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Can Google, Facebook weed out fake news with ‘trust indicators’?




With examples of Russian-created Facebook pages behind him, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) questions witnesses during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing titled 'Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online' on Capitol Hill, October 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.
With examples of Russian-created Facebook pages behind him, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) questions witnesses during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing titled 'Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online' on Capitol Hill, October 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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In light of criticism over “fake news” posts on social media, Google, Facebook and Twitter announced earlier this month that they will start mark content with “trust indicators” to help users become better informed about the reliability of news feed posts.

The Trust Project, which is behind the indicators, came out of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. It’s a non-partisan effort to enhance transparency and media literacy in the era of “fake news.” News outlets including Mic, The Economist and The Globe and Mail are partnering with The Trust Project to launch trust indicators on their content.

There are eight guidelines that the project is using to peg a reliable article including author expertise, news outlet standards (who funds them), citations and references and reporting methods. To become a media partner of the project, news outlets must use at least three of the eight guidelines. Facebook test launched a Trust Indicator icon earlier this month, which comes in the form of an icon on the bottom right of articles in its news feed.

But will the public catch on to “trust indicators”? And what responsibility do social media platforms have in pegging real and “fake” news.

Guests:

Cory Haik, publisher of Mic, a news and media company and launch partner of The Trust Project; Haik runs the editorial and product and engineering team, and manages Mic’s content; she tweets @coryhaik

Mike Ananny, communication and journalism assistant professor at USC where his research focus includes new media technologies, digital journalism and press ethics; he tweets @ananny