The search for reliable news in the social media age is a perilous endeavor. Today, about two-thirds of adults say they get their news from Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. More than half of those admit they expect it to be largely inaccurate. What is it with fake news?
Reliable News Consumption
It’s important to understand just how complex reliable news consumption has become. Imagine a never-ending buffet churning along a conveyor belt 24 hours a day. Each dish includes a catchy headline from the chef, or a note from someone who’s already tasted from the dish, urging you to dig in. Some of them are nutritious, others are full of empty calories, while preparation of some has gone awry and they are downright unsuitable for public consumption. A few of the more elite chefs may pay good money to have their dish displayed prominently. Meanwhile, the belt is running at breakneck speed. Blink and you’ll miss a whole course. This analogy about sums up today’s digital news environment.
What if blockchain could keep the news media honest and promote reliable news?
With the “attention economy” of the World Wide Web spurring so-called “fake news,” a growing number of blockchain-based start-ups are aiming to give publishers and independent journalists more power over biased search engines and social media sites. Below are a few of those organizations searching for ways to create better digital media ecosystems.
Digital Media Ecosystems
Primas plans to develop a blockchain-based metadata protocol called Decentralized Trusted Content Protocol, or DTCP. Participants would pay the network’s token to publish each article, in return receiving a tamper-proof record across the blockchain noting who published it and when. Along with assuring the validity of the news-piece and its source, the process could also identify the abuse of plagiarism and piracy.
Blockchain-powered Civil publishing platform uses its own token-staking mechanism to ensure existing partners vet publishers.
Publiq goes a step further, offering independent journalists a decentralized, tamper-proof place to publish their content. In turn, it would reward users that relinquished a portion of their free storage space. The platform would also incorporate artificial intelligence that targets advertising by topic, along with links to articles with “alternative opinions.”
In light of recent data privacy controls, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Current Media has partnered with content creators and streaming media giants. Partnerships with Apple Music and Spotify are to ensure credible media makers and their consumers receive the CRNC token.
Verasity is a a blockchain and content-sharing platform that claims to weed out bogus news with VERA. Vera tokens reward both viewers and content creators.
RightMesh is a company that connects users peer-to-peer using blockchain in countries with restricted internet access. In that way, it bypasses the web altogether, which is useful in countries where parts of the Internet are unreachable. Its network can operate over Wi-Fi, bluetooth or personal Wi-Fi services.
Blockchain against Fake News
With its claims of being an immutable source of truth, the blockchain is a logical place to house a veracity of news items. The same “skin-in-the-game” premise driving today’s blockchain-based prediction markets could be applied. Money people stake to make a prediction ensures they’re more likely interested in being right. Baking in incentives, such as rewarding or removing tokens or reputation, could go a long way in keeping people honest.