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Fake news is your fault, this startup is trying to help

Fake news is your fault, this startup is trying to help

One of the horrible presents that the yr 2016 introduced us was the rise of pretend news, and we’re nonetheless coping with the results (cough Trump cough).

Fortunately, individuals all all over the world are searching for methods to squash the effectiveness of misinformation. TNW spoke to Dhruv Ghulati, CEO of Factmata, a London-based startup working on developing a new automated fact-checking tool.

Who should fix the problem?

The first thing that needs to be established is who’s responsible for fake news. Some people like to blame social media and their lack of responding to this new epidemic. Ghulati understands why people might think so as personalized newsfeed can obscure people’s perceptions of certain issues.

It seems like a lot of the platforms have unwittingly become incentivisers for [fake] news. When you like something — they look at the content of what that ‘like’ is about — and then suddenly your newsfeed gets filled with similar content. That makes the story look like it’s a very prevalent thing, but in reality it may not be a massive phenomenon.

However, Ghulati adds that the nature of fake news is that they’re extremely shareable — which is exactly the type of content we’ve built our news business models around.

In Ghulati’s opinion, every part of the chain — from journalists to politicians, platforms to media organizations — needs to improve to combat fake news. However, the responsibility ultimately lies with us, the users.

We need to start to realize the consequences of spreading, not only fake news, but spreading misinformation in general. When you say something, make sure your facts are backed up. Right now, unfortunately, when you say something the consequences are not just for the immediate person you’re saying it to, but it’s across the wider internet.

It’s a difficult task to completely change the way people think about how they conduct themselves online, but it’s not impossible. The first step might be to help people realize how they absorb information and encourage more responsible media consumption.

That’s why Factmata, which is backed by the Google Digital News Initiative, is trying create tools that help people to become their own fact-checkers — making it easy to attain factual data about news stories you come across.

It’s all about context

Context is absolutely essential when it comes to forming an informed opinion on a subject. The problem is, however, that it can prove to be difficult for normal users to take the time to search for additional information on a certain topic.

Ghulati says that the aim is to create an additional data layer on top of information, to make it easier for users to take responsibility for the ‘facts’ they read. Meaning that when you open a news article, Factmata’s main tool would provide factual context in real time.

An example of how this would work is that when you’d open an article or a statement about muslim immigration, you’d suddenly see the actual data about the issue. This would come in the form of charts, tables and so on. That layer is a layer of data on top of information.’