In the era of the internet and social media, information sharing has gone to unbelievable lengths. News that was once a television and newspaper affair is now at our fingertips. Almost anyone can share news or information online for the huge number of audiences at their disposal.
With more and more people dependent on the internet for even the simplest queries, the risk of being associated with spreading fake news is becoming highly likely. Will technology pay heed to this problem? Is there a way to at least reduce the proliferation of fake news on the internet?
Blockchain as a Potential Solution to Combat Fake News
Does 'Diamonds cut Diamonds' sound familiar? Combatting disinformation online can be possible only with technology. Blockchain is one such technological solution that can help combat fake news. Let us understand blockchain first.
Blockchain is an immutable ledger that can be shared in a faster and more transparent manner only among network members that have been granted access.
The blockchain ledger facilitates the tracking of tangible and intangible assets as well as recording the transactions associated with them. It is deemed efficient since end-to-end information on all the transactions can be seen.
5 Ways Disinformation Can Be Avoided Using Blockchain
Now that we know what blockchain is, let us look into 5 ways through which disinformation can be avoided or reduced.
1. Maintaining an Identity Online
Reputation and trust in published content lie with the image built by the publisher over a period of time. However, the incentivizing of published content online through click-per-ad-based revenue has become pretty common.
With this, the clarity is compromised for higher audience engagement. Hence combating fake news using blockchain is the talk of the town.
Blockchain-based reputation tracking can be utilized to track parameters such as edit history, sources of information, and content distribution. It will offer greater visibility and a decentralized system for setting standards, reviewing disputes, and providing ratings.
2. Verification of Sources
It is impossible to avoid fake news at the source, i.e., we cannot stop someone from posting a piece of fake news altogether. However, verification of sources using blockchain can create a greater change.
Publishers can maintain an online decentralized registry for recording all the sources and metadata, such as image captions, copyright ownership, and locations. Viewers must be able to view and verify the information. The misuse of open-source information and resources can also be avoided.
3. Smart Contracts
Smart contract approaches can be used to effectively combat fake news propagation to groups depending on the nature of the group, interests, tolerance, acceptability, group density, and certain other parameters. A trust index is computed with the help of smart contracts.
The value of the trust index decided whether a piece of news should be blocked or forwarded to the groups. This approach effectively contains the propagation of fake news.
4. Incentivizing Quality and Reliable Content
Fake news and disinformation have led to clickbait and trust issues among the audience. Per-click costs have led to sensationalizing almost all content, regardless of originality or seriousness. This will disrupt the actual motive behind journalism.
In order to overcome this, smart contracts have been proposed to automate payments to verified content.
Certain well-established publishers have started paying through cryptocurrencies to authors and creators who post quality and accurate content. Likewise, charges can be initiated in case they fail to meet the preset standards.
5. Analysing Photo Metadata
Images and pictures provide a sense of trust in a news article. So when an image itself has been tampered with, it becomes hard for the audience to distinguish between accurate and fake news. This can be solved by blockchain.
Adding photo metadata, such as the photographer's name, location, etc., can help the audience discern the published content's credibility. Photo ownership can thus be established using blockchain technology. This is a proven approach that can work effectively in combatting fake news on the internet.
A blockchain-enabled news platform benefits the entire news ecosystem by facilitating transparency, decentralization, and immutability. Blockchain systems can offer quality and accurate news at readers' fingertips.
Journalism should not be limited to news companies and prominent publishers. The internet has made this possible. Now everyone's story can be shared, and voices can be heard. But with this freedom comes the risk of disinformation, reduced trust, and deteriorating quality of journalism.
Blockchain helps overcome all these limitations and restores the sanctity of original news propagation. A lot of publishers have come forward to support blockchain-based content reputation management. Many blockchain-based services have been kickstarted to combat fake news in the most efficient way possible.
The future of quality news on the internet lies in quickly adapting to such technologies.
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