Thousands Can Fact-Check The News With Grasswire

in TechCrunch: “We all know you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. But with Grasswire, you can at least “refute” it.

Austen Allred’s new venture allows news junkies to confirm and refute posts about breaking news. The “real-time newsroom controlled by everyone” divides posts into popular news topics, such as the Malaysia Airlines Crash in Ukraine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Once you select a topic, you then can upvote posts like Reddit to make them appear at the top of the page. If you see something that is incorrect, you can refute it by posting a source URL to information that disproves it. You can do the same to confirm a report. When you share the post on social media, all of these links are shared with it….

“Obviously there are some journalists who think turning journalism over to people who aren’t professional journalists is dangerous, but we disagree with those people,” Allred said. “I feel like the ability to refute something is not that incredibly difficult. The real power of journalism is when we have massive amounts of people trying to scrutinize whether or not that is accurate enough.”…

But despite these flaws, other attempts to fact check breaking news online have faltered. We still see false reports tweeted by verified accounts all the time, for instance. Something like Grasswire could serve the same role as a correction or a revision posted on an article. By linking to source material that continues to appear every time the post is shared, it is much like an article with an editor’s note that explains why something has been altered or changed.

For journalists trying to balance old-school ethics with new media tools, this option could be crucial. If executed correctly, it could lead to far fewer false reports because thousands of people could be fact checking information, not just a handful in a newsroom….”

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