Adblock Plus maker, eyeo is taking on the fake news on the internet with its new project “TrustedNews”. The project is actually a browser plugin that helps inform users about how “trusted” any news content is with the help of MetaCert’s MetaCert Protocol. For the uninitiated, MetaCert is a blockchain-based anti-fraud and URL registry. It claims to have the “largest” database of fraud website URLs as part of its registry. The browser plugin for Trusted News is currently only compatible with Google Chrome and limited to English language content but it is a no-brainer that the company is likely to be looking at expanding support to include other browsers and languages to increase the number of users.
Trusted News aims at informing users if they are visiting websites that are known for posting fake news. The company claims that it “democratically scores the integrity and trustworthiness of online news sources”. After installation, the extension shows a small green check mark against its icon to denote that a news source is trustworthy. Other icons include a grey colored minus sign to signify that the system can’t accurately evaluate the website because of “insufficient data”. The icon may also show an exclamation mark in red to indicate if the website or the webpage is known for publishing false or misleading information.
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The system is also capable of showing a different type of articles including satire, biased, malicious, clickbait, and even user-generated content. TrustedNews is working with MetaCert, Wikipedia, PolitiFact, BuzzFeed, Snopes, and Melissa Zimdars for Zimdar’s List to classify the websites. There is no indication on the number of websites the project has already classified. According to a report by TechCrunch, TrustedNews is not taking in user feedback but there are plans to do that with the help of blockchain technology. This will also allow it to keep a track of the users who did the classifications so that there are no bad actors ready to corrupt the data.
The company has clarified that it has absolutely no plans to make money from this project. TrustedNews is not affiliated politically, it is independent and transparent in its fact-checking processes. The company is working on a way to ensure that all the feedback provided by the users directly goes on to the blockchain, away from any server or any third party. There are a number of projects that are in development to fight fake news, including efforts from industry heavyweights such as Google and Facebook, however, this approach is different as this puts the tool right in the web browser so that it is not limited to any particular website or domain.