Does TruStory provide any fact checking tools or a procedure to assist in fact-checking of online claims?


#1

The idea of short statement fact checking is awesome! But other than the underlying blockchain technology and the network of “experts” with tokenized incentives does TruStory provide any tools within the product to enable fact-checking online claims?
For E.g. To fact-check, John McAfee charges $105k per tweet promoting an ICO there can be multiple ways

  1. A reputed journalist or newsroom can interview John McAfee and verify the claim and publish that in their journal. TruStory experts can rely on that information and vote positive.
  2. A TrusStory expert can verify the online claim by identifying the reputation of the source of the online claim, whether it is a fake site or not.

For the second option Does TruStory provide the community experts with any online fact-checking tools or standard procedure to arrive at the true claim?


#2

Completely agree with you on the importance of fact-checking.

In terms of tools, not currently, and in terms of procedures, yes. For now, we’re relying exclusively on experts and their manual labor to verify the authenticity of claims. But we are looking for ways to build tools that will automate many pieces of the process and will allow people to verify the authenticity of the source more easily.

In terms of procedures, we’re compiling “best practices” from our experiences fact-checking and training other experts.


#3

Could Trustory benefit from making a call and asking for a statement the way reporters would? It’d possibly get us closer to the first hand truth in some cases, and also develop a working relationship with the industry and gain recognition as players in the “real news” space.

Now I’m not sure if this would be getting away from the mission statement of Trustory, but I’m just kicking around ideas.


#4

Hey @Edwin . Can you clarify what you mean by “asking for a statement the way reporters would?”


#5

Say in the above mentioned example, you call John Mcafee’s PR person and say "Hello this is Preethi from Trustory, online truth platform, and we’re just trying to verify a claim that you charged 105k per tweet to promote ICO ABC… They either say go jump in a lake, or no comment or give you a piece of the truth that you can then report back to the platform and help on the final verdict of the claim.

Considering most claims are going to have truths and falsehoods side by side, and buried one in the other, it might just help to have that as a tool; we’ll be going for as close to first hand knowledge as it is, maybe we’ll get it from time to time with a call or an email.


#6

Agreed. This type of investigative journalism, or digging into the evidence till you find a more credible source, is definitely a valuable quality in an expert and is what distinguishes a great expert from a good one.

But to push on your idea a bit, we have to ask ourselves what would motivate a PR person for a celebrity or a project to respond to a member of TruStory?

If the problem is that these entities aren’t even being asked follow-up questions, then TruStory can solve that. If the problem is that these entities aren’t responding or aren’t willing to respond, TruStory can’t solve that.

What do you think would be the motivations of PR replying through TruStory?


#7

ah, yes. great question.

this is definitely something we can and want our experts to do in the future. One question for you: how would we incentivize them to respond to us? What happens if they don’t? Public loss of credibility?


#8

Motivation & incentive structure depends on whether the claim in questions helps or hurts the celebrity or project.

To use an example, some coding schools publish their outcomes on cirr.org/data which helps inform a prospective student and benefits the school by establishing credibility. If the outcomes haven’t yet been third-party audited, the outcome are clearly labeled as “Not audited” (in red) to properly inform prospective students that the audit is pending. You can imagine a section in the TruStory app for new projects that are, by default, labeled as “unverified” until a direct representive of the project responds to questions from a TruStory expert.


#9

Thanks! TruStory being in crypto space brings the need of fact-checking to be faster and accurate. The value of truth in crypto space, in most cases, is short lived. I don’t know if anyone really cares about the John McAfee truth in the example now. That claim might be super valuable for overall crypto space, maybe during the ICO time. Not disagreeing to the fact that historical truth has some value!. So automation and enabling experts with the best tools or procedure to do fact-checking might be a great investment for TruStory. This is a set of resources for fact-checking I found but as you said there is no definitive way.
https://www.journaliststoolbox.org/2018/11/07/urban_legendsfact-checking/


#10

Great link. Thanks for sharing.

You’ve nailed it on the head. Truth has a time component. Some content on TruStory will be extremely timely (ICO relevant news for example) and some will be timeless (ie. conceptual knowledge about DAGs).

We will definitely try to compile the “best practices” and share it with the community when the time is right.


#11

Well if PR is responding, there’s a chance they’ll respond to whoever asks, in an effort to steer the narrative and stay active in managing their image. Trustory, by virtue of being dedicated to the facts, is on pace to show respect for every true claim. They’ll get a request, they’ll respond and then see how their info is responsibly handled.

This will be a process that scam coins and claims will likely want to avoid. And that may hold weight someday where the scammers are saying “well Trustory is gonna ask for proof, what do we do there” and in turn, when querying Trustory databases on claims, it’ll be seen that they denied experts request for comment. Ideally :blush:


#12

Good points, but also remember that much truth gets lost in the race to be first, and that gets exploited often. Hopefully Trustory can be known for having stood the test of time.


#13

yes, exactly. This is our goal. let’s do this :slight_smile:


#14

Just a thought, TruStory can assemble a list of media that the experts usually source claims from, and quantify and curate this media list according to their content truthfulness (an index set by TruStory). Then when the network effect grows and TruStory becomes influential in the online community, TruStory experts will have more leverage to do investigative journalisms because those media may start to care about their PR media ranking on TruStory.

Of course, this is an ambitious thought. The process of curating and ranking the media list fairly will be complicated and challenging, and will take time for TruStory to grow influential enough to affect journalist behavior. But fear of negative PR is something that could motivate media PR to cooperate with TruStory.


#15

100%. For us to be able to do this, we first need some volume of claims from each source. This is definitely on the roadmap once we get to the scale of stories to make this type of ranking system accurate.


#16

These won’t help for every kind of claim we encounter, especially in the crypto space, but it is worth noting some of the other journalism fact checking tools that are out there.

I really like some of the training developed by the Poynter Institute: http://www.newsu.org/courses/hands-on-fact-checking-short-course

First Draft News also has a decent set of verifications tools at hand (signup may be required). They also have a training, but I liked it less: https://firstdraftnews.org/en/education/course/verification-quick-start/4/quick-start-tools-list/


#17

In a study titled “The spread of low-credibility content by social bots”, the team is able to use some great open-sourced tools:

  • Hoaxy: an open platform to “track the spread of claims and fact-checking”. See GitHub repo here.
  • Botometer: a machine learning algorithm to detect social bots.
  • OpenSources: “curated resource for assessing online information sources”. See GitHub repo here.