The topic of fake news has caught everyone’s attention like never before. Though the phenomenon has been existent since the conception of journalism but it gained some major traction with the advent of the internet. Seeing the issue ballooning up, a number of tech giants decided to jump in and curtail the problem as much as they can. Earlier in the year, we reported how Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook finally launched its much-awaited ‘disputed’ tag to fight ‘fake news’ on its famous social networking site. And now, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced Wikitribune, a news platform that will bring together journalists with a legion of fact-checkers.
According to the platform, its main aim is to ensure that people all around the world are lifted of this curse called fake news and they only read true fact-based articles that can contribute towards having a real impact on both local and global events.
Though Wikitribune will be publishing news stories written by professional journalists, but it will give internet users the ability to propose factual corrections and additions if any, almost similar to the model being followed by Wikipedia. All the changes and additions suggested will be reviewed by volunteer fact-checkers towards the end.
In order to ensure transparency, which is somewhere missing in today’s journalism practices, Wikitribune will try to be as transparent about its sources as possible and post full transcripts of its interviews, as well as videos and audios.
Further, at Wikitribune, the language used in its stories will be neutral and factual and not favour one party over another. According to Wales, “It takes professional, standards-based journalism, and incorporates the radical idea from the world of wiki that a community of volunteers can and will reliably protect the integrity of information.”
Wikitribune has been designed with an intent of counteracting fake news spreading on social media. It has been seen that fake news has a potential of spreading like a wild fire on social media in a matter of seconds and cause major havoc and panic among people. It fundamentally breaks the news and shows us what we want to read in order to confirm our biases, and to keep making us click on those links at any cost.
Though the Wikipedia founder is now trying to make the world a better informed society, it is interesting to note that prior to Wikitribune, he was on the other side of the road. Wales’ internet encyclopedia has often run into troubles for hosting misleading or inaccurate information, as at 10 edits per second. Being a community platform, Wikipedia often finds it difficult to single out miscreants who purposefully plant false information.
It will be interesting to see what damage control Wikitribune is able to achieve in the world full of fake news.