Wednesday, June 26, 2019

How to spot manipulated video

Yesterday, I posted about “head lies”, which was mainly about how written words can reveal partial truth that, intentionally or not, is misleading or even deceptive. These days, however, a lot of the disinformation we see is delivered by video. The video above was released today by The Washington Post, and attempts to lay out some of the techniques used to alter videos and some tips on how we can tell they’ve been altered.

This video is good, as far as it goes, though by necessity it can’t go into any great depth about the various techniques. One thing that’s very good is that they show the same video, both unmanipulated and manipulated. At the very least, that helps us understand what they’re talking about.

The video manipulations they show were done to promote rightwing propaganda. That’s not to say that the Left never do it, however, most of what gets spread on social media, and becomes viral, really is from the Right. That may very well change in the upcoming election campaign when propaganda is theoretically more useful because more people are paying more attention. However, there’s likely to be so many video memes, including from foreign countries trying to influence the election, that it’s at least theoretically possible that none of them will be very effective. Lemons into lemonade?

As with avoiding “head lies”, the fight against being manipulated requires us to be sceptical and wary, especially of video, given how accustomed we are to believing and trusting video evidence. This video is a good contribution toward giving us the tools we need to be better guardians of truth.

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