How to install and use InVID, a plugin to demystify fake news and verify videos and images


You can make sure that you don’t see fake news, edited photos or deepfakes with this software. Here’s how to install and use it.

Image: Lightspring / Shutterstock

The evolution of social media and the internet has made it possible for people and businesses to share a lot of content, some of which could be used to spread fake news or disinformation. One of the keys to investigating this material is trying to find evidence of the same image / video used before, often in an unrelated context. This article shows how to easily verify it using the InVID verification plugin.

What is the InVID verification plug-in?

While the plugin was originally designed to help journalists verify social media content and improve fact-checking and debunking capabilities for its users, it can also be used by anyone interested in checking images or videos. More and more companies have social media experts on their staff who need tools to spot fake news and detect fake media that might target them. The tool can also be used to educate or train people to increase their skills in detecting media tampering.

The InVID Verification Plugin, or Toolkit, is provided by the European projects InVID and WeVerify. Both projects received funding from the Horizon 2020: EU program for research and innovation.

Features of the InVID verification plugin

The features of this plugin are:

  • Get contextual information on Facebook and YouTube videos.
  • Perform reverse image search on multiple services: Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, TinEye, and Reddit.
  • Fragment the videos of several social networks: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Dailymotion.
  • Enhance and explore keyframes and images using a magnifying glass.
  • Read metadata of videos and images.
  • Check the copyright of the video.
  • Apply forensic filters to the images.
  • Poll Twitter more effectively with timed intervals and multiple filters.

How to install the InVID verification plugin

This tool works as a Chrome or Firefox browser plugin. Of home page of the InVID verification plugin, select Chrome or Firefox. We chose Firefox for this tutorial (Figure A), but the installation steps are the same for Chrome.

Figure A

Download the plugin for installation.

Download the plugin.

Once the plugin is downloaded, go to the folder where it was saved and extract the .zip file (Number B), then unzip it.

Number B

The plugin is extracted from the zip file.

The plugin is extracted from the .zip file.

Double-click on the .xpi file to launch it in Firefox or Chrome. Depending on your default browser, you may need to right-click the .xpi file and select Open With, then choose Firefox or Chrome.

When it opens in the browser, select Add to allow permissions to install the plug-in (Figure C).

Figure C

Allow installation and permissions for the InVID verification plugin in Firefox.

Allow the installation and permissions of the InVID verification plugin in Firefox.

Check the box to allow the plugin to run in Private Windows if desired, then click OK (Number D).

Number D

Selection of permissions to run in Windows private or not.

Select the permissions to run in Private Windows or not.

The plugin is now installed and should display its logo in the plugin bar.

How to access and use the plugin

The plugin can be accessed and used via two methods.

A click on the plugin icon in the browser opens its menu (Figure E).

Figure E

Access the InVID toolbox menu from its icon in Firefox.

Access the InVID Toolbox menu from its icon in Firefox.

  • Opening InVID launches the plugin.
  • Video URLs display the URL of a video on a web page.
  • Image Urls displays the URL of an image on a web page.

The other option is to right-click on any image or video on the webpage (Figure F).

Figure F

Access the plugin by right clicking on an image on a web page.

You can access the plugin by right-clicking an image on a web page.

When clicked with the right button, the menu displays various options of the plugin, such as opening the magnifying glass or performing reverse searches on images in search engines.

InVID Toolkit Main Menu

By clicking on the plugin icon in the browser and selecting Open InVID, the plugin main menu appears (Number G).

Number G

Access the main menu of the plugin.

Go to the main menu of the plugin.

At the top of the menu, several options are available:

  • Tools: This is the default panel that opens when the plugin is launched, as can be seen on Number G.
  • Tutorial: This part contains several tutorial contents.
  • Classroom: This panel features several educational videos on fake news and disinformation.
  • Interactive: This panel leads the user to “Spot the Fake” exercises (with solutions).
  • About: This panel displays information about the plugin and its developers.

The tools

Image magnifier

The image magnifier allows an investigator to zoom in on an image to see more details about it (Number H).

Number H

Using the image magnifier on an image.

This is what the Image Magnifier looks like when used.

Image metadata

This option displays the metadata of an image (Number I).

Number I

Viewing metadata for an image used for this article.

The metadata of an image.

Video rights

Video rights displays the rights to use videos from YouTube, Twitter or Facebook (Figure J).

Figure J

Viewing video rights for a video on YouTube.

Video rights for a video on YouTube.

Advanced Twitter search

This feature allows users to initiate advanced queries on Twitter (Number K).

Number K

Twitter advanced search panel display.

Twitter’s advanced search panel.

YouTube thumbnail reverse search

This feature performs reverse searches on the thumbnails of a YouTube video. Searches can be launched on several search engines (Number L).

Number L

YouTube thumbnail reverse search launched.

The reverse search for YouTube thumbnails.

Video fragmentation and reverse image search (Keyframes)

This option splits the video into multiple frames (Number M) and allows the investigator to perform a reverse image search on any of them. This is a useful feature to detect if parts of a video have been reused from another source.

Number M

Split a video into multiple images so that you can run reverse image search on any of them.

The software splits a video into multiple images so that you can perform reverse image search on any of them.

Video contextual verification

This tab provides statistics on videos from YouTube, Twitter or Facebook (Number N).

Number N

Viewing video statistics of a YouTube video.

Video statistics from a YouTube video.

Forensic analysis of images

This tab provides eight different filters to help detect digital image tampering (Figure O).

Figure O

Apply forensic analysis to an image.

Forensic analysis on an image.

Reverse Image Search

InVID can run reverse image searches on multiple search engines: Google, Yandex, Bing, TinEye, Baidu, and Reddit.

The easiest way to initiate this is to right click on an image and select the desired search engine or select all. The plugin opens a tab per search engine in the browser to display the results (Figure P).

Figure P

Display of the results of a reverse image search on the TinEye search engine.

The results of a reverse image search on the TinEye search engine.

The InVID Toolkit allows any investigator or social media expert to verify content by analyzing images and videos on several different platforms or even on local files. Being a plugin for Firefox or Chrome, it can be used on several different operating systems, like Windows, Linux or Mac.

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