Media companies are using blockchain technology in order to combat fake news and make their workforce more efficient it has been revealed. 

As the internet overshadows traditional methods of disseminating information, there’s a thin line between credible and malicious information. In this era, credibility is sacrificed for attention. Also, sifting through the unregulated self-media presents a hard nut to crack for modern journalism.

The New York Times joins the blockchain space

Unfortunately, technologies and products being developed to tackle the problem are adding to the overall problem. This has prompted major media houses such as the New York Times (NYT) to settle on blockchain technology to curb fake news.

The media house is running a project captioned “The News Provenance Project,” that uses Hyperledger Fabric’s licensed, and permissioned blockchain. The project is also in partnership with IBM Garage, an accelerator program from the technology giant.

According to the Research and Development (R&D) team at NYT, the image metadata can be shared on the blockchain effectively helping news readers to differentiate between false and authentic images. The mechanism employed by the R&D team is dubbed Proof of Concept (PoC).

As Jinse noted:

“In theory, these ‘metadata’ contain the time, location, photographer, and all editorial and release information of the news photos. Through this information, the media house and the user can determine whether the picture has been modified or whether the related information is fake news.”

Once recorded there’s no editing

Notably, the New York Times turned to blockchain because previously recorded news pieces cannot be edited. Unfortunately, the media giant is still developing the product to determine how the system will work comprehensively. Additionally, the media giant noted that the research phase is likely to last for the rest of the year with user research and testing conducted during the same period. 

Unfortunately, even with blockchain technology being viewed by many as a magic bullet to kill fake news, nothing tangible has been developed yet.

Apart from NYT’s project, another project, Civil, was unveiled two years ago, claiming to “repair journalism”. Last year, Forbes partnered with the startup, hoping that:

“Civil will publish the metadata of the article on its official website and display a badge next to the content to verify the authenticity of the article. But the result is that the plagiarism continues to plagiarize, and even the badges can be stolen at will.”

The future looks bright for media companies

However, although nothing has happened yet, for blockchain technology to curb fake news, more research has to be conducted. Luckily, with NYT researching on how to use blockchain technology to eradicate fake news, the future looks promising.

But, to bring the future, blockchain enthusiasts must jointly work together to overcome the technical bottleneck.