22 December 2022
“Fighting disinformation is not done with the human factor alone. There are tools such as Artificial intelligence and blockchain that can help people distinguish true and false information” says Gianni Riotta, director of the Master in Journalism at Luiss Guido Carli university and head of the Luiss Data Lab Research. “Blockchain isn’t limited to cryptocurrency, it is much more than that” concludes Riotta while welcoming his hosts Alessandra Spada, CEO of Catchy, an innovative deep tech SME, and Fabio Severino, CTO of Traent, a leading startup blockchain collaboration platform at the event Blockchain in the service of journalism.
The initiative of the collaboration between Luiss Data Lab, Catchy and Traent comes from the need to support a model of journalism based on the verifications of acts and sources that can give new strength and quality information by making Fact – Checking secure, transparent and verifiable without compromising integrity and privacy. There is the need to create a new model of inclusive and trusted fact-checking that allows readers to learn and explore the procedure of verifying information supported by blockchain technology. All of this is realizable thanks to “Zeta Check certified news” that is the smart contract modeled on verification system of information integrated into the Zeta Luiss website, the flagship publication of the master in journalism
“Why current blockchain is not a piece of cake?” asks Fabio Severino to the class and explains: “Usability, it is not simple enough for everyday use. Storage is beyond budget. The GDPR issue is not compliant with the right to be forgotten. Energyintensive because bitcoin consumes more energy than Argentina. Complexity because it takes one year to implement a pilot. Scalability because one single ledger can’t rule them all. Forced transparency, not all data should be public. It is a valuable new tool to fight back fake news”.
Traent provides a collaboration platform on blockchain that verifies the authenticity of new stories and it is used by readers, journalists, fact checkers and other trusted sources to verify the accuracy of news and to identify and flag false or misleading information. “Companies can interact in a simple, authentic and transparent way” explains again Fabio Severino by tracing the essentials characteristics of the project that can bring people, organizations and things together by enabling the exchange of documents, communication and collaborative work.
The event hosted by Luiss concludes with a practical demonstration done by Elena La Stella and Yamila Ammirata, students of the Master in Journalism, on how the platform works. 1. Identification of the news to be verified. 2. information gathering 3. News review. 4. It can be: verified news, unverifiable news, inaccurate news, old news, fake news. In case the news is unverified a second workflow allows journalists to invite third parties to confirm one or more information shared during the fact-checking process.
These partnerships aim to help restore trust in information by offering processes, transparency and simple fact checking tools. Zeta Check is the first online newspaper based on blockchain and guarantees the reader to find information directly from it.
By Caterina Di Terlizzi, student of the Master in Journalism Luiss