Adobe Will Help Identifying And Tagging ‘Photoshopped’ Images Using Cryptographic Signatures In Metadata

Adobe will soon deploy a test version of a powerful system that will help to identify images that have been morphed or altered with the intention of spreading fake news. These altered images often referred to as ‘Photoshopped’, have increasingly been used as a weapon to spread disinformation. Adobe’s method involves tagging images with information that helps to mark them as altered or manipulated.

Adobe will start conducting trails of a feature that will help in tagging images that have been altered with malicious intent. The preview of the feature is expected to roll out in the coming months and is based on the ‘metadata’ aspect of images that contain additional information. By amending the Metadata with ‘Cryptographic Signatures’ to images at every stage of alteration, Adobe hopes to help people quickly identify if the image has been ‘Photoshopped’.

Adobe To Deploy Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) With System Of Tags With Cryptographic Signatures:

Adobe had established the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) with the help of The New York Times and Twitter last year. The intent behind the initiative was to stem the rapid proliferation of fake or morphed images on the internet. These images are cleverly manipulated using Adobe’s products such as Photoshop with the intention of spreading disinformation. Until recently, the primary way of identifying such faked images was either through self-discretion or through independent analysts.

There is an increasing need for techniques that quickly and independently identify Photoshopped images. These systems can then mark them or censor them before they spread fake news. Under the initiative, Adobe aims to use a system of tags to trace back a given image to the photographer and the location where the photograph was taken. These tags will have a layer of additional security with the help of cryptographic signatures.

Whenever a photo is edited, subsequent tags will be added. This will create a record containing the complete history and origins of the photograph. Such a system could easily verify the integrity of the images. Adobe believes that this metadata, when bundled with the photograph, will help mitigate the spread of disinformation and fake photographs online.

Will Adobe’s CAI To Spot Photoshopped Images Help Social Media Platforms?

The CAI is direly needed in the present times. Images and photos are increasingly being morphed and altered to completely change the narration and meaning. Quite a few of these cleverly manipulated images are very difficult to identify, and hence, they make the viewer or social media user believe about the false narrative. Such images spread quickly on the internet and cause a lot of damage.

Social Media platforms have been severely impacted by the rising use and spread of Photoshopped images. Hence it is the right time to implement a back-end, and perhaps invisible, service that establishes the proposed system of metadata to establish the authenticity and integrity of images.

It is important to note that the efficacy of Adobe’s system, as well as the CAI, depends majorly on adoption. Large publications, social media platforms, software companies, content creators, and most importantly, camera manufacturers, will need to support and help implement the standard proposed by CAI. Needless to add, this is a big initiative. It essentially transfers the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of images on the original creators. While the person or agency capturing the image or photo would surely like to help, it is a big task, and there are several layers between the original image and the social media viewer.

Alap Naik Desai


A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.