Fake news dominated discourse leading up to the 2016 election with social media being the largest culprit in its massive spread. Some expect many more disinformation campaigns as the election draws nearer.
“Content can be relayed among users with no significant third-party filtering, fact-checking, or editorial judgment. An individual user with no track record or reputation can in some cases reach as many readers as Fox News, CNN, or the New York Times, ” wrote Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow in a piece on fake news in 2016.
How are traditional media and social media planning on fighting against fake news this time around? Welcome ‘Project Origin.’
This new initiative will place watermarks on media or news from verifiable and trust-worthy content creators. Partners of the project include the BBC, Reuters, The Washington Post, Facebook, and Twitter. As media continues to get manipulated, the watermark will slowly degrade over time, hopefully giving the reader a sense of how accurate the media being consumed is.
This is not the first project in the fight against fake news. Nationally, a multitude of different projects (even some closely resembling ‘Project Origin’) have started. We have even seen the US Department of Defense getting in on the action advocating for a software system that can detect fake media among more than 500,000 photos, stories, videos, and audio clips.
Back in 2019 when many similar projects were starting, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R) notoriously blocked any security legislation related to the election. In early 2020, the senate came to a bipartisan agreement recently in passing a bill allocating for $250 million to be redirected to state voting system improvements.
‘Project Origin’ is only the beginning in the fight against fake news. Fake news is only expected to grow in size and veracity but as time goes on, we can expect many more projects to combat it.