Fake news

Fake News. This term has recently started popping up everywhere. From every paper to every edition of the evening news.In this day and age it’s almost impossible to guarantee with certainty how authentic the information is.

Today, especially with digital media, this is an issue which is affecting businesses and society. This can be felt mostly on social media. Information literally spreads like wildfire, distorts and can cause actual real word impacts.

Measures are already being taken to limit the expose of people to such obvious disinformation. Recently AdBlock Plus introduced the Chrome extension TrustedNews.

Taking measures against Fake News

This extension is currently only available for Chrome, but will soon be available for other browsers. The company hopes to evolve the system and integrate blockchain technology with feedback from the userbase.

The database will be decentralized and kept in the Ethereum blockchain. There will also be a build-in protocol to reward contributing users. MetaCert Protocol will maintain the database and will also be issuing MetCert tokens.

Once the database is running on blockchain, voting will be enabled. Users will vote on each other’s feedback and benefit from the reward system. Top earners are required to consistently provide good feedback.People who are trying the fraud or abuse the system are spotted instantly.

People familiar with Steemit, will be familiar with the reward system and the way it operates. The extension is still new so it’s currently only available in English. The system rates websites based on their trustworthiness and integrity.

The icon will display three colors, which will change accordingly to the news you are browsing. The colors are: Green, Orange and Blue. Orange is not considered Fake News, but is associated with biased medias, so this can also apply to many mainstream ones.

Blue will show you a smiley-face every single time you come across obvious click-bait or content from unknown origin. The extension is pulling data from three main sources: Wikipedia, PolitiFact and Snopes.

These sources basically give their approval rating on the particular website. The sources may offer different opinions sometime, but they are unanimous most of the time. The analysis will become increasingly more detailed in the future.

This includes many different languages, pinpointing of biased websites’ sources and incredibly fast and easy marking of unreliable sources. The team will be moving the database on the Ethereum blockchain the coming weeks.

Fake News come in all shapes and sizes

There are many types of fake news and system will probably be unable to detect everything at the start, but the ones you should watch out for are:

  • Clickbait: Fabricated stories with a sensationalist headline and attention grabbing cover image. Mainly used to increase advertising revenue for websites.
  • Propaganda: News stories deliberately created to mislead audiences and promoted a biased view to support a political agenda.
  • Parody or Satire: Many websites push fake stories for parody and entertainment. They mainly feature celebrities.
  • Biased Media: Most people like to hear when they believe, so it’s natural they are drawn to news that support their own beliefs. Fake News prey on these biases and this further amplified by social networks since they display information that it thinks we will like, based on our search history.

Fake News is mostly a business, generating large sums of advertising revenue for publishers. The more clicks, the more money. It’s a very simple strategy which is causing more harm than you might think. At the end of the day, you should always check the facts yourself. The internet is vast and like many people know:

“The truth is out there”

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