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This Browser Extension Is Like an AntiVirus for Fake Photos

Wired: “…Doctored images are the scourge of the web-wide fight against fake news. Tech companies and researchers can analyze the behavior of a typical bot in order to sniff out new ones. They can limit the reach of news outlets that perpetually share stories flagged as false. They can see when accounts are coordinating their activity and wipe out whole networks at once. But determining whether a photo that’s been meme-ified and screenshotted a thousand times over depicts something real requires a different level of forensic analysis. Researchers are beginning to develop software that can detect altered images, but they’re locked in an arms race with increasingly skillful creators of fake images.

What we really need, says Ash Bhat, is a tool that proactively tells people when their media diet has become infected with misinformation, at the very moment they’re seeing it. So Bhat and his business partner, Rohan Phadte, both UC Berkeley undergrads, came up with a browser plug-in that does just that. Called SurfSafe, the plug-in, which launches today, allows people to hover over any image that appears in their browser, whether that’s on Facebook or a site like WIRED. SurfSafe instantly checks that photo against more than 100 trusted news sites and fact-checking sites like Snopes to see whether it’s appeared there before. The photo of Bennett burning the flag, for instance, would surface nine other articles where the image appeared, including fact checks from Snopes and…”

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