In direct response to a hypothetical question posed within Mozilla‘s Internet Health Report 2018, I do believe that there is a solution to the fake news epidemic which has been infecting the world ever since 2014. In fact, in conversations with like-minded individuals over the course of the last year and a half or so, I’ve proposed a rather unique solution that I haven’t heard anyone bring up yet. This would be the idea of applying the “Scientific Method” to everyday news events or news sources.
Essentially, what I propose is applying the same standards of news reporting that we do of scientific research. Meaning that before any individual story or article gets published, it first has to be reviewed, fact-checked and approved by a plethora of diverse and qualified individuals in that field. No article that does not stand up to scrutiny would ever be published, and in this way the consumers could always trust the information to be reliable, honest and accurate. I think this would benefit countries and people all around the world in 2018 and beyond, but I do understand there are a few logistical hurdles which would need to be overcome first.
For Example, The Time Crunch
What I mean to say is that for scientific research to become scientific research in the first place, requires that research to be peer reviewed before it can ever be published. This is also a process which takes weeks to months to complete, an obvious problem when you are dealing with the everyday news cycle or live breaking events. The only way I can see getting around this problem would be to create an entirely new news platform, headed by dozens of people from all around the world and which would be open and accessible to everyone equally.
As it stands today there are only 3 ways to consume news information. Put a different way, right now there are only 3 different types of news aggregators out there; Social Media/Networking Applications, RSS Feeds and individual news outlets/organizations.
What I’m proposing wouldn’t be a raw data feed like an RSS Feed, and it wouldn’t be a social networking application like Facebook or Twitter, it would be a theoretical hybrid of the two specifically designed around consuming “the news.” It would also be something that everyone in the world could join and connect to all at once, like a social media networking App such as Facebook, but specifically to read the news, like an RSS Feed. It would literally serve no other purpose than for people to connect and read trustworthy news articles – I don’t even think I would enable commenting.
Assuming something like that was developed, it would lead straight to the most obvious and glaring of problems to overcome…..
Whom Would Be Doing The Reviewing and What Sources Would Get In?
If we were going to publish peer reviewed and approved stories on a daily basis, then who exactly would those peers be approving the stories? How would the platform/App go about selecting those people and what would the qualifications for their appointment be? In other words, how could everyone buying or using the platform be sure that the sources inside of it truly are trustworthy/credible? Moreover, over the long term what safeguards would have to be enacted to ensure that the platform itself doesn’t eventually succumb to partisanship, bias, prejudice, or nationalism like many of the worlds leading news publishers have?
Honestly, I do not personally claim to have all the answers to those questions, and I do understand that these questions are at the very heart of what my App would be.
How Would It Be Funded?
This is a problem faced by any startup, how would I get the money to start gathering the people and resources necessary to begin building this App/platform? And how could we make sure that persons money doesn’t corrupt the building of the App itself? Indubitably, I couldn’t do all of this by myself and “the internet” in general would have a large role to play here, but there are more than enough millionaires and billionaires around the world wasting their money on far less important things. I would just need to find the right one or ones.