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I spent a recent weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, at Google’s annual Newsgeist conference, which brings together people in journalism, technology and academia to talk about the future of news. There was no more pressing topic on everyone’s mind than what to do about fake news – an unhelpfully broad term that has come to cover everything from deliberately false stories to hyperpartisan reporting.
The bad news? Misinformation is a real and growing threat that is inextricably linked to loss of public trust in institutions, including the media. The good news? People are starting to try out solutions.
Today came news of one such effort. News organisations are embracing a “Trust Mark” to help readers distinguish between trustworthy and fake news, my colleague Hannah Kuchler reports from San Francisco.
The Trust Project, a consortium of 75 news organisations including The Washington Post, The Economist and Trinity Mirror, agreed on eight core indicators intended to show an organisation’s ethics after interviewing members of the public about their concerns with trusting the news. The principles include sharing information about who funds the news outlet, how corrections are made and whether articles are news, opinion or sponsored content.
Technology platforms, much criticised for enabling the spread of misinformation and disinformation, are also on board. Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter will now use these indicators to create trust marks to indicate quality journalism. Some news organisations will place a “Trust Mark” on their sites to show their participation in the project.
“This really is the first time we see the news organisations coming together like this in order to address this crisis of trust in news,” said Sally Lehrman, who is leading the project from Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. “To me, as a journalist, that’s so vital because of the role journalists play in all the decisions we make about our lives, from day-to-day decisions all the way up to how government works.”
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Tencent’s pivot to video
The Chinese internet company has built a stock market capitalisation of $470bn on the back of a social media platform combining messaging, payments and other apps. Now it is taking a step into the world of YouTube, earmarking billions of dollars to amass a catalogue of user-generated content.
Steve Jurvetson, an early investor in Tesla Motors and SpaceX, became the most high-profile Silicon Valley venture capitalist to be forced out of his job following sexual harassment allegations. News of his departure from Draper Fisher Jurvetson followed an independent investigation that the firm said it had opened “earlier this summer” after the firm “became aware of indirect and second-hand allegations” about him.
Harvey Weinstein’s legal hell
From lawsuits to a fight with his company over his firing to The Weinstein Company’s potential bankruptcy (The Hollywood Reporter)
Google’s “evil unicorn” problem
Why the search giant’s algorithms fail to filter lies from breaking news (Bloomberg)
Tech tools you can use – Gogyre Power Bank
New York magazine says this $22 portable charger kept an iPhone 6s powered for “an entire week of Snapchatting and Facebook-status-updating” – and kept another device charged too.
The charger, which also includes a built-in flashlight, has two USB ports and a 21200mAh charge capacity, meaning you can get “about nine full iPhone 6s charges (or 6 Samsung s6 charges) per use”.