Trusted Future
The source for issues, trends, and news on visual trust today
Presented by Truepic
Welcome to our second edition of the Trusted Future newsletter. Trusted Future is a monthly update on news, trends, and issues related to the veracity of what we see and hear online and the impact that has on business and society. Please share with friends and colleagues; we welcome comments and feedback below!
Mobile Phones
Fraudulent Media Lies at the Core of Romance Scams

We asked experts how manipulated, deceptive, and synthetic media were being weaponized to defraud victims in romance scams online:

“At Bumble, we want everyone to connect safely and authentically. We have robust systems and policies to protect our members, especially women, who are disproportionately impacted by manipulated media and deep fakes. This harmful technology can lead to a loss of autonomy and trust, or even a withdrawal from online spaces. That’s why we’re committed to putting safety at the core of all our operations.”
– Azmina Dhrodia, Safety Policy Lead at Bumble Inc.

“Fake images and pictures are the first point of touch for potential scam victims. Dating sites and social platforms showcase images first which attracts the victim. The victim reaches out, and then the scammers are able to lure them in via various persuasion tactics. It is extremely important to be able to know a picture is fake, altered or manipulated,”
– Chelsea King, Editor in Chief at

“Unfortunately, we are regularly contacted by victims of romance scams. People who are looking to make a romantic connection are relying on pictures and video chats for visual cues to confirm they are entering into a relationship with a real person. Scammers use fake imagery to convince their victims to give up their money and compromise their identity by convincing their victims to share login information, driver’s license information, and/or their Social Security number. The victim is then left without a relationship, having given up significant amounts of money, and now is at increased risk for identity theft.”
– Mona Terry, Chief Victims Officer at ITRC

Deceptive and Fraudulent
Deceptive and Fraudulent Media are at the Center of Identity Theft, Fueling Romance Scams on Social Platforms

Online identity fraud is a serious and growing problem today; the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that 1 out 4 people was defrauded in 2021 on social media platforms alone. Identity theft or deception are also foundational tools weaponized and deployed to target victims in romance scams online. The FTC reported that romance scams cost a record $304 million in 2020 alone, with victims losing more in romance fraud than any other type of online fraud.

Romance fraud often begins with fraudulent and deceptive visuals to deceive the consumer on the other end into believing they are entering into a real relationship. After building trust with the victims, fraudsters often request information ranging from payments to personal identifiable information (PII) for financial or illicit gain. In 2021, the FBI warned that fraudsters began persuading victims to send money to allegedly invest or trade cryptocurrency.

This fraud has real financial, psychological, and even physical consequences. Unfortunately, bad actors have become more sophisticated and successfully deployed advanced technologies and image deception techniques to continually defraud victims with deceptive images. On a recent episode of National Geographic's “Trafficked,” host Mariana van Zeller highlights how fraudsters purchased pre-recorded videos to deceive unsuspecting victims on live video.

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Still taken from C2PA Specification demonstration video
C2PA Organizes Virtual Event: Possibilities & Opportunities for the Future of the Internet in the Deepfake and Disinformation Era

The Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) addresses the prevalence of misleading information online through the development of technical standards for certifying the source and history or provenance of digital media content. On January 26, the C2PA held a groundbreaking event announcing and previewing the 1.0 version of the end-to-end open technical standard for certifying the source and history of media content. The event - Possibilities & Opportunities for the Future of the Internet in the Deepfake and Disinformation Era - featured policymakers, academics, and industry leaders weighing in on the future of responsible digital media creation, publication, and sharing.

Click here for highlights of the event:

  • Dr. Eric Horvtiz, Chief Scientific Officer at Microsoft, opened the event by noting that restoring trust in digital content is an ambitious goal that will require diverse perspectives and participation.
  • US Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and US Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) delivered video messages explaining their work to introduce the bi-partisan Deepfakes Task Force Act to help counter the malicious use of synthetic media with digital content provenance.
  • Dana Rao, General Counsel and EVP, Adobe hosted a fireside chat discussing societal and national security implications of deceptive digital content with White House Senior Policy Advisor for Technology Strategy, Lindsay Gorman.
  • Author Nina Schick moderated a panel featuring industry experts including Dr. Matt Turek, Program Manager at DARPA, Dr. Hany Farid, Professor at UC Berkeley, Sam Gregory Program Director at Witness, and Todd O’Boyle, Senior Manager of Public Policy at Twitter.
  • The C2PA previewed the first-ever preview of the v.1.0 technical specification with a short video that can be seen here.
  • The event wrapped up with closing comments from Jamie Angus, Senior Controller of News Output and Commissioning, BBC.

Possibilities & Opportunities for the Future of the Internet in the Deepfake and Disinformation Era

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In Other News

BBC: Director James Cameron on the Dangers of Deepfakes Arrow

Bloomberg: Metaphysic raised 7.5 Million in Series A Arrow

C2PA releases version 1.0 of World’s First Industry Standard for Content Authenticity Arrow

Cyber Awareness 2022: Consider Deepfakes, NFTs and More Arrow

Forbes: New Standard Aims to Protect Against Deepfakes Arrow

Milestones in Digital Content Provenance: v.1.0 Specification and Open-Source Projects Arrow

‘Tinder Swindler’ con artist, subject of new Netflix documentary, banned from dating app Arrow

Truepic’s New SDK Will Power Trusted Photo Capture Across the Internet Arrow

US says that Russian plans 'fake attack' video as pretext for Ukraine invasion Arrow

WEF Global Risks Report Warns of Cyber Pandemic, Erosion of Public Trust & Social Cohesion Arrow

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