Blockchain in the fight against fake news spreading


According to the Predicts 2020 in Blockchain Technology report by 2023, up to 30% of world news and video content will be authenticated as real by blockchain, countering deep fake technology. Let’s see, maybe it was too optimistic forecast, but we are definitely moving there successfully.

The new blockchain aims to increase efficiency and reduce costs to protect digital copyright

Fake news has existed for centuries, but social media bots have rapidly accelerated its spread. Aside from traditional news stories, technology is also being used to create convincing fake audio and video. The increasing prevalence of fake news, and information that includes deep fakes, disinformation, propaganda and post-truth, raises concerns about the role of the Internet in society. 

Modern society is highly influenced by mass media, so digital fraud often affects not only individuals and public expenditures, but also significant economic losses (for example, to the media themselves that commercialize the content) or national security risks. Because of this, organizations and private users are turning to technology to combat fake news, such as using blockchain technology to authenticate news photographs and videos, which creates a permanent and shared record of content consumers can view. 

Technology discourse

Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) make it possible to determine origin, authenticity and track data by providing transparent, immutable and verified records of transactions. This is due to the creation of a peer-to-peer secure platform for storage and exchange of information. What is the potential of DLT and blockchain to combat digital fraud? And how can you strengthen resilience against cyber threats in modern online media?

Today, distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and, in particular, blockchain, create challenges and opportunities for interested parties. These are potential technologies which can help fight digital fraud because they provide privacy, security and trust in a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) network without a central governing body. There are only a few articles in the literature that use blockchain to combat digital fraud, and they basically focus on tracking the source of information.

A Gartner report predicted that most people in developed economies would consume more false information by 2022 than true information. If even trust in the media is changing, and the use of social media online to communicate with people all over the world is increasing dramatically, this still becomes a source of digital fake distribution. Generally, digital deception refers to deceptive or misleading content created and distributed for the purpose of harming the public or the individual (for example, post-truth, populism, satire) or, on the contrary, gaining benefits (eg clickbait, cloaking, ad farms, identity theft). 

Challenges and examples of tools

Researchers argue that the authenticity of content is very difficult to control, unlike the traceability of data, communication architecture and transactions. However, problems associated with the development of effective methods for identification, testing, transmission and auditing of information are still open.

As the Web3 era gains momentum, new technologies such as blockchains, NFTs, DAOs, and cryptographic evidence offer a staggering array of innovative tools that on the one hand promise and on the other threaten to change how we establish the origin and integrity of information. 

For instance, Starling Lab for data Integrity is prototyping tools and principles to help historians, legal experts and journalists use Web3. Starling Lab is an academic research lab that establishes trust in the most sensitive digital records. The so-called new methodology for restoring trust in Digital Media. It has implemented the latest cryptographic techniques and decentralized web protocols to address the technical and ethical challenges associated with storing and verifying digital content. The potential use cases for the Starling framework are numerous due to media applications, history retention, and legal accountability.

With just 3 clicks, Sharpshark can prevent plagiarism in user-generated content. It is a high-tech tool that enables you to get timely notifications if your work is utilized without your consent as well as receive compliant digital proof of authorship. The client might then begin the dispute resolution procedure following that.

Mintmade is a service that allows you to create collectibles for free and turn any asset from a website or catalog into non-fungible tokens. That is, when reselling a client’s collectibles on one of the popular NFT marketplaces, he will receive a commission for each unit sold. 

Meta History: Museum of War — museum of NFT art is another excellent illustration of how blockchain may be used to validate the authenticity of information and its original source. It was developed to chronicle the actual events of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The museum is built around NFT tech and uses blockchain to preserve a trustworthy history, and raises funds to aid Ukraine.

First media publications on the Blockchain

The New York Times is one of the first major news publications to test blockchain to authenticate news photographs and video content. The newspaper’s research and development team and IBM have partnered on the News Provenance Project, which uses Hyperledger Fabric’s permissioned blockchain to store contextual metadata. That metadata includes the fact when and where a photo or video was shot, who took it and how and when it was edited and published.

In October 2018 Forbes, in partnership with Civil, a blockchain journalism network, announced to become the first major media brand to begin experimenting with publishing content to the Civil platform. The goal was to better understand how publishing content on the blockchain can increase trust with audiences and assess emerging opportunities to potentially unlock new forms of audience engagement. In other words – drive additional revenue streams.

What is the perspective

As a matter of fact we have a rare chance to leverage the upcoming Internet protocols and applications for crucial and ubiquitous goals by integrating blockchain publishing that enables proven authorship, better control of content rights. But it is not enough just to write data to the blockchain to consider it authentic. It is necessary to think over what kind of data and in what aggregate to collect it so that authenticity can be verified. Blockchain and DLT like IPFS definitely opens up the possibility of such a unique record, but how to use these tools to be able to make a difference is our challenge for the coming years.

Author: Valeriia Panina, SharpShark’s co-founder

Co-Author: Yevgeniia Kurchavova, freelance Author and PR manager