TruthChecked

TruthChecked

Our challenge, your solutions

A crowdsourced solution to combat fake news

Our start-up aims to provide an independent third-party certificate, TruthChecked, for CV-19 articles online. Through crowdsourcing, we will be able to check whether a title corresponds with the article attached or is clickbait and to verify facts and information within the article as true or false.

pdf

Team: TruthChecked

Team members

Alexis Savvides, Eleni Georgiou

Members roles and background

Alexis Savvides has an Msc in Business Econimics and an Msc in Digital Currencies

Eleni Georgiou is a 3rd year Computer Science student in the University of Cyprus

Contact details

a.savvides@outlook.com , egeorg02@ucy.ac.cy

Solution description

Our start-up aim is to provide an independent third-party certificate, named “TruthChecked”, for news publishers on the internet. In order for a publisher's article to become certified, they must pay a subscription fee to our company, based on the number of articles they publish each month.  

  

The two primary functions of our company will be to check whether a title corresponds with the article attached or is “click-bait” and to verify facts and information contained within the article as true or false.  

  

Articles will be automatically submitted to the TruthChecked platform via a JavaScript integration on media publishers' websites, which will also provide the TruthChecked certificate at the start top of each article.   

  

Once an article is submitted, our independent network of editors will review each article and make amendments or comments about the validity of facts and statements. Anyone will be able to sign up to our network of editors by completing our online fact-checker training course. Whilst each editor is not an expert on the various articles they are reviewing, by having a multi-stage editing process, we ensure the quality of the final verification.   

  

For any article to receive a TruthChecked certificate, it must be reviewed by at least 5 randomly selected editors. Each time one of the editors makes an amendment to an article and submits it to the network, the next randomised editor is asked to verify or challenge the previous editor’s changes, in addition to other amendments they may make.  

  

We provide publishers with a simple way to build trust with their readers by having our independent & transparent certificate attached to their articles. We hope this can act as a signalling mechanism in the future for content promoted on social media channels against fake news. Additionally, we create opportunities for digital learning regarding identifying fake news and earning an income through an autonomous network of proof-readers who are paid to validate news articles. 

Solution context

The problem that we are facing is the spread of fake news on the Internet. More specifically, we focus on the misinformation of Covid-19 and the harmful effects this has on societies around the world. The main challenge is that the amount of news articles published every day is vast, which makes it difficult to identify which articles provide real or fake news. For that reason, we have decided to build a scalable solution to address this challenge. Regarding social challenges, people are unable to critically evaluate news and recognize confirmation bias, as they are not aware of how their own biases might be manipulated through the rise of misleading sources and irresponsible news articles.  With the help of social media, this has created online eco-chambers, whereby individuals only read articles that affirm their pre-existing opinions rather than using news to educate themselves and formulate new ones.  

Solution target group

Our solution on the one hand is targeted to each and every online user who consumes news and media articles online. Currently, there is no clear way for online users to identify whether the title is click-bait and therefore should be avoided, or the contents are fake. However, with our certification, anyone will easily be able to see which articles have been independently verified or not – driving web traffic towards certified publishers. From the publishers' point of view, we provide a quick and independent solution to signal the validity of their news that can be easily retrofitted on their websites. 

Solution impact

We aim to reduce misinformation about the pandemic and increase the trust level of online news.  

One way of measuring the effectiveness of our start-up would be to monitor our growth by counting the number of articles we are able to process per day, as the more articles we are able to independently verify the larger contribution we are able to make towards combatting fake news. As our start-up grows, we would also like to run general public polls about their trust levels towards online news outlets and whether they perceive articles they read online as accurately fact checked or not. If we are able to run a periodic consensus of a randomised population group, our solution impact should be positively correlated to higher trust levels in online news.  

Solution tweet text

Looking for a fast, independent and fully transparent way of checking if an article is fake news? The TruthChecker certification is here to help! Look for our signature green checkmark to make sure you're getting the real deal.

Solution innovativeness

Our tool combines multiple existing technologies that can be found on the market. Similar crowdsourcing solutions are offered by fullfact.org and Wikipedia, in which volunteers donate some of their free time to check the validity of publications uploaded on the Internet. The limitation with such organizations is that they are not able to scale their solution as they are limited by the number of volunteers. 

We differentiate from such tools, by offering a monetary incentive for editors to accurately verify and cross-check articles. Hence, users will be motivated to contribute to our system and themselves actively combat fake news.  

On the publisher’s side, we will be different from other solutions as we will provide them with the opportunity to check articles written in languages other than English. Since editors can join from anywhere in the world, they can choose to edit articles in their native language. Additionally, as our solution will rely on a JavaScript which publishers can embed on their website, it can be easily retrofitted on to any media publisher's website.  

Solution transferability

Whilst our TruthChecked certificate will first be rolled out to tackle fake news relating to covid-19, it can be used in any media context. Articles relating to covid-19 mainly deal with quotes and numbers in regards to fake/controversial news which are easier to be fact checked. However, as we move on to more complicated fact-checking articles, we will implement publicly available summarizing software such as the RSS protocol or the SMNRY so our editors are able to maintain the speed of editing. 

Solution sustainability

Regarding mid-term plans, we are going to implement a blockchain which decentralizes the distribution of articles to editors and payment thereafter. This process will allow for a fully transparent, randomized and auditable truth verification process. Editors will not be able to reveal their identity and the whole procedure will be fairer without any publisher-checker interaction. 

Moreover, after the publication of our project, the number of verified articles that are added in our database will be increased exponentially. Therefore, in the long term, a good data set will be formed which will be used to train a neural network. With the use of Machine Learning, our system will be able to automate part of the verification procedure by cross checking new articles with pre-verified facts.  

These two future implementations will allow us to scale our operation exponentially as the blockchain automates a large part of the distribution mechanism whilst our machine learning algorithm will significantly reduce the time editors spend checking articles.  

Solution team work

As a duo-team who first met at this hackathon we worked absolutely perfect together. We were able to combine Eleni’s technical skills in computer sciences with Alexis’ experience in blockchain technologies to come up with a very effective solution of using technology and real people to solve the fake news problem online. Together, we have many of the skills to bring our idea into reality and hope to continue working closely in the future.  

* Climate-KIC publishes the proposed solutions developed during the DigiEduHack event solely for the purposes of facilitating public access to the information concerning ideas and shall not be liable regarding any intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to pertain to the implementation or use any of the proposed solutions shared on its website neither does it represent that it has made any effort to identify any such rights. Climate-KIC cannot guarantee that the text of the proposed solution is an exact reproduction of the proposed solution. This database is general in character and where you want to use and develop a proposed solution further, this is permitted provided that you acknowledge the source and the team which worked on the solution by using the team’s name indicated on the website.

DigiEduHack 2021 partners & supporters

DigiEduHack is an EIT initiative under the European Commission's Digital Education Action Plan, led by EIT Climate-KIC and coordinated by Aalto University. In 2021, the main stage event is hosted by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in cooperation with the International Research Center on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) under the auspices of UNESCO.

EIT Climate-Kic

Aalto University

European commission

Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

International Research Center on Artificial Intelligence

EIT Community: Human Capital