The main problem news consumers face is deciphering whether a news website or news content is trustworthy or true. This leads to distrust in the media overall and allows those wanting to spread misinformation to easily do so. Today, their best option is to either only view a few, trusted news outlets or to educate themselves on the issue of media literacy and then hone that skill. TThis leaves consumers with limited choices for news or feeling overwhelmed trying to accurately check each news article they come across. With companies like Facebook allowing unregulated political advertising and the continued lack of regulation of the technology sector, the problem will only get worse over time.
Current State and Current State
During my research I found many people addressing the issue of media literacy. Most of the work was either academic research or educational. Both often ended up producing materials, guidelines, and curriculums for helping to educate consumers about media literacy.
I did find 3 projects that aim to help consumers in the moment when they come across news content.
- Chrome-only extension
- May have been discontinued
- Uses sources like Snopes and PolitiFact to “measure the truthfulness of news content”
- When visiting a website, site is given a rating
- Video Example
- Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox (although it currently can’t be found…) extension
- “Nobias is a free browser extension that automatically finds and applies bias and credibility insights in your newsfeed for over 60,000 news sites. We also instantly find better articles from credible authors and sources and offer Nobias History to help you track your reading habits so you can better manage your profile.”
- Video Example
- Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox extension
- “Get detailed ratings of more than 4000 news websites that account for 95% of online engagement with news. See ratings displayed as icons next to links on all the major search engines, social media sites, and platforms.”
- “See who’s behind each site and whether it has a record of publishing accurate information. Learn how each site fares on the nine journalistic standards NewsGuard uses to assess each site.”
- “Written by journalists, not secret algorithms.”
I also found another project that is in a similar space. Instead of producing resources to teach consumers or a tool to detect misinformation, this app is a game that teaches consumers how to identify false content
- Informable - The News Literacy Project
- The News Literacy Project
- “You’ll develop news-literate habits of mind by practicing four distinct skills: distinguishing news articles from opinion pieces, advertisements from other types of information, false evidence from sound evidence, and fact-based statements from opinion-based statements.”