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A Peer-reviewing system for Daily News

A Peer-reviewing system for Daily News

By Antonio Carusillo on Sep 29, 2020

Subash Chapagain 2 months ago
Quite indeed, the spread of misinformation is the single most challenging task that the society is facing as of now. Every now and then, people succumb to fake news and conspiracy theories that distort their worldview and generate more chaos in the already divided world. Research has shown that on average, fake news spreads six times faster than does the truth, especially in platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Hence, the idea of peer-reviewing would greatly improve the quality of the news that lands on our devices. However, we have to be mindful of the challenges that such an idea might face. Firstly, the sheer quantity of news worldwide is simply overwhelming to be genuinely moderated and reviewed. Hence, unless the incentives are colossal and the investment proportionate, it is unlikely that such a solution will come into existence. Moreover, even if the likes of Bezos and Musk and Ambani decide to invest in such a peer-reviewed news platform, the problem of inherent bias (even the reviewers might have issues with each other which might affect the quality of their approval/disapproval of any given news) is always there. To tackle this problem, I would suggest that we make use of blockchain-like systems where the identity of the reviewers is not revealed and the merit of their review is scaled based on their scores of verity from previously verified reviews. This would be knowledge-intensive to start with, but would be fruitful once the platform becomes large-scale. Also, we have to be aware that nowadays the news doesn't necessarily come out from a proper news agency or a registered media house. A lot of people get news/new information from unsolicited Facebook posts and tweets of other fellow individuals. To review each and every person's social media would in itself be a daunting and a resource exhaustive task (no wonder why Facebook and twitter leave it up to their AI bots). The only solution to this problem could be to regulate these giant companies like Facebook and Google to recruit special human-only review systems to go through as much as news-like posts (they can obviously use algorithms to separate news-like vs non-news-like posts), and fact check them manually before giving permission to publish/post.
Subash Chapagain 2 months ago
Another idea that could lie in these lines is that rather than establishing one single large-scale platform for news-reviewing, establishing localized systems for the same. For example, setting up local fact-checking ecosystems involving locally trained journalists and media experts that know the culture and history of their assigned locations. Such an assignment would help in maintaining the objective input of the review process and make the whole system more reliable and accurate. Though such fact-checking websites do exist at the national level (for example alt news in India), make them more localized would help the facts penetrate deeper into the community and hence counter the negative impacts of misinformation in a more organic manner.
Antonio Carusillo 2 months ago
Indeed I agree with both you and Juran: the amount of information that can be spread in less than the blink of an eye is simply overwhelming. A suggestion would be at least to implement the most sensible areas: health, politics and environment. Fake news in this area affects society from different angles on a large scale. Having a king of an HQ in the main city and different local workers spread around the world may help to synergize this effect. The world is not missing experts in those fields, neither stakeholders that may lose a lot of money if fake news is spread. Just thinking about all the pharma companies that may no sell their vaccines or the communication agencies that see their 5G antenna burnt to the ground.
Juran K. 2 months ago
I am glad you started this topic and I think the idea is genius! As you already mentioned, peer-reviewing the news before publication is almost impossible. Not only it would be impossible because of an endless list of news portals, blogs, videos, and posts that just cannot be controlled, but also because it would allow even stronger control of the information flow and limit free speech. On the other hand, the alternative you offered seems like an interesting and viable solution! Nowadays, it is hard to know which news is verified, but I found some interesting pages that could help you develop this idea. Wikipedia has a dynamic list that collects many fake news websites that “ intentionally, but not necessarily solely, publish hoaxes and disinformation for purposes other than news satire” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fake_news_websites).
Juran K. 2 months ago
Also, an interesting company from New York, called NewsGuard, is constantly peer-reviewing more than 6000 news websites, social media platforms, browsers, the Internet, and mobile providers and giving them “Trust rating and marks” based on 9 criteria (https://www.newsguardtech.com/ratings/rating-process-criteria/). It works in a way that you download the plugin for the browser (desktop, phone) and get green, yellow, or red mark next to the article/information you read. You can then click and see which criteria got a good or a bad score and why. One problem is if they can be trusted. The other one is that people who spread or sensationally absorb the fake news are not the ones who do the thrust checks on the news sources. As a journalist expert says, “If you’re a person who has the NewsGuard extension on your browser, you are just not the problem.” (https://www.vox.com/2019/2/13/18220746/real-journalists-fake-news-newsguard).