The journalism industry has experienced many challenges in recent years. With the Internet making it easier than ever for anyone to publish a story on a free and open network, millions of people are now instantly informed about the latest events that occur around the world. The lack of quality control means that fake news articles or poorly researched stories often make their way to the front page of major news publications. Often, these significant publications are complicit in the spreading of false information for no other reason than to attract more readers and earn a larger share of the digital media industries declining revenue pool.
As the web of online information continues to grow exponentially, people are becoming less interested in sensational headlines and more hungry for news that is credible and trustworthy. For these reasons, Forbes is partnering with Civil, a blockchain based journalist platform to publish their content more transparently.
The media company sees the blockchain as a useful tool to publish the metadata of journalists, specifical information about who published an article and when. There will also be a Civil ‘badge’ attached to each article posted on the blockchain, which ensures that the piece can never be tampered with. Forbes is initially planning to publish just cryptocurrency related articles on the Civil blockchain. If the test is successful, they will begin posting articles on different topics, as well as extend the solutions to include its massive network of contributors.
The move by Forbes represents a significant shift in how news will be consumed in the future. Currently, all news sources exist on an even playing field; they are all easily accessible and are mostly free to consume. Once blockchain technology becomes more widely adopted by news sites, it will become easier to segregate transparent and reliable news sources from less reliable ones. A rating system may be developed to allow viewers to see rankings of which news sites, journalists or even versions of the same article are most accurate based on the sources they cited and recorded on the blockchain.
Fake news has been particularly detrimental to the world of politics, particularly in the US. Similarly, the crypto space has experienced its share of fake news incidents. In an unregulated environment where traders make speculative investments and projects try desperately to promote their coins, it’s unsurprising that fake news stories are spread to create FUD or trick the public into pumping a coin.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have done little to curb the issue. There is a broader debate about whether these platforms should be held accountable as ‘publishers,’ or whether they are simply spaces where anyone should have to freedom to share whatever they want. Regardless of the stance one takes on the responsibilities of social networks, what is clear is that the transparent and immutable nature of blockchain technology makes it the ideal solution to help bring back a sense of legitimacy and value to the otherwise declining field of journalism.
Despite the promising project, Civil fails to raise for its ICO
It has recently been reported that Civil has been struggling to gain traction with its ICO. Despite the partnership with Forbes and hype surrounding the project, Civil has only managed to raise $1.3 million out of their $8 million target.
The goal of the ICO was to support grants for Civil newsrooms and original journalistic work. The company has stated that it plans to refund investors if it can’t raise enough to meet its goal.
Although this is unfortunate news for a promising project, it’s not surprising considering how much pessimism has been put on ICO’s during this bear market. The journalism industry is not going anywhere, so Civil may want to pause their ICO and resume it sometime next year when there is hopefully more optimism in the markets.