Reading and watching the news has always been an important way to educate ourselves about the world. The news agencies provide us with crucial information through newspapers, magazines, online blogs, social media, and broadcast media. But all the news shared on these mediums is not authentic.
And many times this news is fake. With the growing ease of communication, these fake news and fake information spread faster than the original news as this news often looks more interesting and convincing than the original news. Fake news can even lead to reputational damage of any person or organization irrespective of the domains they operate in.
Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the way news is produced and spread among the masses. This technology can help in curtailing fake news before it reaches people and even in case it manages to pass through, people can easily identify fake news based on its authorship and provenance. Every piece of news published passes through a chain of stakeholders who capture the news and further refine it to present it in a consumable format to their readers.
With the implementation of a blockchain-based system, all of these stakeholders would be listed on the news blockchain network and it would be much easier to know about the source of any news and its authenticity. But let’s first discuss who will be these stakeholders and what kind of information will be uploaded by them on the blockchain so as to weed out fake news from the system. First comes the news agencies, who capture and provide news to publishers, journalists, or editors for publishing. They will be required to create their profile on the blockchain platform and will be required to upload these documents for their verification: Name of the news agency and its license, Domain name, Address proof, and their contact number, Work permit, and Years of experience.
Once these documents are stored on the blockchain, a unique hash will be generated for this information. Once news agencies register themselves on the platform, they will be able to send their news to publishers, journalists or editors.
The next link in the chain is journalists. The journalists are also required to upload their documents like Name, ID proof, address, work license, contact no, email id which will be verified by a third party. Once verified, the documents will be stored on the platform and a unique hash will be assigned to this information. After fulfilling these requirements, journalists can publish the news and select the relevant images/videos to be published along with the news. In case a journalist modifies or edits an image/video, all modifications made by him will also be stored on the blockchain. This information will help people to know whether the image is original or edited. All editions of the image or video will be visible to everybody.
And this information can neither be deleted nor modified on the shared distributed ledger. Editors or modifiers are the next links in this chain. They are also required to upload documents like Name, contact no, address, email id, Work Licence
Work experience and other relevant certificates These documents will also be verified by a third party. Their profiles will be diligently verified to ensure that they are authorized to publish news stories. Once verified, their documents will be stored on the blockchain platform and a unique hash will be assigned to it. After signing up, they can edit the news content and adjust it in the publishing format. The next link in this chain is Auditors. Auditors will be a community, who will have the ability to verify the authenticity of a news story.
They will also be required to upload their documents on the platform. After this, their document verification will happen and once verification is done, a unique hash will be assigned to these documents.
Now let’s discuss how it can be determined whether a given news article is real or fake:
Every news will be given a unique identification code. Any person including the news auditors can scan the unique code and can find the complete source of that news. Even the videos or images will be given a unique code that can be scanned to ensure their authenticity.
The veracity of the published news can be verified by checking the site where the news is published and validating if the site is a legitimate news organization. Verifying the credentials of the news author
by examining his documents on the blockchain platform Additionally all the modifications of the relevant images, videos, and content of the news can also be verified on the blockchain by scanning the unique code of the news. The prevalence of fake news on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. is even higher.
Blockchain can provide a solution to curb fake news on these platforms as well. Every news content on these social media sites can also be given a unique code. The unique identifier on any news can then be scanned to find all the information regarding that specific news like the point of origin of the story, author of the story, etc…
Thus with the implementation of Blockchain, these social media platforms would be able to eliminate a large percentage of fake news stories from their platform by tracing the point of origin of this news.