New York Times Admits Using Hyperledger Blockchain to Fight Against Fake News

Spreading of mis-information and fake news is turning to be a huge menace and online tech companies are looking for ways to fight it. Popular publication The New York Times has confirmed that it is experimenting the use of blockchain technology to combat fake news and misinformation.

NYT calls this new projects as The News Provenance Project”. As part of this project NYT has partnered with IBM Garage and the two will leverage Hyperledger Fabric’s permissioned blockchain network to authenticate news images.

As stated, the primary objective is to fight the adulteration of content in online media. The project’s official website notes: “Our initial work involves exploring a blockchain-based system for recording and sharing metadata about media -- images and videos in particular -- published by news organizations. We are also conducting user experience research to identify the types of signals that can aid users in recognizing authentic media”.

From this month to the end of 2019, the NYT and its partners will run a proof-of-concept to find ways to develop trust in digital documents and files. It plans to store the “contextual metadata” belonging to any news item on the blockchain including the time and location of the photo or video that is shot. The metadata will also include other details like the owner of the content as well as the editing and publishing details.

The project website explains that the basic idea is to have a set of signals that can travel with published media anywhere that material is displayed,” that includes search results, social media, and group chats.

The official project website notes that keeping all the hype aside, “blockchain offers mechanisms for sharing information between entities in ways we think are essential for establishing and maintaining provenance of digital files. Specifically, data is stored to a blockchain is immutable (read: tamper-proof), and copies of the database can be held by multiple parties.”

NYT has assured that it will provide complete details of the project going ahead and the progress made. In her Medium post, Sasha Koren - the project lead on The News Provenance Project - wrote that NYT is open to new collaboration to make this project a success.

Koren added: “We would love to have more participants join us in this experimentation — particularly news outlets that publish original photos and that serve different audiences from The Times’s”.