While social media platforms struggle to develop new algorithms to staunch the flow of fake news, UK-based charitable organisation, The Ananas Foundation, has instead decided to encourage actual humans to get involved in creating a better informed populace — and they’ll even pay you for it.
The goal of Ananas is clear: to create a platform in which oft-misinterpreted texts are responsibly annotated by people in the know, hopefully robbing extremists of one of their most potent tools. Ananas users can expect their diligence to be rewarded with an ethereum-based currency named ‘Anacoins’.
Although users will have to initially purchase some Anacoins to make a submission, they will be compensated with more when others validate and verify their writings. These cryptocoins can then be exchanged into other currencies, with Anacoins currently trading on the ethical Initial Coin Offering platform Chainstarter at fifty Anacoins to one US dollar.
The whole platform is made possible thanks to burgeoning blockchain technology. Thank to the decentralised and autonomous nature of the blockchain, the data created will not be owned or controlled by a central authority, but instead empowers the community of contributors to create their own resource base by exchanging their knowledge, expertise and opinions. Blockchain also makes it possible to collate and verify the information without censorship and third-party interference, and anyone can access the information for free.
Championing ‘Objective Subjectivity’
Ananas hopes the project will bring together myriad and diverse communities who wish to reclaim their often misinterpreted texts. Their first project is an ambitious one, as the charity hopes to create an online ‘living Quran’ featuring commentary backed up by the Ananas community.
Interestingly, Ananas does not see reliability and subjectivity as opposed. Instead a multiplicity of viewpoints is central to their ‘objective subjectivity’ philosophy. In particular, the content can be accessed by anyone via a free app which will allow readers to filter information from certain groups. The end result is the ability to quickly view the different perspectives on a single text, all of which have undergone Ananas cryptocurrency supported verification regime. This multiplicity of opinion could then help counter the claims of extremist ideologies.
Combating the rise of fake news has become a central priority not only for the social platforms on which it thrives, but also for various social and environmental organisations who fear its unchecked spread could hamper future efforts. Indeed, only last month New York Times Managing Editor Joseph Khan explained to the Lisbon Web Summit how the impartiality of the technology sector could be critical to limiting the damaging influence of fake news.