Yesterday, Italian news agency ANSA announced it developed a blockchain system for tracking news in partnership with Ernst & Young Advisory.
Called ANSAcheck, the solution will allow readers to check the origin of the news that is published on the ANSA platforms, its affiliated publications, and third parties such as social media and other platforms.
ANSA is a news wire service whose members and shareholders are 24 publishers of Italian newspapers. The company has numerous offices in Italy and around the globe and is among the top 10 news agencies around the world.
When a news article is filed, a hash or digital fingerprint of the verified text will be recorded by the blockchain. Once the article is published on the website or some other platform, the text will be re-hashed and compared with the existing hash of the article. If the data matches, the published article will get an ANSAcheck digital sticker.
ANSAcheck is based on the EY OpsChain Traceability solution, running on Ethereum’s public blockchain. The news provenance solution will allow readers to see the history of the news and its primary source. It will also enable ANSA to keep track of the use of its news, and bring together news publishers, web agencies, and other players in the journalism ecosystem.
“In recent days, we witnessed the frequent fraudulent use of our brand to give truth to false news,” said Stefano de Alessandri, CEO of ANSA. “Starting today, we can track the origin of the news and — at the same time — support the professionalism of our journalists. This is an important step in the fight against fake news.”
The provenance of news is a significant concern due to the ease of communication in the modern world. Fake news, edited images, and other media are often distributed over the internet. However, agencies like ANSA need to verify the source to avoid the spread of fake news. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic trusted news is needed to prevent panic among people.
Elsewhere, the New York Times (NYT) is running its blockchain-based News Provenance Project to tackle misinformation in the media.
Meanwhile, China’s Baidu is operating the PIC-CHAIN blockchain for image copyright protection, and Sony has a rights management blockchain for written works. While both these systems relate to intellectual property, they can track the usage and provenance of the images and text to ensure appropriate credit.