Amnesty International and Truly.Media join forces in fight against ‘fake news’

The leading global human rights movement Amnesty International is pleased to be the first external client of Truly.Media, a ground-breaking new collaborative platform aimed at tackling “fake news” by using digital verification techniques to identify authentic and fraudulent posts on social media.

Truly.Media was developed by Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international public service broadcaster, and the Greek software and development company, Athens Technology Center. The web-based platform has been tailor-made for journalists and human rights investigators, allowing teams to work together across time zones to verify digital video, images and other content in real time before it gets used in research and reporting.

“When inconvenient truths prompt public officials to cry ‘fake news’, or when content posted on social media purports to show something it doesn’t, Amnesty International needs to be ready to respond, based on rigorous, methodical research and verification methods,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director.

When inconvenient truths prompt public officials to cry ‘fake news’, or when content posted on social media purports to show something it doesn’t, Amnesty International needs to be ready to respond, based on rigorous, methodical research and verification methods.
Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director

“In partnership with leading universities around the world, our Digital Verification Corps has already put us at the vanguard of the digital revolution in human rights research. We are confident that our collaboration with Truly.Media will take this crucial work to the next level.”

Launched in October 2016, Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps (DVC) currently includes research labs based at Cambridge University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Essex, University of Pretoria and University of Toronto. This inter-disciplinary network brings more than 100 students together with a common goal – to act as the frontline in verifying digital content for human rights research.

The DVC has played a leading support role in Amnesty International’s research on conflicts and crises, including the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Myanmar, the mass forced displacement of whole populations under Syria’s “surrender or starve” policy, and the Sudanese government’s scorched-earth policy, including the likely use of chemical weapons, against villages in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur.

Truly.Media will improve the DVC’s real-time collaboration across continents as well as give them access to state-of-the-art verification tools and expert assistance. Amnesty International’s Crisis Response team and journalists from several media organizations worked directly with the platform’s developers to fine-tune it for their specific needs.

The fact that Amnesty International will be using the platform makes us proud and it proves that there is a real requirement for Truly.Media.
Peter Limbourg, Deutsche Welle’s Director General

“With Truly.Media we can discover false information in digital networks more efficiently and accurately. The project proves the innovation potential of Deutsche Welle in this sector as well. The fact that Amnesty International will be using the platform makes us proud and it proves that there is a real requirement for Truly.Media,” said Peter Limbourg, Deutsche Welle’s Director General.

First external client

Truly.Media launched commercially in November 2017 after being used in-house by Deutsche Welle journalists for several months. Google’s Digital News Initiative Fund contributed to the development of the platform, which builds on research co-funded by the European Commission.

Representatives from Deutsche Welle and ATC outlined the possibilities of Truly.Media in Brussels on Tuesday, 21 November, at the invitation of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment.

Amnesty International will be Truly.Media’s first external client from 1 January 2018.