Adobe wants to tackle the scourge of misleading online photos

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Adobe wants developers to help in the fight against online visual misinformation with a line of open source content verification tools. 

Famed for its photo editor and image manipulation software, since 2019, Adobe has been attempting to assuage some of the damage fuelled by heavily edited, misused, or stolen digital media through its Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI). 

Backed by the likes of Microsoft, Intel, and the BBC, the CAI hopes to provide “digital content provenance to everyone”. Translation: the creation and integration of a new metadata standard detailing source and history of a piece of online content. 

But the Initiative needs developers’ help to integrate the content authentication standard on a global scale. Armed with the new JavaScript and Rusk SDKs, and a C2PA tool, developers can now add and display this metadata - known as content credentials - on site and in-app. 

Fighting visual misinformation

The CAI’s aim to end the scourge of misleading visuals has seen the release of three new open-source tools:  

 + JavaScript SDK for displaying credentials in browsers

+ Rust SDK for apps that create, verify, and display credentials

+ C2PA Tool for command line credential creation and verification

The latter builds on the CAI’s role with the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) - an open technical standard for “the ability to trace the origin of different types of media” that unifies the work of Adobe and its partners with the Microsoft- and BBC-led Project Origin. 

Currently, EXIF data is used to identify the content’s source and information (and, unlike future ‘content credentials’, it’s limited to visual media). The new content verification tools expand on that dataset by including additional information such as whether a photo or video has been edited. It may not herald the end of so-called fake news, but content credentials present a clear weapon in the fight against visual misinformation.

In time, the company envisions a future where websites can automate content verification across all photos and videos, and where users know and understand what the data is. Until the standard sees universal adoption, developers, website owners, and users can check an image’s record using the CAI’s simple, online Verify tool.

But with San Jose-based software house already laying the groundwork for NFTs in Photoshop, C2PA’s implementation has a far wider reach than social media feeds and photo storage and sharing sites

Steve Clark
B2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.