The app is hoping to counter fake news and disinformation with transparency, trust, and historical context
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Spotted: In these days of deep fakes, social media conspiracies, and online disinformation, it can be very difficult to know what is true and what is fake. Because people also tend to pay the most attention to news that already echoes their own views, this type of news has a greater tendency to divide people than to help them better understand each other. This erosion of trust, lack of transparency, and destruction of community is what startup The Newsroom is hoping to counter with its news app and Chrome extension.
The Newsroom provides an opportunity for users to more fully understand the news of the day, with tools for building trust and transparency that help counter fake news and disinformation. The company’s mobile app offers a morning brief – a snapshot of five key news events on topics users choose. The brief explains how different publishers are covering the same event, while outlining the key historical events that have led to the news users are seeing today.
The startup’s Chrome extension offers a trust assessment to help users gauge the trustworthiness of each story. The extension also provides a real-time feed with details about how The Newsroom’s AI assessed each individual news article and why it was chosen for the feed. Together, this information will help users to not only stay informed about the day’s events, but to also learn for themselves how to judge the veracity of what they read elsewhere.
However, a key goal of The Newsroom’s efforts is to build plurality and community. According to the company, “We will continuously encourage debate around a diversity of opinions, and keep plurality as a central pillar of our product design. We strive to involve the entire community in our efforts to fight misinformation, and augment plurality online.”
This community engagement may well be the key to combating fake news and misinformation. A British platform is using crowdsourcing to offer a library of facts and evidence-based information, and an activist group is using AI to track and notify brands when their ads are placed on conspiracy and hate-group websites.
Written By: Lisa Magloff