Work on Tech to Combat Fake News Draws More Funding for Newhouse Faculty Members

Funding for research by two Newhouse School faculty members looking into technology to detect manipulated media and combat the spread of fake news now totals nearly $1.5 million after the project received more funding this summer. 

Jason Davis
Jason Davis

The effort led by Jason Davis, research professor and co-director of the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab, and Regina Luttrell, associate dean for research and creative activity, focuses on refining a theoretical framework for the creation and testing of artificial intelligence algorithms that can identify manipulated media.  

Their research is tied to a subcontract that is part of the Semantic Forensics program, which is funded by an $11.9 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract with PAR Government Systems Corp. The Semantics Forensics program seeks to create a system for automatic detection, attribution and characterization of falsified media assets. 

Gina Luttrell
Regina Luttrell

Davis and Luttrell received $470,000 in June in the second expansion of funding for their subcontract since the program began in 2020. They will expand the scope of their research to include new modalities such as image, video and audio manipulations, and collaborate with researchers from private industry and academia. 

“While the challenges associated with fake news and misinformation may not be new, the speed, scale and global impact created by digital media channels certainly is,” Davis said. “This research effort reinforces Newhouse’s commitment to addressing some of today’s most challenging problems and contributing to solutions with global impact.”  

Davis and Luttrell will continue to grow a team of doctoral, masters and undergraduate student researchers, based in the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Labs, to assist with the research. 

“We hope this research will help develop solutions that can detect and combat the effects of disinformation across a rapidly evolving digital landscape,” Davis said.