The evolution of social media and the internet have allowed people and companies to share a lot of content, some of which might be used to spread fake news or misinformation. One of the keys to investigate this material is to try to find evidence of the same image/video being used before, often in an unrelated context. This article shows how to easily check for it by using the InVID Verification Plugin.
While the plugin is originally designed to help journalists verify content on social media and improve fact-checking and debunking capabilities for its users, it can also be used by anyone with an interest in checking images or videos. More and more companies have social media experts on staff who need tools to spot fake news and detect fake media that might target them. The tool might also be used to raise awareness or train people to increase their skills in detecting media tampering.
The InVID Verification Plugin, or Toolkit, is provided by the InVID and WeVerify European projects. Both projects have received funding from the Horizon 2020: EU Programme for Research and Innovation.
- Get contextual information on Facebook and YouTube videos.
- Perform reverse image search on multiple services: Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, TinEye and Reddit.
- Fragment videos from several social networks: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Dailymotion.
- Enhance and explore keyframes and images by using a magnifying lens.
- Read video and images metadata.
- Check video copyrights.
- Apply forensic filters on images.
- Query Twitter more efficiently through timed intervals and several filters.
This tool works as a Chrome or Firefox browser plugin. From the home page of the InVID Verification Plugin, select Chrome or Firefox. We chose Firefox for this tutorial (Figure A), but the install steps are the same for Chrome.
Double-click on the .xpi file to launch it in Firefox or Chrome. Depending on what your default browser is, you might need to right-click on the .xpi file and select Open With, then choose Firefox or Chrome.
- Open InVID launches the plugin.
- Video Urls displays the URL of a video on a web page.
- Image Urls displays the URL of an image on a web page.
- Tools: This is the default panel that is opened when the plugin is launched, as can be seen on Figure G.
- Tutorial: This part contains several tutorial contents.
- Classroom: This panel shows several educational videos about fake news and disinformation.
- Interactive: This panel brings the user to 8220;Spot the Fake8221; exercises (with solutions).
- About: This panel shows information about the plugin and its developers.
This option fragments the video into multiple images (Figure M) and allows the investigator to run a reverse image search on any of it. This is a useful feature to detect if parts of a video have been reused from another source.
The easiest way to launch this is to right-click on a picture and select the desired search engine or select all. The plugin opens one tab per search engine in the browser to show the results (Figure P).
The InVID Toolkit allows any investigator or social media expert to verify contents by analyzing images and videos on several different platforms or even on local files. Being a plugin for Firefox or Chrome, it can be used on several different operating systems, like Windows, Linux or Mac.