Viz Lab: A Dashboard to Track and Visualize Memes

Viz Lab fights visual fake news by helping journalists and researchers to understand the origins of viral images and “memes.”

The Problem

Much of the content that circulates on social media are images, often “memes” — defined as “pieces of content that travel from person to person and change along the way.” Most discussion of “fake news” has centered on the written word, whether in the form of tweets, Facebook posts, or articles. But memes and images spread information, too. In fact, research indicates that our brains are more likely to take visuals at face value than text; and there’s little question that images and memes can convey (and evoke) emotion more efficiently. More often than not, we have no idea where the images we encounter online came from, if or how they were altered, and with what intention.

The Solution

Viz Lab is developing a dashboard to track and visualize images and memes, as common sources of fake news, to enable journalists and researchers to more easily understand the origins of the image, who is promoting it, and where it might have been altered and then redistributed. By providing this essential context, the technology enables viewers to assess visuals for “truth” value and evaluate the credibility and motivations of the actors who originate and promote them.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Viz Lab

This project was nominated by: