Recently, the European Commission released an article on Medium, referring to the 10 actions that the Commission undertakes in order to tackle ‘one of the biggest challenges democracies face today’, disinformation. This phenomenon is nothing new, however it can ‘affect public opinion, create divisions in society and undermine trust in public institutions and electoral systems’.

At the same time, the growth of social media has made it both easier and faster for disinformation to spread across several channels. The European Union has been listening to the concerns raised about this global phenomenon and decided to bring together the right organizations to tackle it.

In particular, one of the 10 measures that the EU undertakes to counter disinformation is to facilitate the work of fact-checkers by selecting Truly Media to empower the European Observatory against Disinformation, with a  collaborative platform for verification. As the European Commission mentions in its article ‘the work of independent fact-checkers and researchers is becoming more important in the age of disinformation. By bringing together teams from different EU countries and creating a more cohesive community that can share their experiences, they can continue to fine-tune the way they work. One way the EU helps is by investing in new technologies that verify content and track the spread of disinformation across social media, such as Truly Media.’

By incorporating a multitude of tools, Truly Media allows teams of journalists, investigators, fact-checkers, or researchers working in the same organization to collaboratively assess the validity of online content, such as photos, videos, social media accounts, etc. Journalists can select the most important items for their story and verify each item individually using a verification checklist and integrated third-party verification tools like Google Maps, Mappilary, or TinEye.

In addition to being used by broadcasters and media organizations, Truly Media:

It is a great honor for the whole team behind Truly Media, Athens Technology Center (ATC) and Deutsche Welle (DW), to be part of this significant effort with the EU to ‘tackle the spread and impact of online disinformation in Europe and ensure the protection of European values and democratic systems’.

Below you can see how the EU is fighting disinformation

You can read the whole article on the 10 ways the EU is fighting disinformation here.

 


German Public Service Broadcaster ZDF chooses Truly Media to support editorial verification

Athens Technology Center S.A. (ATC) is pleased to announce that Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), one of Europe’s biggest public service broadcasters and leading media organization in Germany, has acquired a Truly Media licence to support fact checking and verification, especially for its news programmes.

Truly Media supports ZDF’s recently established fact checking team to aggregate and verify content from a diverse range of sources with a particular focus on Social Networks. The platform has already been proven to be a valuable tool for Deutsche Welle’s (DW’s) editorial teams and has also been tested by various German media organisations during the 2017 German Elections.

Nikos Sarris, Head of ATC’s Innovation Lab noted: “Truly Media has its technical origins in R&D projects; yet, business-wise, it incorporates ATC’s 15+ years of experience in providing ICT solutions to the media industry and DW’s unique knowledge of contemporary user needs and workflows.  We are more than proud of this new partnership, also because it proves that public media organisations invest in new technologies to fight disinformation, which is so seriously harming democracies all around the world.”.

Wilfried Runde, Head of Research and Cooperation Projects at Deutsche Welle, adds: “Having ZDF join the Truly Media user base is really exciting. ZDF’s specific requirements to support a wide range of quality news programmes with verification and fact checking features will provide excellent opportunities for collaborative verification, and also allows us to further improve the platform for all current and future customers.

The community is growing!

In this context it is worth noting that Truly Media also received positive feedback from all the organizations that are currently testing the platform as part of the European Observatory against Disinformation.


The GEN Summit is the annual meeting of the largest network of CEOs, editorial directors, editors-in-chief and senior media executives from both the print and online sector, coming together from around the world. During the conference, a group of diverse speakers and attendees who are at the forefront of journalism, media, and technology, share their ideas and discuss many of the challenges the news industry is facing.

 

This year, the GEN Summit will focus on the “VVV Challenges: Voice, Visual Journalism and Verification“: three areas in which the global media industry has identified major disruptions due to recent developments in Artificial Intelligence, storytelling and disinformation.

