The modern tech age has opened up a superhighway to information and data. The internet has bridged gaps between people and countries and shrunken the world to make you feel like you are dealing with people down the street when in actual fact they are halfway around the world.
While there are so many advantages to the information age, it comes with some unique problems of its own. For a start, the web has given ‘everyone and their horse’ a platform to share their thoughts and imaginations with the world. While it provides a great platform for exposure for those seeking to add value to the world, it, unfortunately, opens doors for unscrupulous individuals to bring confusion and falsehood into the online sphere. As a result, there is loads of fake news punted from various different avenues, globally.
One of the key areas that fake news stems from is social media platforms. Facebook and other leaders in the industry have been under severe scrutiny in the past for allowing this fake news to be shared on their free for all platforms. One such an example was all of the fake get rich quick schemes using the Bitcoin brand. Fake Bitcoin ads and articles were floating around on the platforms up till the end of last year. At the moment, there seems to be a hand on it, but these sorts of lies always find an opportunity to resurface somewhere else.
There have even been instances in the past where reputable online newscasters have had to retract articles posted because they have later found the source articles or data to be untrue. Where does this leave us? We are in dire need of full proof tools and protocols to be put in place to ensure that the news shared is correct and that all photos and source material can be verified as authentic. These tools not only ensure that we do not have a skewed view of the world, but that we are safeguarded against malicious cons as well.
THE NY TIMES COMES TO THE RESCUE
Earlier this year, the New York Times Company revealed to the world, new details regarding trial experiments in the field of blockchain, relating to publishing specifically. THE NYT’s new website, Published Today, provided a full explanation of how permissioned blockchain technology could be used to successfully authenticate photographs used in the news, tying them to the actual events that they are apart of. Many fake news punters use photos of unrelated events to support their fabricated agenda, so making it more difficult to copy and paste photos may be a real agent in the hands of the law.
In the testing trials of the project, the New York Times and its partners will seek to find a way to make blockchain an effective tool in tracing the original data tied to any file, whether it be a video or photo image, by storing the item’s Metadata on a blockchain. The information recorded would provide the location and date the photo was shot, as well as how it was edited and published. This would be attached to each document by way of signals or codes. These signals would then be decoded on social sites, group chats, etc. The code would be traceable directly to its original registry, each time it is viewed online.
Coinbase reported on the start of this project trial in March of 2019, stating that it would carry forward to the later months of the year, where after a full report would be published on the findings and the viability of rolling out such a project.
It has been well discussed that financial transactions are only one of Blockchain’s many convenient uses on the internet. The truth is, it is a marvellous ledger system that could be used to categorise and manage any form of data you want. Its decentralised service secures all inputs and registrations onto the platform, preventing others from altering information provided. If any info is changed, there will be a proof-of-work showing how and why it was changed, making it easy to decipher if the image or video is still being used for its originally intended purpose. In theory, all added blocks of information will be added to the original document and by no means subtract anything from the registry.
RESULT OF THIS INITIATIVE
Finding a working formula with Blockchain technology could lead to a much safer internet. Blockchain could be the next information regulator. All coded news references would be far safer to believe than articles including unregistered materials. Should the experiment prove successful and the necessary backing is put into it, a blockchain registry of this nature might even become a compulsory tool for registered newsagents around the world. Well, at least in an ideal world anyway.
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