07 October 2015

The Death of Fox News

Hyperbole? I hope not. We have to figure out how to prevent people from making money through lies.  The good news is that fact checking is getting widespread on the Internet. Helpers like Politifact have been around awhile (though they themselves subject to accusations of bias by openly partisan conservatives).  But some cool new tools are on the horizon.

First, Facebook is adding tools to let users flag lies. I'm often tempted to click on "Heidi Klum" (no link provided here, LOL), but I can't bring myself to click on "Santa Claus proved to be real!"  But some of us are tempted by headlines like that.  'Cause we're all different amounts gullible.

Second, and probably more usefully, Google is working on an automatic fact checker, as the Washington Post reports.  Here's Google's paper on it. Years ago, I had a similar idea, and I'm very glad to see Google making progress on it. (Google is also working on making high-quality health information available.)

Now imagine that you can download a widget that scans your (Fox) webpage or video, and checks the statements in real time. And imagine that the widget reports to you in real time which statements are false, and the running fraction of obviously false statements. If you're like me, you would lose confidence in that website or video, and tend to avoid it in the future.

I think that would be a better world.

No comments: