Fake News is everywhere. They have become one of the most effective and most used tools for extremists, news organisations or even heads of states to influence people and their opinion. The American Election in 2016 or the activities of the ‚Alternative für Deutschland‘ are probably
the most famous examples of the usage of fake news, but many aren’t aware of the fact that fake news is used far more often, specifically in regional levels.
We want to verify news and facts and point out fake news as well with our self-developed website checkpoint. Our goal is to provide the possibility to get news and statements checked by authorities (e.g. the police).
First, a request is sent to us. This is possible on our website and all our social media profiles. The request should include the News or statement that we should check, but it is important that the request is phrased as a „yes“/„no“- or „true“/„false“- question. This is because we don’t want to
research news but verify existing news and statements.
After that, we forward the request to the concerned authority. This is also a reason why „yes“/ „no”- questions are so crucial. The authorities don’t want to and don’t have the time to answer questions they would usually respond to in an interview.
If the request has been answered before, we won’t forward it to the authorities, but we send the link to the existing answer to the person who made the request.
We receive the reply of the authorities and send it in the same way to the sender as he sent his request to us, e.g. if somebody sent us a statement to check via Facebook, we send him his answer via Facebook as well.
We also publish all our answered requests and all proven fake news on our website. In so doing we avoid multiple requests on the same issue and show the user at the same time where and by whom fake news is distributed.
At the moment we are still acting on regional levels to test checkpoint and to improve possible flaws. But it is our goal to expand to trans-regional, nationwide and even international levels once we have gained popularity and acceptance.
The technical progress tremendously increased connectivity to the internet using mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. Hence, nowadays an increasing number of individuals uses digital channels in order to communicate with others or to obtain information coming from a vast variety of sources. Social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, or messengers, such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Snapchat, became a widespread medium of communication, but also a standard source of getting everyday information like news as well as more specialized knowledge via channels with some particular focuses, for example, history, art or humour.
All these channels significantly reduce time costs to gather information and are very comfortable in usage. Therefore, many people heavily rely on the information from social networks and messengers in their everyday life and make their decisions, including economic (investments, housing, entertainment) and political decisions. However, whether people can make optimal decisions based on this information will strongly depend on the accuracy of the information disseminated online and on the capability to further aggregate and analyze this information.
Read more on the YES! 2017 topic Artificial Intelligence and Digital Economy
The YES! Team is supported by our academic partner Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim and the researchers Daniel Erdsiek, Patrick Schulte and Olga Slivko.
This YES! 2017 topic was selected by the team Werner-Heisenberg-Gymnasium Weinheim.