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Battling fake news with blockchain technology

“Fake news” was the official buzzword of 2017, and it was constantly headlining all over the world. Filipinos are likewise no stranger to this concept. Websites such as FilipiNews, HotNewsPhil and PhilNewsPortal have been blocked by Facebook for purportedly publishing fake news. Nevertheless, social media platforms are still plagued with this problem.

Just last year, PCOO Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson posted on her personal account a photo of the burial of Philippine National Police’s best intelligence cop, with a comment calling out Liberal Party members for not attending. It turns out that burial was held a year prior to the said post. For this and many other instances, the Senate summoned her for a hearing to discuss the alleged rampant fake news circulation. In defense, she stated that the post was made to reflect her personal views as a blogger.

Aside from Asec. Uson, other personalities have been also dragged into the issue. Cocoy Dayao, managing director and editor-in-chief of ProPinoy.net, was requested to appear in the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media. The purpose was to explain his participation in the Facebook account “Silent No More” who branded 7 Senators as “Malacañang Dogs”. Government efforts proved to be futile in battling the proliferation of fake news.

As regulation over free speech in social media platforms is almost nil, people are constantly beleaguered by the issue. The haunting question lies in the heads: “Is there an end to this worldwide dilemma?” The answer is a hopeful “yes.”

The growing popularity of blockchain technology allows it to be the inspiration for solutions to pressing problems of today. One example is the usage of this platform to create a neutral broadcasting entity. Through blockchain, it is possible to gather funding to create an independent search engine or app specifically designed for broadcasting news. As the technology is operated by the public at large, it will eliminate the leverage that big companies have over the small players to manipulate public opinion thru news.

At present, most news articles appear based on their level of SEO, regardless of the veracity and accuracy of content. But with the recent developments in blockchain, this might not be the case in the future. Innovators are optimizing the technology and applying it to other fields, i.e. newscasting. By launching a  news website that is publicly funded, ad-free and cost-free, or releasing an app that gives no priority to a single source based only on the amount it has paid, the Filipino public may finally have better access to unbiased, honest news.

While the idea is hopeful, there are no definite details yet as to the existence of an ongoing project like this in the Philippines. Surely, however, if it proves to be successful, a revolution in information dissemination is set to begin.

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