Fighting misinformation on social media
News Detective is a crowdsourced fact checking project to fight misinformation at scale. News Detective was started by a journalist (National Geographic, The Atlantic, Marketplace) who worked as a factchecker at Politifact for Meta and TikTok, and is a current MIT grad student. The team has built an MVP, which has 1,000+ users. It just launched on a Mastodon server.
Styled on Wikipedia’s hierarchy, the project has the “crowds” fact check but professional fact checkers moderate. Any user can submit a post from a social media platform for fact checking, and platforms can link back from the social media posts to the fact checks. Why? As misinformation continues to rise, professional fact checkers are drowning and unable to keep up.
Crowdsourcing, letting users act as a hivemind fact checker for the collective, is one approach to keep up with the quantity of misinformation out there in a transparent, democratic way. As with Wikipedia, it’s about the community as much it is about the software, and News Detective is focused on developing both.
News Detective is incubating at DesignX, a program at MIT designed to create solutions for problems facing the human environment, and Sandbox, an MIT startup incubator.