Can the fake news problem be solved?

Published: January 14, 2021
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An interview with Björn Albrektsson, a long-timer in the global TV business and advisor to Enigio.

Björn, what is your view on the fake news problem?

– I have been in the TV-business since the early 80s and the last 12 years specifically working for big, global news companies like BBC and CNN.

One truly sad and appalling “pest” that has affected the news industry in the last years is the increasing appearance of fake news and deep fakes. Many of us have seen examples of videoclips where people like Barack Obama suddenly say the strangest things. It all looks very real, but it is a video file that has been manipulated by someone with dubious or dangerous purposes.

I have with my own eyes witnessed journalists in many newsrooms (from national broadcasters to global giants) having to spend hours, every day, to establish the authenticity of videos, photos, and audio files. If the authenticity cannot be proven, the material cannot be published.

Another development over the last years is that an increasing volume of breaking news content is not coming from journalists or newsagents but from anybody with a smartphone, so-called user generated content (UGC). This is the door opener to the “market” for potential fake news/deep fakes production.

So, what actions can be taken?

– Well, actions are being taken by several players to stop this trend. For instance, Microsoft is working on different technologies and media literacy to combat disinformation. However, this will not be enough, and given this background, it would be very useful if manufactures of mobile phones and cameras could start using already existing technologies such as Enigio’s time:beat. With the solution, it is extremely easy to protect any type of data such as archives, databases, text documents, images, audio files, movies, and more against any type of manipulation. Implementation is easy and the cost is negligible in comparison to the protection it offers.

For me, this is a wake-up call for the media industry and for all manufacturers of phones and cameras that the creation and spreading of manipulated media and data now finally and definitely can be stopped by just using time:beat or any other similar solution.