Verifying ideological information in #FakeNews era

It’s hard to know what information to trust today.

With the President of the United States accusing mainstream media outlets of being #FakeNews and actual Macedenoian fake news factories pushing out misleading content, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know who to trust.

Our social media filter bubbles don’t make this easier and we are seeing increasing ideological splits and rising hatred.

Some initiatives like Wikitribune and USA Facts try to provide source transparency, which is a laudable goal for objective information.

At Ananas we are trying to create a resource to provide contextual ideological information and resources to build stronger communities and fight hate.

This is a different challenge all together as we are looking to provide contextual, subjective information in an objective manner.

So how do we make sure our information is reliable?

Our approach is to allow each community to pick and choose the information and resources that they believe define them as a group and ideology. We term this objective subjectivity.

This exercise is done in the Ananas Data Platform area, which can be accessed via a deposit of Anacoins to ensure good behaviour.

Anyone can collate, create, or link information here in a transparent and open manner once they are inside, either on their own community, or those of others.

Anacoin holders can reward contributions or commission new or improved resource creation.

The process for building this area is as follows:

1. Collation — collecting all existing digital and real world resources and attaching them to a framework

2. Gap analysis — Figuring out which parts don’t come together and need to be filled

3. Creation — Commissioning new resources to be created to fill these gaps

4. Quality analysis — Checking the quality of individual components to see where they could be improved and ordering them

5. Enhancement — Improving the quality of selected resources in a guided manner

Slaying trolls

While anyone can participate in this platform as an individual or group, they lose their initial Anacoin deposit if they break the guidelines. Increasing amounts of Anacoins are required for larger quantities of posting, making it expensive to flood the platform.

Even if hateful elements are put on the Ananas Data Platform, if they are low quality they will not be as apparent to the communities who pick and choose the elements they want to represent them, feeding ultimately into the consumer application.

As such, there is no real “rejection” of pieces except when posted in bad faith, our goal is to collect all reasonable views, analyses and items, including those that may be full of hate, but not necessarily expose these to the masses.

Status on the platform, earned or given

As a contributor acquires Anacoins from recognised communities and community members, they build up status on the platform and their capabilities increase, while the Anacoins they need to deposit are reduced in turn.

If they have real world status as a scholar or academic, this is reflected on the platform and less staking of Anacoins is required, with their contributions automatically coming near the top of the approval list.

Ananas can augment existing real world status too, for example by providing a more robust system for the classical Islamic verification system, known as ijaza, where a teacher gives authorisation to his student to transmit a certain text or subject. Currently this is only word of mouth, but this is an ideal element to place on a publicly accessible, immutable, blockchain.

Early stage acceleration

The Foundation will also fund strategically important gaps in any given ideology, in effect loaning Anacoins to these groups.

Each community, as noted, chooses the information and resources that represent them, with additional status granted to Foundation-approved groups. This consensus formation lies at the heart of building trust in this project.

Foundation approval also allows for the data sets selected by these groups to be input into the consumer applications, such as the Living Quran, again with a deposit in Anacoins required to ensure good behaviour.

This approval will not be reasonably withheld except where a group calls for illegal acts or charges for enlightenment.

Building up the Ananas platform

The initial version of the Ananas consumer platform will have staple, basic data at the collation stage.

For the Living Quran, this means existing translations and data from sources such as Tanzil, links to resources such as Al Tafsir or talks from organisations such as Bayinnah.

As the platform matures, Anacoin holders will commission Creation and Enhancement elements to steadily improve the final data sets, particularly as more senior members of that community come to verify the data.

Any errors can be rapidly picked up in this manner too, with Anacoin “bug bounties” for identifying errors a good motivator for others to check over them.

This makes the structure inherently self-correcting and any element can be tracked back to the original creators to judge the strength of the authorship, both in terms of earned status on the platform and real world status.

Anyone can create or reward quality content and this provides the venue to do so in a structured, transparent manner with huge potential for addressing a real issue.

We believe this is the right structure for creating verifiable, subjective data in an objective manner.

As everything is placed in a common, easily navigable format, it opens up a world of opportunity for analysis within and across groups that can help build bridges and understanding, making life more difficult for extremists and hatemongers.

We believe this approach is a reasonable one but are open to any suggestions to improve it.