SocialTruth: the anti-fake news system that provides trusted sociality

Creating a system that ranks news and certifies their reliability, targeted to professionals and ordinary users of social media and the web.

This is the goal of SocialTruth, a multicultural, multidisciplinary European project designed and developed by an international consortium of 11 partners led by Athens’ ICCS, whose motto is “Embedding veracity for social media and web”.

SocialTruth has been developed to fight fake news by employing state-of-the-art technologies. The originality of the project lies in the idea of creating an open, democratic, pluralistic and distributed ecosystem. The initiative grants easy access to various verification services, ensuring scalability and building trust, in a completely decentralized environment. High reliability is the distinctive feature of the system, powered by block-chain technology, for distributed reputation and trust as well as enhanced security and auditability, with no intermediaries or central authorities.

After a preliminary analysis that led to establish the functional requirements of the system, the technological architecture, ethic requirements and journalistic use cases, SocialTruth is now entering the prototyping phase and getting closer to the first test release.

Lately, the project was presented by some members of the consortium at European meetings and theme conferences about fake news. There, the speakers discussed the remedies and solutions to the problems raised by the fast growth and spreading of Social Media, which have inevitably produced scarcely reliable and ungrounded news, a situation that is increasingly deteriorating.

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, SocialTruth will benefit individual users, by checking the reliability of Social Media content and stopping misinformation, and will help media organizations, content authors and journalists to improve their investigative resources with a better option to crosscheck different multimedia sources and create a more sustainable quality and security-oriented web and social media ecosystem.

The functionalities of SocialTruth will be tested and assessed in four hands-on trials in different European sites and settings, addressing a wide range of end-users, use cases and market requirements, and in 2021, after 3 years of efforts and tests, it will be made available to the wide community.

The SocialTruth’s consortium geography spans 6 European countries, namely Greece, Poland, France, Italy, Romania and the UK, supplying the required variety of challenges and their strong EU relevance.

Three widely recognised research organisations: ICCS – Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (Athens – GR); UTP-University of Sciences and Technology (Bydgoszcz – PL); LSBU-London South Bank University (London – UK).

Three main technical partners, developers and software vendors: Thales (Paris – FR); Expert System France (Paris – FR) and Qwant (Paris – FR); along with two experienced management consulting companies: Tecoms (Rome – IT) and Zanasi&Partners (Modena – IT).

The SocialTruth consortium is complemented by two major news and media groups: Adnkronos (Rome – IT) and DeAgostini Scuola (Rome – IT) and by InfocoCons (Bucarest – RO), a very active consumers’ organisation.