More bubbles the answer to fake news

If we all see the world through our own bubble, then do we need fewer bubbles – or more? Image / King World News

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Jason Brown

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Like most commentators on news media, Johnathan Albright doesn’t have a lot to say about solutions to problems such as this:

“In the not too distant future, technology giants will decide what news sources we are allowed to consult, and alternative voices will be silenced”

Source: Stop worrying about fake news. What comes next will be much worse | Jonathan Albright | Opinion | The Guardian


He goes on to ask whether there is “a practical solution” to fake news?

“I can’t say”, says Professor Albright, an award-nominated data journalist, and researcher in news and media analytics.

If award-winning data journalist professors “can’t” or perhaps sometimes ‘won’t’ suggest solutions, then it’s clear that the often-trumpeted future-of-news must look outside “the interface of communication, culture, and technology”; stop “focusing on the thematic analysis of online and socially-mediated news events, creative data-driven journalistic methods, and informational visual storytelling” – and get back to the basics of what journalism is actually for.


Which is to inform. Fairly, with fear or bla bla bla, you know the rest.

Here’s one practical solution.

Instead of attempting to fight fake news, media outlets might try creating a few data demons of their own – ones that list headlines from a range of sources, other than their own.


This is already being done to a certain extent by outlets such as the BBC, under the sideline slug of “What others are saying” or similar.

But a criticism of current approaches is that such link lists tend to reflect what the outlet is already saying.

A bubble buster would be a page-wide series of columns that rank headlines by similarity – and by opposing views.


This would help restore exposure to a free market of ideas, with crowd-sourced, web-of-trust style rankings to categorise the columns across the spectrum between libtards and trumpwits.

So, to emphasise, such an approach would mean readers being exposed to liberal and conservative views, not liberal or conservative views.

Given enough clever coding, fake news would simply be drowned out by the volume of real news getting fresh eyeballs. Well, not ‘simply’ but simpler than leaving it up to news leaches like Facebook.

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