In an era of social media manipulation and disinformation, we could sure use some help from innovative entrepreneurs. Social networks are now critical to how the public consumes and shares the news. But these networks were never built for an informed debate about the news. They were built to reward virality. That means they are open to manipulation for commercial and political gain.
Fake social media accounts — bots (automated) and “sock-puppets” (human-run) — can be used in a highly organized way to spread and amplify minor controversies or fabricated and misleading content, eventually influencing other influencers and even news organizations. And brands are hugely open to this threat. The use of such disinformation to discredit brands has the potential for very costly and damaging disruption when up to 60 percent of a company’s market value can lie in its brand.
Astroscreen is a startup that uses machine learning and disinformation analysts to detect social media manipulation. It has now secured $1 million in initial funding to progress its technology. And it has a heritage that suggests it at least has a shot at achieving this.
Its techniques include coordinated activity detection, linguistic fingerprinting and fake account and botnet detection.
The funding round was