Nikos Sarris: We can fight disinformation and misinformation with technology tools

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Nikos Sarris: We can fight disinformation and misinformation with technology tools

During the Digital Single Market #ICT2018 Innovation Conference I met and interviewed Nikos Sarris, Head of the ATC Innovation Lab (http://ilab.atc.gr).

Nikos has been working for more than 20 years in R&D projects as a researcher, project manager and coordinator of large multinational consortia. In the latest years, he has been involved in media-related projects focusing on the semantic analysis and ‘understanding’ of multimedia news content. He is currently managing two related products on behalf of ATC: TruthNest and TrulyMedia, the latter in cooperation with Deutsche Welle DW-TV. Nikos is the coordinator of the EC-funded SOMA project tasked to empower the European Observatory against Disinformation.

We talked about Truly Media and how they are fighting Disinformation through Human, Crowd and Artificial Intelligence.

You can find more about InVID project, work of the EU project REVEAL, one of the EC’s very first projects dealing with verification of digital content started in 2013 and completed in late 2016, at https://revealproject.eu/. More about Truly Media, a collaborative verification platform developed by ATC and Deutsche Welle at http://www.truly.media/ and the newly started EU projects WeVerify (also tackling misinformation – started on 1 Dec 2018) at https://weverify.eu/. Also, check out the coordination action SOMA (building and supporting a European Disinformation Observatory – more on http://www.disinfobservatory.org/).

Click above the photo, watch the interview or read below. 

Panis Pieri: Hi to all, we are here with the Greek friend Nicos Sarris. Hi Nicos, tell us more about you and why you are attending ICT2018?

Nicos Sarris: Nice to meet you and thank you for the invitation. We are here because we are working for many years in the assessment of trustworthiness of content that you find on social media like tweets and all kind of posts in social networks. We have developed a technology that helps users understand what is hidden beneath the surface and help them decide if they want to trust this information or not. We have started many years ago, since 2011, working in projects funded by the European Commission on developing such tools. Now we are the position where we have two commercial applications the one called the Truthness and the other called Truly Media which help users in this in this process. Truthness provides deep Twitter analytics. The idea is that you give it for example a source on Twitter and it gives you all the profile of that source, what the source has done in the past, what is the engagement with other people, what is the influence of the source, what is the activity. It uses many different metrics provided in a very nice and intuitive and user-friendly way so that the user can very quickly get a very quick idea around the profile of the source.

Panis Pieri: What is Truly Media?

Nicos Sarris: Truly media is a collaborative platform that helps users do it together in groups. Working together with Deutsche Welle, the German international broadcaster, and they told us that this is very nice but we usually do the fact checking in groups. They have groups of fact-checkers, persons that works in the newsroom and they need to work together. So we build that collaborative platform that helped them gather content from many different platforms and then start an investigation from there. They gather collections of content to fight disinformation and fakenews by verifying the truth. We have more than 400 users now.

Panis Pieri: The fact checking is done remotely, offline and online?
Nicos Sarris: Everything. Even Amnesty International is one of the organization using Truly media. Amnesty have teams all over the world, where they want to verify information that comes to their attention around violation of Human Rights and they want to examine this information before they decide how to deal with it.

Panis Pieri: The information comes from…
Nicos Sarris: It can be from any source. Truly Media allows you to quickly gather content from social networks, the web, RSS feeds from any online source. They gather it collaboratively together and they start an investigation. They gather content simultaneously into the collection, they assigned tasks between them, and they put together stories quickly and easily from within the tool among them. The platform is live, it's commercial. Our clients are big news agencies for now with our biggest customer is Amnesty International. We are discussing with the European Parliament to build a network to support the European network of fact-checkers for the next Parliament elections. There's a lot happening around these tools.

Panis Pieri: How did you find the ICT 2018?
Nicos Sarris: The event is very nice, very interesting, a lot is happening, a lot of people. We know a lot of people and we see them every time to these events. We talk about new ideas, new proposals that we're going to start. I think it's one of the best organized I've been in many years.

Many thanks to the European Commission and Digital Single Market for inviting me to attend the biggest innovation conference of Europe and the DG Connect Media team for their great support.

Panis Pieri
Author: Panis PieriWebsite: http://panispieri.com
Founder at RiseTech Media