LAHORE: Social media website Facebook announced the winners of its Foundational Integrity Research: Misinformation and Polarisation research award. Among the global list of winners is a three-member team from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums).

The research proposal of doctors Ayesha Ali, Ihsan Ayyub Qazi and Agha Ali Raza, titled ‘Countering deepfake misinformation among low digital-literacy populations’, is among the 25 winners selected from over 1,000 submissions from 77 countries by a selection committee comprising members of Facebook’s research and policy teams.

The award allows the team to develop and test an in-house deepfake-busting technology. This is the second consecutive time that Lums faculty had won this prestigious award that will provide funding of $90,000 to ensure Internet user identities are protected and they are safe from cyber criminals.

As per news on the Lums website, deepfake is a technology that can recreate anyone’s voice and video with unprecedented accuracy and be used to project fake identities of influential people.

The website quotes the award recipients as saying: “Our work aims to answer two questions: among populations with low digital literacy, how do users perceive, consume and engage with non-textual misinformation (such as audio deepfakes)?

What is the role of prior beliefs and analytical ability in forming perceptions about the accuracy of misinformation?, and how can we educate users with lower levels of digital literacy to identify non-textual misinformation (eg, audio messages impersonating public figures)? and bring about behavioural changes such as reducing polarisation?”

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2020

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