Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It takes a village to identify false news

Filloux: A credibility scorecard
Liberal democracies are being tested around the world by the rapid diffusion of misleading or false information designed to influence voters.

It has happened in France, Catalonia, the U.K., and, of course, the U.S.

Many have proposed--for example, the World Economic Forum--that two of the most powerful vehicles for spreading information, Facebook and Google, should be responsible for filtering out material that is demonstrably false or misleading.

But it turns out that this is not easy to do. False information is often irresistibly appealing and moves too fast to be stopped.
Why we're Still in the Dark about Facebook's Fight Against Fake News -- Mother Jones
Nine experts offer opinions on how to fix Facebook -- New York Times
Not an editor, but a scorecard

What's more, it is hard to define false news in a way that can be automated by algorithms. Journalist and media consultant Frederic Filloux has developed the News Quality Scoring Project, which attempts to use automated systems to evaluate the likely credibility of a piece of news content. It doesn't label news as false or fake. It simply gives a credibility score based on a series of indicators such as a publisher's or a journalist's previous reliability.

Filloux's Publication Quality Score criteria


Facebook, Google, and Twitter themselves are working with the Trust Project on an automated system to display "trust indicators" alongside information they share with users.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Chasing clicks isn't bringing in readers or money



Some observations by media economics expert Robert Picard's observations about the challenges of media today, from an interview done by the University of Navarra Faculty of Communication:

Media companies need to develop revenue from many more sources than they did in the past.

Media companies are diluting the quality of their product by chasing reader clicks with light or frivolous digital content. "This is not bringing in money, and it's not bringing in audience."

Maybe 15 to 25 percent of the reading public will pay for serious news, Picard says. These are the people who really want news.

Journalists think their work is really important, and for the journalists, it is. But for most people, they just want to get on with their lives. If something important happens, then they will go online and read it somewhere, but most of the time they won't pay for it.

Newspapers have to stop thinking of themselves as a product for a general audience. The people who still subscribe tend to be the most active politically, socially, and financially in their communities. Newspapers should be selling that aspect of their audience, not a massive audience.