Fake News and the Need for a “Wiki-News” Service.
So here’s the thing: we don’t need to read the same story 100 times on our Twitter feed.
In the old days, we needed to have talking heads repeat stuff to us on “TV” screens or maybe we needed to cut down trees for us to print stories on us find out information.
But today, we can get all of the information we want in an instant. Information is basically free and this will only increase in time.
What that means is most of the old media outlets and news sources are technologically obsolete. They are literally redundant for much of what they report (not saying that investigative journalism isn’t important anymore, but rather much of what these outlets do nowadays is re-hash the same information).
But rather than recognize their obsolescence, instead they fight for our attention. They come up with scandalous headlines. Entertaining narratives. Breaking News! Over and over again. They seek to hype up dramatic conflicts between people that will capture our attention.
This election was perhaps the perfect marriage between a dying old media and two masterful media manipulators. The powerful establishment of the Blue party and the now President Elect Donald Trump have spent a lifetime working with, utilizing and ultimately benefiting from “The Media”. They collectively spent north of $1B advertising in what became a no-holds-barred conflict that literally made people sick at times.
In the process, the noise of the “news” became overwhelming. Unsurprisingly, “memes” of “fake news” began competing with “legitimate” news outlets, and sometimes people couldn’t tell the difference. That people couldn’t tell the difference between made up news and real news likely says as much about the decline of Old Media as it does about the fake stuff.
So what now?
A friend and I were lamenting the state of the election and the noise of old media the other day when he pointed out: The difference between Wikipedia and the news is really just one of timing. Stuff happens and becomes “history” and then ends up on Wikipedia. He asked the simple question: Why don’t we take the idea of Wikipedia and speed it up?
Why don’t we make a real-time editing engine to fact-check, clarify and purify the “news”?
The idea seems relatively straightforward. We’d need an editing engine like Wikipedia and community tools like they use (or like Genius).
Old Media outlets might complain at first, but if this service was good and linked to original sources it could actually be a “distribution channel” for their entertainment content (which it is) or even editorial content and investigative journalism (which they should be able to compete on).
The idea would be a purified news-feed. We could see it as a pure signal, trustworthy news source.
And we could tune out all the rest.