It’s important to verify videos no matter how challenging it might be

By Samantha Sunne, Reynolds Journalism Institute

Videos can present a difficult challenge for verification when you aren’t receiving them from a trusted source.

I’m constantly finding and experimenting with new tools for journalists that come across my desk. My current testing table includes API tools, VPNs and a QR code generator. But one task that seemingly every newsroom needs to tackle is to be able to verify contributed videos.

Videos present a steeper challenge than photos for a variety of reasons. They consist of a long series of images, not just one static image, so finding the origin isn’t as simple as a reverse image search or looking at the metadata in Photoshop. And they consist of multiple components and layers including audio, faces, voices, backgrounds, frames and time codes. Any of those components could be fake or manipulated.

The first tool I would recommend for tackling these challenges is called InVID. It was created by a consortium of media and tech organizations in Europe, and comes highly recommended by Bellingcat, a world-famous open-source investigation unit. Even Amnesty International, a global human rights nonprofit, uses it to investigate videos of human rights abuses.

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