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How can blockchain defeat fake news?

The free access to create and share information on social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, Instagram and many others has added more to an existing problem of dissemination of false information. The quest to make quick money through blogging has compounded the problem and made it look like a monster. With millions of news articles and blog posts being published every day, users experience problems finding the right content and separating fact from fiction.

People don’t check the authenticity of messages or videos forwarded to them via social media platform. Honestly speaking, many have fallen victim of this menace and more are still falling on daily basis.

How do we get out of this? Well, with advances in technologies like AI and blockchain and with the transparent and traceable nature of the blockchain; the authenticity of such news can be verified. The blockchain will enable the content to be verified and distributed over the web in a secure and immutable way.

I don’t want to bore you with “what Blockchain is” but it’s simply “a distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets across the entire network of computer systems”.  Due to the transparency, traceability and decentralization nature of the blockchain, the problem of fake news can be dealt with effectively.

How can blockchain defeat fake news?

We have many Blockchain-enabled apps such as Snip, Userfeeds and many more, that have been tokenized to deal with fake news.

Content creators are compelled to create their profiles before uploading any content. The decentralized community of content creators who create the contents featured on the app will be rewarded with App tokens that advertisers and users spend on the platform.

Instead of depending on a central authority or adhoc team to vet the quality of the featured content, the blockchain App uses the general wisdom of the reader community. Readers are allowed to rate content and flag them as biased, inappropriate or incomplete where necessary, which will be anonymously recorded. In most cases, the Blockchain App could have a feature for independent fact checkers to vet the contents and earn tokens as reward on the blockchain.

Most Blockchain Apps use open-source algorithms to populate news feeds that are transparent and open to scrutiny. The platform users can also choose from different content curation algorithms. And developers are rewarded when they create and publish new content curation algorithms on the blockchain.

 

We also have Blockchain based “Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS)” that could be used to defeat fake news. Every user posting content online, buying an ad or writing a review are required to identify themselves electronically for easy identification and record keeping. This can take the form of video identification or electronic signatures that could easily and securely associate the signer with the online account and information, he/she shared. With this method, fake news are easily spotted with bots and account of the content creator blocked.

Big names from the media industry such as New York Times are adopting blockchain to fight fake news using its full potential. The New York Times is deploying the Hyperledger Fabric permissioned blockchain to stamp out fake news. We have other media houses that are tolling the same line.

These sorts of initiatives are being applied in other areas outside pure news. For example, Poland’s largest bank PKO Bank Polski uses blockchain to verify that, product documents being sent to customers originate from the bank. And in Austria, EY is helping the local authority to authenticate government-issued documents such as bus routes.

In conclusion

Blockchain is no longer a technology that revolves around cryptocurrency culture but a tool that can be used in other facets of life to solve problems. Blockchain has proven to be a useful tool to defeat fake news using bottom-up approach in a decentralized, secure and transparent manner.

Of course, blockchain has made, validating news which used to be a daunting task to be much easier and the fight against fake news, misleading information and propaganda must continue. Let’s us leverage the power of blockchain to get more people on board in this fight against this “monster” for the benefit of having quality contents on the internet.