What are some ways to fight compliance?

Find and fight fake news

New DORIAN research project: interdisciplinary team develops legally compliant methods and practical recommendations for action

Fake news is mostly disseminated to create a mood or targeted agitation against individual people and can quickly circulate on the Internet. But what exactly is fake news and how can it best be combated? The DORIAN project, launched in August and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, deals with these questions. Lawyers, media scientists, psychologists, computer scientists and journalists are working together to find ways to automatically identify fake news and prevent it from spreading. The aim of the project is to develop methods and recommendations for action that are practical and at the same time safeguard data protection and freedom of expression. Project partners are the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology, the Stuttgart Media University, the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University of Kassel. Further information on the project can be found on the Internet at www.sit.fraunhofer.de/dorian.

Social networks and news portals on the Internet have become an important platform for social and political communication. Coordinated fake news campaigns misuse these platforms to distribute manipulated news. They aim to steer the public mood in a certain direction, they are supposed to act as mass propaganda or to influence certain groups in a targeted manner.

It is often time-consuming to expose fake news as such. So far there have been only a few countermeasures, mostly from the operators of large Internet platforms such as Google or Facebook, as well as media companies that operate fact check portals. The DORIAN project has set itself the goal of developing mechanisms to detect and combat false reports, which at the same time take into account the right to freedom of expression as well as freedom of the press, freedom of censorship and data protection. Specifically, the project partners create recommendations for action for citizens, authorities and media houses, for example.

"In the DORIAN project we are investigating opinion manipulation with a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach - with this we want to show possible technical solutions for the automated detection and combating of disinformation and opinion manipulation on the Internet, which are in accordance with fundamental rights and should not have a censoring effect," explains Dr. Michael Kreutzer, project manager at Fraunhofer SIT. Prof. Dr. Martin Steinebach, also Fraunhofer SIT, adds: "We bring great expertise in the field of technical data protection, image and text forensics, computational linguistics and the Internet as an infrastructure to the project."

The legal requirements in the DORIAN project are being examined by a team of scientists from the University of Kassel under the direction of Prof. Dr. Alexander Rossnagel. "We look in which cases legal action can be taken against fake news and examine whether the existing legal framework is sufficient or should be expanded," says Ro├čnagel, who with his team also examines the conformity of possible detection and control measures with data protection.

The team of scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen contributes the latest findings from media psychology. "We examine processes of opinion-forming in social media as well as mechanisms for forwarding information on the Internet," explains Prof. Dr. Nicole Kramer. Her media psychology team will conduct studies to investigate how people perceive false information, whether they stick in their memories - even after it has been discovered - and under which circumstances citizens pay attention to warnings about fake news.

The University of the Media (HDM) in Stuttgart will collect the research material, i.e. compile a collection of fake news. "We also contribute insights into political communication, journalistic quality, data journalism and editorial processes," added Prof. Dr. Katarina Bader and Prof. Dr. Lars Rinsdorf from HDM.

The DORIAN project - uncovering and fighting disinformation - runs until 2019 and has a total funding volume of over one million euros. More information at www.sit.fraunhofer.de/dorian.