In this context, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international public service broadcaster, and Athens Technology Center (ATC), a leading software provider for publishers and news agencies, once again join forces and participate in the event showcasing Truly Media, the collaborative platform they developed to help users analyse and assess the trustworthiness of digital content.

The platform supports media organisations in their efforts to fight disinformation, while it has also been proven highly useful in other critical areas, as shown by Amnesty International using Truly Media to investigate human rights violations.

 

 


European Science-Media Hub will use Truly Media to monitor scientific publications

We are honoured to announce that the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH), operating under the responsibility of the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by a team within the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), is now using Truly Media in order to provide evidence-based information and better science communication to all.

 

Vitalba Crivello, Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services, pointed out the significance of having enhanced media monitoring and media intelligence tools for the ESMH to follow the most popular topics in the field of science and technology on different platforms: magazines, newspapers and social media.

In addition , Theo Karapiperis, Head of the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA), stressed the fact that Truly Media will be an ideal complement to the IT toolbox used by the ESMH to fulfil its mission of making evidence-based information available to journalists, other media and citizens about new scientific developments and scientific topics that attract media attention, and assisting them in identifying and tackling disinformation.

With Truly Media, media professionals as well as human rights organizations can exploit a set of advanced digital tools for verifying news (text, images or videos) as they are shared directly in social media, in real time, allowing their users to cooperate across organisational boundaries, time zones and geographic regions. In addition to Truly Media being used by broadcasters and media organisations, this collaborative platform, developed and provided by Athens Technology  Center (ATC) and Deutsche Welle  (DW), Germany’s international public service broadcaster,

In the light of the above new contract with the European Science Media Hub, Yiannis Kliafas, ATC’s General Manager stated: “Truly Media incorporates ATC’s 15+ years of experience in the media and news industry. We are more than proud of this new partnership, mainly because it solidifies our active role to support the EU’s strategic effort to fight disinformation, following similar initiatives we also take part in, like the European Observatory for fighting Disinformation and the WeVerify project”.

How can scientists, policymakers and journalists work better together in order to tackle misinformation and provide evidence-based information for people?

The European Science-Media Hub creates a network among policymakers, scientists and media involving science, academia, educational and research entities, and professional associations of journalists and scientists.

 

 


(Photo credit: Patrick Leusch / DW)

From 11 to 13 June Deutsche Welle hosted the Global Media Forum, a conference attended by more than 2,000 participants. This year’s topic: global inequalities.

Three conference days were packed with a versatile programme. Speakers and attendees made it to Bonn, the former German capital, from all over the world. One of the highlights of Day 1 was the keynote of Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.

After her keynote, Deutsche Welle’s Jochen Spangenberg had the unique opportunity to present Truly Media to the EU Commissioner.

Commissioner Gabriel was rather pleased with and interested in what she saw. She also inquired about possible uses of Truly Media in the EU context. All this also has to be seen in the context of the EU’s initiatives to fight misinformation, something that was initiated by Mariya Gabriel and her Directorate on the European level.

The fact that Truly Media is based on outcomes of the EU co-funded research project REVEAL made the Commissioner’s smile even brighter, as it showcases well how EU-funded research can lead to successful products and services that are appreciated by their respective user communities.

Our team, in turn, is very grateful in having had the opportunity to showcase Truly Media to the Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society.


Deutsche Welle, ATC’s Truly Media partner, was founded and started broadcasting in 1953. Consequently, Deutsche Welle is having its 65th anniversary in 2018. More than one reason to celebrate!

In addition to staff parties and looking back on 65 years of broadcasting in Deutsche Welle programmes, the occasion was commemorated with two formal, high profile events. Truly Media featured in both of them. Obviously, we are delighted!

Truly Media was chosen as one of nine Deutsche Welle ‘highlight projects’ that were presented and showcased at the German Foreign Office on 30 May 2018. Members of the German diplomatic services were introduced to the platform and then had the opportunity to see it in operation live. Julia Bayer and Jochen Spangenberg represented Truly Media on the day.

