A war with never ending ammunition.
Ukraine’s fight against disinformation is creating a new startup sector, by Thomas Macaulay, thenextweb.com, September 6, 2023
Counter-disinformation is a growing industry
When Russian troops flooded into Ukraine last year, an army of propagandists followed them. Within hours, Kremlin-backed media were reporting that President Zelenskyy had fled the country. Weeks later, a fake video of Zelenskyy purportedly surrendering went viral. But almost as soon as they emerged, the lies were disproven.
Government campaigns had prepared Ukrainians for digital disinformation. When the crude deepfake appeared, the clip was quickly debunked, removed from social media platforms, and disproven by Zelenskyy in a genuine video.
The incident became a symbol of the wider information war. Analysts had expected Russia’s propaganda weapons to wreak havoc, but Ukraine was learning to disarm them. Those lessons are now fostering a new sector for startups: counter-disinformation.
Like much of Ukrainian society, the country’s tech workers has adopted aspects of military ethos. Some have enlisted in the IT Army of volunteer hackers or applied their skills to defence technologies. Others have joined the information war.
In the latter group are the women who founded Dattalion. A portmanteau of data and battalion, the project provides the world’s largest free and independent open-source database of photo and video footage from the war. All media is classified as official, trusted, or not verified. By preserving and authenticating the material, the platform aims to disprove false narratives and propaganda.
Dattalion’s data collection team leader, Olha Lykova, was an early member of the team. She joined as the fighting reached the outskirts of her hometown of Kyiv.
“We started to collect data from open sources in Ukraine, because there were no international reporters and international press at the time,” Lykova, 25, told TNW in a video call. “In the news, it was not possible to see the reality of what was happening in Ukraine.” Read the rest of this article here.