Trust Project to Crackdown on Fake News, Reviews, and Robots

In an effort to rebuild trust among users, search and social media companies have partnered with traditional media companies to crackdown on fabricated news, fake reviews, and robot accounts. With the help of social and search giants Facebook, Google and Twitter, ten media companies – including The Washington Post, The Economist, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, and publishers in Canada, Italy and Germany – are rolling out the Trust Project. News officials hope that this approach will reverse America’s historically low confidence in the news media.

There are categories of folks who really do want to be informed, but they’re having a hard time being able to tell what’s trustworthy or not. – Sally Lehrman, Senior Director of Journalism Ethics at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The new system of Trust Indicators will signal that an organization abides by a certain set of standards. In the process of developing these indicators, interviews were conducted with news consumers to figure out what kinds of aspects made newspapers more or less credible.

I just want news I can trust. I want to be able to open up a newspaper and not have to think about is this biased or false. – Craig Newmark, Trust Project Co-Founder

The eight trust indicators identified by the project can be independently applied to any story. They include categorizing the type of content (separating out opinion, analysis and sponsored content); indicating the presence of citations and references for in-depth stories; showing if a story is locally sourced; and showing whether a newsroom that produces a particular piece of journalism promotes diverse perspectives.

In addition to a “Trust” logo that is showcased on a newspaper’s website, the eight tags indicating a story’s various aspects are machine-readable and are able to appear on Facebook, Twitter and Google. As well, Microsoft’s Bing has agreed to use the trust indicators in some way.