I propose we as a community come up with a solution in the fight against manipulation and fake news.
Not via governance but Instead via human distributed fact checking. And potentially even a type of content license via the network similar to copyright.
We know the problems SAFE solves online. But there is another issue just as big some might say.
The other problem on the Internet is fake news, manipulation, brain washing, sales and marketing and general influence.
Consumers of content cant be certain that what they’re reading, watching, listening to and then re-sharing is not either completely fake, purposely biased, ideologically motivated, politically motivated or isnt just a sales pitch for a product hidden as an editorial or something.
The worst part is when consumers dont even know to look out for being duped. Think of the children.
This issue is so large it is Zeitgeist level.
I suppose before we continue it’s true to say that there is no final all encompassing solution to these issues because well we can never be sure what someone is thinking or planning and that is afterall human nature, all of it.
If we’re going to try tackling this issue and we should.
At first we have to define what the problems are.
The first is the obvious: fake news. But not just fake news as in the literal publishing of fake content but also content that is backed by political, religious or corporate ideaolgy and interest which swings a specific way for a specific reason.
The second is government propoganda. War propoganda etc.
The third is material that is designed and published for the sole purpose of selling the consumer of the content a product of service.
The fifth is social and shareable content such as images, memes, gig’s, video, audio etc.
The solution should be something where uptake is easy. Perhaps an editing tool? We can offer symbols backed by a type of licence that says basically this information is not paid for, it’s not written by any government agent, it’s not being funded by anyone, no politician is part of it and there is no money being made by it directly. And if there is any of that then there can be a symbol and license for that.
We can define and write the licences to suite. So you might have one license that says this is not politically motivated but it is commercially motivated.
That’ll be the certificate part of it thatll say the publisher of this content says that this article or video is published with a example “citizen journalist” license. You see the symbol and you know what it means but it’s also clickable and can direct the consumer to the relevant information backing the symbol.
The fact checking part can come from the users of the network. Similar to Wikipedia they can add and edit a very short fact check widget (maybe a hundred or so charachters) this can be edited and re-edited continuously by peers in the network forever.
Those fact checks will be summized in the widget but that can be expanded if need be. To show everything. You could even go so far as giving the consumer a score, rating of marker to show them how true somethibg may be, whether it’s being debated or not etc.
So an example might be you have an article or video about the chemical attacks in Syria. In the article it states unequivocally that Assad did it. But a fact checker can come in highlight the contention and say there isn’t enough evidence. So it’s unconfirmed. This might give say a yellow Mark against this part of the article. But then another fact checker comes along and says that’s bs. There is xyz document linked that states it was Assad, that document itself will have the option of being fact checked so then this fact checker removes the yellow marker but there is still an underlined Mark to show What has happened. These guys can go back and forth. And or the article publisher decides he’s just going to remove that part and put an edit log in.
Obviously these tools would need to be accepted by the publisher or uploader. So I’m thinking similar to an editing toolbar how you are offered different tools in how to publish and edit something in the title, tags and body e.g. making something bold, quoting something, hyperlink etc. maybe we could have an option to click off and on the ability to have your media content fact checked and further option of adding a license to tell the reader you are who you claim you are and your writing the piece or posting a podcast or whichever as opinion or entertainment and whatever.
In this way you’ll have certain publications or channels that use the licences and want to be fact checked and you’ll have ones that don’t.
So for example if I’m doing entertainment say comedy videos I couldn’t give two f… Ks about facts and mostly neither would the audience but what if I’m CNN and I decide to use the licence and also be open to fact checking but FOX for example isn’t. Well people will begin to make their own decisions… “oh you listen to fox, dude, please, they’re not even fact checked by distributed peers”.
And I think that with the distribution of fact checking we’ll probably end up having a similar system to open source where there are many unpaid fact checkers but we’ll likely have sponsored or paid fact checkers and they can basically battle it out.
But what I’m wondering is if the network could be of any use in terms of adding credit to good fact checkers based on their checks and history on the network? Could this be done via the public ID?
If this was possible and you had two fact checkers battling it out you could have one of these more senior fact checkers come in and they’re edits and checks hold more weight.
In terms of checking the content producers licence I understand that there is no real way to do this well. Even if you said we’ll institute a stupid blue tick like twitter who’s going to do the verification? That just centralises it. You could take it offline and setup a foundation and vett people that way but that’s just stupid and again centralised. But if you distributed this verification of the licences too and you said we’ll you can use the license but a fact checker can ask for verification if you can’t prove it you have the license removed. What then constitutes proof? This then starts to get all legal and murky.
Or we scrap that idea of licensed symbols but then what is another solution to knowing what it is your confusing and who it was created by? Or is it even an issue?
I’m out of words.
Sorry lots of typos. Will edit later.
Happy New Year everyone!