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New Antwerp technology recognises IS online propaganda

© Belga
New technology from the University of Antwerp is set to be a key tool in the fight against I.S. on social media.
© Belga

Textgain, a spin-off from the University of Antwerp, has developed software allowing for recognition of Islamic State (I.S.) fighters on the Internet. It announced this yesterday (Thursday). The software could, from now on, be used in the fight against jihadist propaganda.

The company, Textgain, had already previously developed software locating hate messages on Twitter.

IS terrorists and sympathizers have since then modified their practices and, henceforth, send their messages via encrypted platforms.

Researchers succeeded in getting around this problem. Using recognition technology and in-depth analysis, thousands of photographs of I.S. fighters were matched up with those of other users.

This way it was possible to detect the differences.

Guy de Pauw indicated, “Mainstream social network users, above all, share selfies, photographs of their pets, favourite cinema and football stars.”

He pursued, “In contrast, I.S. fighters share pictures of war weapons, explosions, fighters who died in combat and flags. Our algorithms make it possible to identify individually and in a fair way, in 85% to 90% of cases, the photograph shared.”

The software can be used in the fight against I.S. propaganda, De Pauw says, “Our software had previously attracted attention. Authorities have already made available budgets for social network budgets.”

He goes on, “The social network climate is ripe for this and we hope to be in a position to respond to a call for tenders.”

The Brussels Times