Fake News. The terminology was thrust in the limelight during the 2016 presidential election –thank you President Trump-. But the months move on, and more and more people get a say into what’s written and published, how can readers differentiate what’s real, and what’s just simply made up?
We went over how publishers can capitalise on the abundance of fake news in April, but we thought that it would be a good idea to give a further update and explore on such a predominant topic in the publishing industry. However, with that being said, we also want to identify what news organisations are doing in order to combat Fake News, and ultimately, is it working?
Is a German media company that believe it or not has had a fact- checking team for over 50 years. Initially, the fact checking team was established a couple years after its weekly magazine -Der Speigel- debuted. Now a lot of other media organisations have fact checking teams, this isn’t a surprise to any of us, but what’s peculiar about Speigel is that fact that the fact checking unit has integrated the process into its editorial workflow.
The team -called Dokumentation- of experts mirror the publisher’s different areas of topic, such as politics, sports, foreign affairs etc., and said experts often have doctorates in their fields of expertise. More often than not, members of the team work alongside journalists on articles, providing them with factual information and checking finished manuscripts.
What we find brilliant about Speigel is the database of text articles and official information that they have. The database has grown over time from Der Speigel’s first print issue, and has become more automated over time. Every week, Speigel’s database adds another 66,000 articles from around the world, and also includes official sources like government documents. The interesting part comes next however, as within dokumentation, a team of seven people has trained algorithms in the database to pull in specific sources based on content.
In essence, what Speigel group have managed to do, is implement technology and data, and manage to make a functioning algorithm that uses previous articles to cross reference facts, and ultimately see if the news is real or not. This is a really smart way to go about fact checking, however the only issue is that Speigel group is focussed on fact checking its own content, rather than claims popping up from external sources. If the same strategy was applied by another independent fact checker, then the concept could prove to be very useful. The only issue of course, is that they have to have access to a a large database, ideally one that’s been running for over 50 years for example. Not easy. Find out more on Speigel Group here
Faktisk is a non-profit fact-checking organization formed by Norwegian tabloids Verdens Gang and Dagbladet, public broadcaster NRK and commercial TV broadcaster TV 2, which launched on July 4th. The main reasoning being the creation of this group is because of the sudden increase in fake news that overcame Norway. Fake news in Norway mostly comes from online outlets that don’t have editors and which then gather up steam on social media.
The way that Faktisk will work is that it will automatically check Norway’s media and social media debates and politicians comments. It will then rank articles in truthfulness on a scale of 1-5, which it will share in text article or short video on its own site. It will do this through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, snapchat and on TV. The software that’s being used is open source, so other media companies can embed and publish it on their own channels, too. In time, Faktisk hopes to make the fact checking more automated.
Faktisk have a very similar concept to Speigel Group, and we feel that this concept is the better of the two case studies on show here. The fact that Faktisk combs social media and the whole Internet as opposed to just the content that it produces. At Evolok, fake news is a blessing for us in a very specific way.
One way to be absolutely sure that the news you read isn’t fake, is through subscriptions. Think of subscriptions as an insurance policy. You pay for a service, so that it doesn’t go wrong, and top quality insights. With Evolok, readers will know that the content they’re reading is valid. Contact Evolok for a further demo.