The usage of the internet keeps increasing rapidly. People learn, hear and listen about various things right from knowing about their favorite celebrity to political news on the internet. The amount of information that people gather from social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc is tremendous. There’s a huge possibility that people might often be provided with fake news. Though some people might cross-check other sources to validate the news, the majority of them might just believe it.
Spreading fake news across various platforms has been a major concern for many years. Fake news has a great impact on the economy on the whole. According to research by a cybersecurity company, it has been found that fake news costs $78 billion worth of loss annually to the global economy. This article focuses on how blockchain technology can help address the issue of spreading fake news.
Blockchain functionality to identify fake news
Blockchain is one of few rapidly emerging technologies. Blockchain technology has already been adopted by major companies, especially in the financial sector. Other industrial verticals are also starting to adopt this technology into their business processes.
The adoption of blockchain technology is mainly because blockchain offers data transparency and can be easily tracked. When it comes to dealing with fake news, the decentralized nature of the blockchain plays a very effective role.
A blockchain-based news platform can provide reliable details about the news to online readers. This enables the readers a way to validate the news and its source. A blockchain implemented news platform effectively contains the name of the journalist and the publishing agency, information about the editors and crowd auditors who validate the authenticity of the news.
New agencies can make use of blockchain-based news platforms by creating a unique profile along with necessary documents. The profile contains information such as the name, address proof, domain names, license and certifications that exhibit their value.
After the new agencies sign up to the platform, writers and bloggers can sign up by providing information such as their name, contact information, email address, role and certificates of expertise and experiences. Once this step is completed, the writers and bloggers will be able to create and store data or content on the blockchain network. This stored information can then be accessed by the editors and publishers to validate the authenticity of the news based on the source. Properly verified news is then published to be read by online readers.
How does a blockchain-based news platform work?
It is important to note that every piece of information or data on the blockchain network is hashed and stored in blocks. Initially, when a news agency signs up for the platform, all the data provided by the agency will be stored in the interplanetary file system (IFPS) within the blockchain network.
The bloggers and writers have to provide KYC documents. This information will be validated by third-party APIs to ensure if the person is employed by the news agency and is authorized to create and publish news articles. Any content created by the bloggers and writers will also be hashed and stored in the blockchain. Since blockchain offers immutability to data, no one else can edit the contents later. Based on the provided information, a crowd auditor will be able to provide ratings to the writer or the blogger to ensure their identity and authenticity.
Crowd auditors and their role in verifying the source of information
As mentioned above, a crowd auditor is responsible for validating the authenticity of the news based on its source and the authenticity of the publishers by providing ratings. Similar to the writers and bloggers, the crowd auditors also sign up to the platform using KYC and other important documents. This information will then be used to verify the background of the crowd auditor.
Every new content on the blockchain will be provided with a QR code. By scanning this QR code, crowd auditors can find the source of the information. Other essential details like the date on which the content was created, edited, modified, etc can also be viewed and verified by the crowd auditor. The verified contents trigger the smart contract to provide a verification status to that content on the blockchain network.
A crowd auditor can verify the authenticity of information by checking the news agencies’ website, make sure that it is the original website and not a clone site of that agency. Finally, verify the author’s details to ensure if that person is truly associated with a certain news agency.
Benefits of blockchain-based news platforms
Since the platform is built by implementing blockchain technology, it possesses all the advantages that this technology has to offer. Some of the most important benefits are as follows.
Decentralization – Decentralized approach eliminates the need for any third-party intervention. Also, a decentralized approach prevents single point of failure wherein the failure of one system or server crashes the entire network.
Transparency and traceability – Blockchain technology provides transparency of data. In this case, to fight fake news, the authenticity of news is verified and validated using reliable smart contracts. The information on news articles can be viewed by anyone who views the articles. Moreover, with blockchain technology, it is easy to keep track of the contents.
Immutability – Any news that is stored on the blockchain will become immutable. Meaning, it cannot be changed or altered by anyone once the data has been saved on the blockchain network. This ensures the authenticity of data regardless of when it is being accessed.
News plays a major part in everyone’s lives. News helps people to stay updated with their surroundings by providing necessary information. Sometimes, even the most important decisions are made based on the gathered news. For instance, when heavy rain or bad weather conditions have been announced by the government, people can cancel their travel plans or buy important items like groceries to keep up the supply for few days. We must ensure if the news we come across daily is true or not. According to Gartner’s report, it has been found that by 2023, up to 30% of world news and video content will be authenticated as real with the help of blockchain technology. When companies adopt blockchain as a service technology, specifically the news agencies, the chances of coming across fake news will be greatly reduced or even nil.