 

Julia Bayer and Jochen Spangenberg at the Truly Media stand at the German Foreign Office (Photo credit: DW)

 

The ‘big day’ was a week later, on 5 June. It saw the main event that celebrated 65 years of Deutsche Welle. More than 300 people, mostly Members of Parliament, Ministers, State Secretaries, DW Board members, current and former DW staff and invited dignitaries met at Paul-Loebe-Haus, which is part of the German Parliament or Bundestag, as we say in German. The guest of honour: German chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.

Wilfried Runde and Jochen Spangenberg represented Truly Media. Not only did they show the platform and its features, and the concept behind it, to attendees of the celebrations. Jochen was also given the unique opportunity to give a brief Truly Media demo to chancellor Angela Merkel. Her comments at the end were smart and sweet: “well done – keep going”.


Jochen Spangenberg presenting Truly Media to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
With State Minister for Culture and Media Monika Grütters and DW Director-General Peter Limbourg (Photo credit: Jan Roehl)

 

Not much else we can add but that we will certainly keep going, and were delighted to be given the opportunity to present Truly Media at these high profile events. More than one reason to celebrate!


German Press Agency dpa and BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk), which is part of the ARD network of public service broadcasters, will use Truly Media to aggregate and verify UGC for their coverage about German federal elections in September. “We are using Truly Media to verify eyewitness content following the latest trends in technology. This helps us standardise and document all our verification efforts in a harmonised way across editorial departments“, says Stefan Primbs, Head of Social Listening and Verification at BR.
Our online collaboration platform allows journalists to aggregate and verify User Generated Content (UGC) for their reporting. The platform reflects the entire verification process of UGC. It allows the aggregation of UGC from several social media platforms as well as manual video and photo uploads. Journalists can then select the most important items for their story, and verify each item individually using a verification checklist and integrated third-party verification tools like Google Maps or TinEye.

 

 

With Truly Media journalists can verify photos, videos, or social media accounts in real-time. This can be done in collaboration within a single newsroom, across different media companies, or together with individual journalists working anywhere in the world. “Truly Media can help us to better coordinate our team efforts around verification. It thereby improves transparency along the workflow, for all teams involved,” states Stefan Voss, Head of the verification team at dpa.


Disclaimer:
 Truly Media is an integrated web application that is scheduled for full commercial release in October 2017. It has been co-developed by ATC (Greece) and Deutsche Welle (Germany). It builds on work carried out in EC co-funded research projects, in particular REVEAL, and is currently supported by Google’s DNI Fund (Digital News Initiative).Over the past months, and ahead of the formal launch later this year, dpa, BR and many other media organizations, including Deutsche Welle, have extensively worked with the Truly Media platform to test and further refine it. If you are interested in becoming a user of Truly Media you can request access down below.


On September 21st, 2017, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) invited us to discuss fake news phenomenon, present Truly Media platform and our cooperation with DW. Truly Media, a collaborative platform that ATC (Greece) and Deutsche Welle (Germany) co-developed to support journalists in the verification of content residing in social networks, will be used by German Press Agency dpa and BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk, part of the ARD network of public service broadcasters), to aggregate and verify user generated content (UGC) for their coverage of the German federal elections in September. The platform has already been proven a useful tool for Deutsche Welle’s (DW) editorial teams for over 6 months period.


Amnesty International is now using Truly Media, during its every day operations, in order to verify information related to human rights violations. Mrs. Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director pointed out the positive experience during testing the platform. DW Director Peter Limbourg welcomed the fact that the new software platform can support human rights organizations in their important work.

This partnership was formally announced during the STOA Annual Lecture 2017 in Brussels on November 21st.  Eva Kaili, Greek MEP and Chairwoman of the STOA Committee, is also full of praise for Truly Media and what ATC and DW are providing for the fact-checking community.

 

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