Whenever we listen to or read the news it’s hard sometimes to decipher whether or not the information being relayed is credible or simply slanted towards a particular bias. Viewing reports from other news channels, newspapers, or websites may give alternative perspectives, but still equally absent of any credibility. The Truthsquad, however, through crowdsourcing, may have presented a solution to this head scratching enigma in the search for credible news items.
The Truthsquad Experiment is a crowdsourcing platform developed by News Trust, a non-profit organisation whose goal is to monitor and improve credibility of media reporting. The experiment which ran from August 2nd – 8th (2010) was partly funded by the Omidyar Network and the MacArthur Foundation and was designed to act as a crowdsource fact checking tool. It involved taking a quote made by a prominent public figure on a specific issue of importance and inviting people to vote in support or opposition of the statement made. Voters would need to provide explanations for their decision and back the explanations up with relevant news items or other information sources. Once sufficient input has been generated, Truthsqaud editors and guest judges review the data and decided whether the quote is true or false.
The response to the experiment had exceeded News Trust’s best expectations and far from attracting incendiary comments from both of sides of the opinion spectrum, reports indicated that participation had been very civilized. Truthsquad attracted over 3,000 visitors with 300 assisting in the fact checking of over a dozen quotes throughout the week. This generated around 500 responses, indicating the potential appeal of fact checking to the general news audience.
If we are to become our own editors in the digital age, we need better tools and training to thoughtfully evaluate the credibility of the information we find online.
Fabrice Florin Executive Director of News Trust
Based on this success, News Trust has discovered a common cause in the search for credible news. Plans are in place to continue the project provided further funding is found. View Fabrice Florin’s presentation below.