It’s no secret that the Internet is often a hotbed of misinformation in the wake of a breaking news event, particularly during horrible disasters involving multiple deaths, such as the Sandy Hook shootings. And social media is often a conduit for the rapid spread of fake facts and those terribly convincing photos that circulate around seemingly without end.
But a new service called Grasswire plans to be a “real-time newsroom curated and fact checked by everyone.” Covered by PandoDaily’s David Holmes recently, the Android app and website seeks to rectify all the wrongs people (including journalists) have Twitter have committed in spreading non fact-checked information on social media by ensuring it doesn’t keep happening. The platform is reminiscent of Reddit, Holmes notes — only Grasswire’s verification process is a bit more in-depth.
“…Instead of simply upvoting or downvoting, users can click “confirm” or “refute.” The confirmations and refutations stick with each post so that when the link is shared to social media, whatever factchecking is in place goes along with it. That way, even if a Grasswire link to a false claim is tweeted out or posted to Facebook, once its been refuted all subsequent retweets and posts will surface that factcheck,” Holmes explained.
Honestly, I think Grasswire’s idea is a huge step in the right direction. As more social media outlets surface, and user bases rise, citizen journalism is becoming more mainstream. On the one hand, it’s great. An engaged citizenry that reads and shares the news and seeks to inform their followers of what’s going on in their towns, states, country, the world?
If there is one thing I do over here, it’s complain about how news outlets correct themselves, rant about the ethics of reporting news on Twitter, and wonder about best practices on social media. Now, Twitter has added a feature where you can embed a tweet within a tweet, and my head has exploded.
This changes everything about the do’s and don’ts of reporting breaking news and correcting yourself on social media. It still has to be done manually and only from the desktop version of Twitter or the official iOS and Android apps. But it’s easy: you copy the entire url of the tweet you want to embed, add a little comment, and voila: the original tweet is there. Read more
Uh, oh, the sky is falling.
This month, AbridgeME.com launched as the first user-generated summation tool for news articles. Weird timing, right? At a moment when everyone is dedicated to providing stacks of digital flashcards and explainers for the news, founder Eric Rems wants to cut to the chase.
His reasoning? Everyone explains and comments — just look at your Twitter feed right now and count the links to opinions on the news — and he wants to provide readers with fact based summaries of the news. This way, you can start to delve into the topic with the facts and only the facts. Then you can create your reading adventure across the web and decide for yourself as you dig in rather than start with the editorial and have them choose sides for you. Read more
Graham is an APME board member and reported some of the following noteworthy results depicting what editors and journalists really think about the often-lambasted comment section. You may be surprised at the results of the Sounding Board survey, which included 101 responses:
- 94 percent said they “consistently allow comment” sections on their websites. According to Graham, many “believe allowing comments is important to encourage community discussions in a public forum.” Still, some cited complaints such as incivility, off-topic and ill-informed comments, and negativity as reasons comment sections can be frustrating.
- 71 percent said it is unlikely that they would ever ban online commenting on their websites
- 11 percent said they would never ban online commenting on their websites
- Nine percent said it is “very likely” they will ban all comments
- A few respondents reported that they have taken the time to ban individual commenters who either dominate conversation or are consistently uncivil in the comment section
- 14 percent said they find a “great deal of value” in their comment section
- 46 percent of the news organizations that responded allow anonymous comments
- 38 percent of the news organizations require commenters to identify themselves by first and last name