Trusted Future
The source for issues, trends, and news on visual trust today
Presented by Truepic

Welcome to the fifth edition of Trusted Future, a monthly update on news, trends, and issues related to visual trust. See past newsletter volumes: here.

This month we explore how issues of visual trust are elevating into both business and society's daily conversation with Blake Peterson, Kelsey Farish, and Victor Riparbelli.

Mobile Phones
Trust, Transparency, and Authenticity Online

Issues of visual transparency, trust, into all media (authentic and synthetic) are elevating into both business and society's daily conversation. How will trust, transparency, and the preservation of content be critical to the future of the internet?


"In a world where more and more people are joining online communities, they’re sharing ideas and content in new ways and at lightning speed. This can be a boon for democracy and innovation, both which rely on vibrant debate and exchange of ideas. It also poses new questions and even risks, especially at a time of rising digital authoritarianism. The swell in conversations about authenticating content—with applications spanning from global business to promoting respect for human rights—therefore comes at an exciting time for all of us."

- Blake Peterson, Acting Coordinator, Digital Freedom U.S. Department of State Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy


"When it comes to synthetic or otherwise manipulated media, it’s essential to remember that the opinions formed based on one’s perception of such media can have a remarkable range of implications, ranging from the political to the financial, personal, and social realms. When one is uncertain as to the veracity of digital content, legal issues – such as determining whether media is a protected form of expression or a genuine invasion of privacy – can become very convoluted, very quickly. Trust and transparency in the content we consume online is therefore a critical aspect of not only building a better, safer internet generally, but also ensuring that individual rights and freedoms are protected, too."

- Kelsey Farish, Media and Technology Lawyer, DAC Beachcroft


"Synthetic media is rapidly becoming an integral part of creative workflows for both consumers and professionals. Building trust and transparency into the foundation of the media ecosystem is important to ensure we maximise the benefits of synthetic media while reducing potential harms. But most importantly it will solve for one of the key issues in the information ecosystem today: making it possible too easily trace the origins of media content, whichever synthetic or not."

- Victor Riparbelli, CEO & Co-Founder,


Deceptive and Fraudulent
Visual Trust - Today’s Topic of Conversation, Tomorrow’s Internet Foundation

No interaction, financial, personal, or political works when we can't trust what we see online. Being able to establish confidence in what we see by establishing visual trust, is paramount to the future functioning of society. Nearly six months ago, Trusted Future launched with expert insights on the year to come in visual media. Dr. Eric Horvitz and Dr. Hany Farid both warned that the sophistication and democratization of deep-fake technologies, “paired with the ubiquity of social media,” pose dangerous threats to business and society. Author Nina Schick also opined that “It will also be a breakthrough year for synthetic video.” Those warnings proved prescient. 

Soon after, visual and synthetic media was weaponized to produce false and misleading narratives in Ukraine. Everything from poorly made deepfakes with fabricated claims to cheapfakes of the Ukrainian President littered social media. The inability to discern real from fake has prompted major news outlets to create guides for their readers on how to spot fakes. Examples include Reuters Fact Check and The Washington Post, see here.   

Issues around visual trust, authenticity, and transparency go well beyond the conflict zone. The problem is multifaceted and affects both business and society. Today it is at the forefront of our daily conversation. Former President Barack Obama - in his high-profile speech to Stanford University in April - noted that the implications of image deception, “for our entire social order are frightening and profound.” Soon after, Elon Musk's reported  purchase of Twitter, reignited debates on trust, transparency in user-generated content, and speech protections.

Business is only starting to understand how trust in visual media will affect operations, products, and consumers.  Dove created a campaign, through its Dove Self-Esteem Project, to illustrate how social media platforms are flooded with toxic beauty advice and manipulated imagery. The powerful campaign helps drive home the negative effects of untrustworthy visual media. According to Psychology Today, social media consumption can contribute to body dissatisfaction in both adults and children, and social media platforms that focus on visual images can be worse for body image than those that do not. 

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Visual Deception and Marketplace Risk

Deceptive and synthetic media are a threat to the digital economy. Photo and video manipulation undermine online trust and credibility, putting businesses and their clients at risk. From risk management and legal impact to consumer protection and product verification, technology innovations are helping to create more trustworthy digital transactions. 

Trust in digital content throughout the information lifecycle helps to mitigate risk. Being able to confidently decipher real from fake leads to a reduction in fraud, an increase in compliance, and better management of regulatory and legal risk. Verifying digital content can help businesses implement safeguards for end-to-end data authentication and content verification. Using authenticated media, companies can establish trust with customers or users and automate decision-making. Authenticated media is a promising solution in the fight against the prevalence of image deception across business and society. 

Even a professional networking platform such as LinkedIn is saturated with fake profile images. Making social media accounts with computer-generated faces is cheaper than hiring multiple people to create real accounts. NPR published the article: That smiling LinkedIn profile face might be a computer-generated fake about how the use of AI to create fake LinkedIn profile photos illustrates that the malicious use of synthetic media has found its way to the corporate world.

Another area saturated with image fraud is the short term rental space. Vacation home renters are being tricked into booking rentals that look nothing like the property photos as seen on the Today Show. As a way to protect guests from scams, Airbnb recently announced plans to install a new policy for handling guest complaints and refund requests, upon discovery of a problem. Starting April 29, guests will have 72 hours (up from 24 hours) upon discovery of an issue to contact Airbnb. Many hosts expressed skepticism, concerned that guests could potentially submit staged photos or fake videos as evidence to receive full or partial refunds.

Marketplaces are facing risks based on image and video deception in greater numbers. The Marketplace Risk Management Conference held May 17-18th is the first and only conference focused on risk management, trust & safety, compliance, and legal strategy for marketplace startups. 12 panels focused on Trust and Safety, including one on How to Reduce Fraud, Mitigate Risk, and Restore Trust through Digital Content Verification. More here.

In Other News

Actors launch campaign against AI 'show stealers' Arrow

A Popular Face Swap App Is Advertising Deepfakes on Porn Sites  Arrow

Barack Obama Takes On a New Role: Fighting Disinformation  Arrow

EU law targets Big Tech over hate speech, disinformation Arrow

How Kendrick Lamar’s The Heart Part 5” Video Subverts Deepfake Technology Arrow

Inside the disturbing rise of ‘deepfake’ porn  Arrow

Putin's propaganda playbook shows how an army of fake fact-checkers is sowing doubt and confusion in Ukraine Arrow

Question what you see and hear Arrow

The deepfake dangers lurking in the metaverse  Arrow

The spread of misinformation on TikTok may have impacted the Philippines' presidential election  Arrow

Ukraine war: The stolen faces used to promote Vladimir Putin  Arrow

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