Real or fake? How to verify geolocation of social media videos | Technology News

Recently, a video on ‘X’, formerly Twitter, showing a group of women in hijab walking with the Indian flag was falsely shared with the claim that Muslims in Palestine were fleeing the region carrying the tricolour because Israeli forces are not killing ‘terrorists’ after seeing the tricolour in their hands. However, a reverse image search will tell you that the video is from Arbaeen Walk 2023 in Iraq.

Another video of people sleeping outdoors was shared with the caption “A scene you will only see in Gaza. Gaza life. Gaza steadfastness… – Gaza 10/16/2023.” The video, however, is from Lisbon and was shot during the World Youth Day in August.

In an era where information flows rapidly through the digital realm, the authenticity and credibility of online content has become increasingly elusive. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and user-generated content has also increased the spread of misinformation. Now, more than ever before, there is a pressing need to question not just the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the online posts, but also ‘where’. It, therefore, becomes necessary to verify the authenticity of photos and videos, to help separate the facts from the fiction.

Here are a few steps to follow while verifying the authenticity of a video:

Run reverse image search: The first step to verify the authenticity of any video is taking a screenshot and then running a reverse image search. To do a reverse search in Google image, you can click on the small camera icon in the search bar and upload the URL or the screenshot of the image you are looking for. It will help you determine if the picture has been altered or an old image/video is being circulated with a fake caption. Remember, if something is not available on Google search engine, you can try and check it on Yandex.

InVid Chrome extension: Another useful tool is InVid chrome extension that gives you numerous screengrabs or keyframes from the video. On the screenshots or the keyframes obtained through InVid plugin, you can run reverse image search one after the other, where you use image as the query. If it is not a video but an image, you can skip the first step and run a reverse image search directly.

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Check for origin: The reverse image search will give you various results which includes the context in which the video or the image was uploaded on other social media platforms. If you find the video elsewhere, check the date, geolocation tag and the hashtags used along with the post, this will help determine the location of video or image.

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Keyword search: Once you get a clue about the location of the video, use a Google keyword search and check for relevant credible media reports that confirm the location.

Use Google maps if needed: If you are still not convinced about the location, use Google maps and see if the location exists on the maps, check for landmarks using satellite imagery and street views.

Our commitment to verifying ‘where’ in every online post is not just a matter of due diligence, but this is also a significant step to make the online landscape a safer, more reliable space.

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