PROVENANCE, an ADAPT project co-ordinated by researchers Jane Suitor and Owen Conlan, aims to empower citizens by making the context of online content more transparent and by promoting media and information literacy. The online circulation of false and misleading information is a major threat to social and political stability. It is implicated in the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases, efforts to undermine the political process, and the amplification of social divisions. PROVENANCE hopes to slow down the spread of disinformation by intervening in the ‘attention economy’ of digital media by equipping audiences with media and information literacy skills and by creating a pause before people hit “like” or “share”. This goal is supported by research which finds that judgement can be improved by asking people to think about content accuracy and by warning people about manipulation tactics.
To achieve this, PROVENANCE uses blockchain to record multimedia content that is registered by the PROVENANCE Social Network Monitor. The PROVENANCE Verification Layer then applies advanced tools for multimedia analytics to record any modifications to content and to identify similar pieces of content. A personalised Digital Companion caters to the information needs of end-users to help them navigate content and develop digital literacy competencies. In part, this is achieved through an iconographic Verification Indicator, which is accessed as a browser plugin. It contextualises individual pieces of content with relevant information including: the date and origin of the visual or textual content, its similarity to other content, the quality of the writing including the use of loaded or highly emotional language, and the degree of visual manipulation.
PROVENANCE is co-created with diverse representatives of civil society across three distinct use-cases: citizen information seekers, media literacy practitioners, and content creators. The findings will be applicable to any area in which social media and verification are important. The scientific and pragmatic insights gained through PROVENANCE will significantly advance the state of the art in intermediary-free solutions for content verification, understanding of information cascades and information sources on social media, the openness of algorithms, and user control over personal data.
Learn more: https://www.provenanceh2020.eu/