A unique solution to combat misinformation from Slovakia
Bratislava, 25.4.2022 – The strength, breadth and potential harmfulness of misinformation in the online environment have been especially noticeable during the COVID-19 pandemic and in connection with the war in Ukraine. According to statista.com, almost half of social network users report seeing fake news at least once a day. That’s why technology startup Simplicity, which expanded into the USA a few months ago, has decided to join forces with the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT) to fight the spread of fake news. They have begun working together on a unique technology that aims to detect and subsequently limit the spread of misinformation. Together, they believe that this solution will be crucial for the future of online communication as such.
Every online community that is open to user-generated content is ultimately vulnerable to misinformation. „In today’s online world, it is very important where we draw information from and how companies and information providers protect themselves against possible misleading information or negative content,,“ says Andrej Krúpa, co-founder of SimpliCity. Simplicity’s mission is to unify official city organizations, public agencies, and residents within the Simplicity app so that residents have online access to relevant community organizations at any time.
Today, the Simplicity app is used by more than 25 municipalities in the United States. These include larger cities such as Santa Maria, Oakland, San Leandro, and the entire San Mateo County near San Francisco, with a joint population of over 1.4 million residents. „Large cities, such as Miami, are interested in how the information will be further protected, so we decided to team up with KInIT, which has extensive experience in combating misinformation,“ said Simplicity co-founder Juraj Gago.
Researchers working at KInIT began to address the issue of combating misinformation before the topic received extensive attention in Central Europe, which is where the Institute is based. They are currently working on a number of related projects, including a solution for fact-checkers within the European project CEDMO, which aims to speed up and streamline fact-finding using artificial intelligence. The upcoming technology, in cooperation with Simplicity, should also work on the basis of artificial intelligence and crowd wisdom – a combination of good moderation processes.
„We are working on sophisticated moderation processes that moderators will use effectively through reporting. Users will be able to report content they deem inappropriate. We are also creating automated mechanisms to detect malware and harmful content, to help moderators focus on critical content,“ says Jakub Šimko of KInIT.
Both partners expect a functional prototype of the solution in the near future. „We are pleased that not only public institutions but also companies are beginning to realize the need to identify and address harmful content, and that we have the opportunity to participate in creating a secure communication space for local communities,“ says Jakub Šimko. A prototype of the new technology should be deployed and tested in several cities, including in the US, as early as this year. „The problem of excess mis- and disinformation is causing global chaos. Therefore, we believe that this solution can have a positive and revolutionary impact on the future of receiving and disseminating information in the online environment,“ adds Andrej Krúpa.