New Browser Plugin By The Creators Of Adblock Uses Blockchain To Call Out Fake News
Fake news has become a worldwide nuisance and a scourge on the internet and on democracy. Many companies and organizations have already started a war against Fake News, most prominent one being Facebook.
Recently, a company called eyeo — the team behind the popular Adblock Plus browser extension revealed eyeo’s own approach in the fight against fake news: building a web browser extension that rates sites by trustworthiness. They will eventually rely on user feedback to determine whether a source is trustworthy or full of it.
How will it work?
It’s a two-stage project. The company’s new extension called Trusted News initially cross-references the site you are currently visiting with four third-party fact-checkers: Politifact, Snopes, Wikipedia, and Zimdars’ List. The idea is simple; each third party gives every site a rating. If they all agree, it’s ‘true,’ if they don’t, the site gets flagged.
In stage two, the company plans to open up fact-checking to include user feedback on an ethereum-based blockchain. By working with the MetaCert Protocol — a registry that makes sure you’re not visiting any phony URLs — eyeo wants to shift this registry to a blockchain, to secure it from any tampering.
Another future step would be to add more “fine-grained detail”, such as being able to say which way on the political spectrum a biased news source swings.
The extension flags news websites in a set of categories: Trustworthy, Untrustworthy, Satire, Biased, Malicious, Clickbait, User Generated Content and Unknown (in cases where we can’t get enough information about a site.)
It’s completely up to you if you keep reading the site, but you can now do so with more confidence. If you disagree with the rating, you have the opportunity to give the team a feedback. It’s also important to know that this is a “beta” product for now, and only works in English-speaking countries.
In the announcement, the company has made clear that they are not trying to be political but just want to fight the problem of fake news. They stressed on this point by commenting:
“We designed Trusted News to be impartial, we don’t want to get involved in politics. Trusted News uses a simple traffic light system to alert you to the rating of a news website. It’s up to you to decide whether to continue reading.”
Trusted News is currently in beta and is available only for Google Chrome at this time.