handy plug-in that makes fact-checking photos and clips much easier. Funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union, InVID Toolkit (short for In Video Veritas) is like a “verification Swiss knife” for journalists and responsible social media users.
It contains seven different tools, the first of which is the Analysis tab. Developed by the Thessaloniki Information Technologies Institute, it can pull up information about Youtube or Facebook videos, including the most interesting comments and tweets about the Youtube video. It can also do a reverse image search—this is good for checking when a video was first published, which in turn allows you to see if it’s being presented in the correct context.
However, the analysis tab’s results can take a while to load, depending on how many comments the video has gotten. If all you want to do is check whether a video has been published before and you don’t need any extra information, you can use the Thumbnails tool, which extracts up to four thumbnails from a Youtube video and automatically opens separate Google or Yandex image search tabs for each one. It works much faster than the Analysis tab.
The Keyframe tool can split videos from Twitter, Daily Motion, Dropbox, Youtube, and Facebook into keyframes that can be reverse image searched on Google, Yandex, or Baidu.
If you’re looking for eyewitness pictures or videos of breaking news on Twitter, the Search function is the way to go. Just enter a keyword or hashtag, and it will pull up all related Twitter media within your specified timeframe.
The Magnifier tool allows you to zoom in on a photo to view, as the InVID team puts it, “implicit knowledge” like signs or text. You can also extract metadata from JPEG photos or mp4/m4v clips using the Metadata tab. Lastly, the Forensic function helps you to see whether images have been photoshopped. With these tools, you can now fact-check your relatives and frenemies' sketchy political posts in just a few clicks.