Funding expands for Newhouse professors’ work on technology to combat fake news

Two professors from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications who are working on the development of technology to detect manipulated media and combat the spread of fake news are supported by a subcontract that now tops $1.1 million, thanks to a recent expansion.  

Jason Davis, research professor and co-director of the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab, and Regina Luttrell, associate dean for research and creative activity, will continue to work on refining a theoretical framework for the creation and testing of AI algorithms that can identify manipulated media. In addition, they will expand the scope of their research to include new modalities such as image, video and audio manipulations. They will collaborate with researchers from private industry and academia.

“While the challenges associated with fake news and misinformation may not be new, the speed, scale and global impact created by digital media channels certainly is,” Davis says. “This research effort underscores Newhouse’s continuing commitment to addressing some of today’s most challenging problems and contributing to solutions with global impact. It is our intention that this research will help develop solutions that can detect and combat the effects of disinformation across a rapidly evolving digital landscape.”

The subcontract is part of the Semantic Forensics program, funded by an $11.9 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract with PAR Government Systems Corp. The program seeks to create a system for automatic detection, attribution and characterization of falsified media assets.

Davis and Luttrell will continue to grow a team of doctoral, masters and undergraduate student researchers, based in the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Labs, to assist with the research.