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AFP uses specialist software to detect manipulated photos

AFP has recently begun using forensic software to alert photo editors to manipulated images produced by third party sources and amateur witnesses.

AFP is the only global news agency to use Tungstene, high-technology image interpretation software which combs through the information contained in digital images to detect potential tampering. Using a suite of filters, it can identify tell-tale discrepancies in pixels and analyse harmonisation of light and colour. The Agency has set up a specialist unit within its photo department to trace edits and manipulations in suspect photos. If an editor expresses doubts about the veracity of a particular image, it is passed to the unit for analysis using the software. AFP has equipped its regional editorial centres in Washington, Paris and Hong Kong with the new software.

AFP is recognised for the excellence of its photojournalism and Tungstene is aimed at "preserving the authenticity of the work of its journalists," said Roger Cozien, a former criminology expert who created the software package. AFP used Tungstene to identify tampering on a recent photograph purportedly of a dead Osama bin Laden, an image broadcast in Pakistan and subsequently widely used around the world, before it was withdrawn as an obvious hoax.