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The New York Times confirmed its readiness to implement blockchain technology to combate fake news around the world

Sep 03, 2019

Fighting fake news and misleading information is one of current journalism’s biggest problems. There were many attempts to help readers recognize when a source shouldn’t be trusted. One of the latest projects in this field comes from the New York Times.

The New York Times (the NYT) Company has recently revealed information relating to its blockchain technology project specifically developed to fight against fake news.

The NYT by means of IBM Garage, the accelerator program of the tech giant, is developing a private and permissioned distributed database in order to prove the authenticity of images and photos used in journalism. News Provenance Project created to fight fake information and adulterated media, which is especially harmful to small and large advertisers. The website states:

"Our initial work involves exploring a blockchain-based system for recording and sharing metadata about media — images and videos in particular — published by news organizations. We are also conducting user experience research to identify the types of signals that can aid users in recognizing authentic media."

In order to maintain trust in digital files used in media, as of July, the NYT and partner companies will launch a proof-of-concept, that will last till late 2019. The project purpose is to store news item’s “contextual metadata” on a blockchain, including when and where a photo or video was shot, who took it and information regarding how it was edited and published.

The primary idea of the project is to develop a set of markings which can remain with published media anywhere the material is displayed, including in social media, group chats, and search results.

The NYT plans to publish updates on the project regularly and if it sees success with the initial phase, NYT plans to roll the concept out to other areas of journalism.

There are many barriers to overcome to fix problems caused by fake news. Blockchain hasn’t proven to be the answer yet, but attempts that already exist are widely appreciated.

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