With the United States Presidential Election set for next month, the concern over fake news has once again dominated public discourse. Fake news — the deliberate spreading of verifiably false information under the disguise of being an authentic news story — not only undermines the public’s confidence in the free press, it inflames social conflict, can result in health hazards (like swallowing bleach in an attempt to avoid COVID-19), gives rise to radicalism, undermines the integrity of elections, and manipulates markets. In short, fake news threatens the social trust we have in our institutions and in each other.
Common solutions today, such as fact-checking websites and artificial intelligence algorithms are deployed only after the fact — they aim to detect fake news that has already been created. The Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas just completed a case study on ANSAcheck, developed by Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata — Italy’s top news wire service — and Big