Fake news: the battle for the truth
Fake news is spreading like an epidemic. This problem may be amusing to social media users but it is taken quite seriously by governments. Many countries are planning to invest in technology solutions which could make serious inroads into solving the problem. Governments are also attempting to pass laws to strangle fake news.
Easy access to online advertisement revenue, increased political polarization, and the popularity of social media, primarily the Facebook News Feed, have all been implicated in the spread of fake news. Fake news also undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories.
An analysis by Buzzfeed found that the top 20 fake news stories about the 2016 U.S. presidential election received more engagement on Facebook than the top 20 news stories on the election from 19 major media outlets. Anonymously-hosted fake news websites lacking known publishers have also been credited because they make it difficult to prosecute sources of fake news for libel.
In January of this year President Donald Trump tweeted a link to his “highly anticipated” fake news award winners.
Simultaneously, French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to introduce a law against “fake news” during 2018. To be expected, critics are voicing concerns over what they see as a potential infringement on their freedom of expression. Also Brazil's Superior Electoral Court (TSE) has expressed interest in engaging with tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter in its efforts to reduce fake news during this year's presidential elections. With federal elections scheduled for late September in Germany, momentum is building behind using anti-botnet laws against automated social media accounts that distribute misinformation.
It may be that a potential solution of the fake news problem could be through the use of technology. But IT companies are still in search of a solution using data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning. So far, not all of their attempts have been successful.
Facebook has announced plans to remove the red flags on articles that are used to signal they are fake news. Interestingly enough, when people see the red flags on fake news they are more likely click on them. Instead, Facebook said it will include links to “related” articles under controversial posts that promote other, more trustworthy sources covering the same topic. In 2017, Facebook contracted with a number of fact-checking organizations in an effort to reduce the amount of fake news circulating on its site. As you might guess, the fake news on Facebook has been flagged with red flags.
There are many ideas for solutions. In fact, students developed a plug-in, called "Open Mind," during a 36-hour hackathon at Yale University. It works by alerting people when they come across fake and biased news stories. The plug-in, which works with Google Chrome, displays a warning whenever a user clicks through to a site that is known for publishing fake news. It also works to find out whether news stories have a specific angle and can recommend stories with different viewpoints.
There are also new platforms like DeepSee.io which plans to use the same machine learning technology that is being used to populate Facebook news feeds. Instead they will leverage this technology to promote high value content. By using blockchain technology, similar to Bitcoin and sites like Steemit, DeepSee.io will create a transparent record for content and moderation. By taking this approach, DeepSee will create a content media aggregation platform that will share true content rather than sharing misinformation.
Additionally, First Line Software and the Innovation Center of Leiden University have jointly developed a fake news detection service named CredibleU. Following an innovation sprint on fake news held on April 11, 2017 in Washington, DC at the OpenGov Hub, the combined team developed a prototype concept to fight the spread of fake news in the United States. The prototype for CredibleU has already been built and a full version of the system is under development. The service will be available as a free bot for Twitter in 2018.
The future of these types of services holds great promise for solving the fake news dilemma.
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David Tedford has over 20 years of sales experience within the IT/software industry. He excels at being immersed in a customer's environment, understanding his customers requirements, crafting solutions to meet those requirements, and ultimately providing solutions to his customers.
Senior Vice President
As the head of business development for First Line Software, Vladimir heads up business development in Western Europe and Russia.
Vladimir began his career in IT in 2002, when, as a student of Faculty of Automation of Computer Science of the First Electrotechnical University (ETU “LETI”), he began his work at The Morfizpribor Central Research Institute (CRI). Vladimir joined the StarSoft team (predecessor of First Line Software) in 2004 as a Junior Software Developer. As he gained experience with more and more projects, he was promoted to leadership roles.
The Hague, Netherlands
Praha, Czech Republic
UK Business Development
Richard has over 15 years of sales and account management expertise in the IT and Tech sector. He has worked on many outsourcing engagements with global companies.
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
David is a business development professional with more than 20 years’ experience as a specialist in the acquisition of partnerships and IT/software services for associations, not-for profits and corporations in Australia, New Zealand and USA. He has specific expertise in the healthcare, legal and hospitality industries.