Revcontent takes first step in its new ‘Truth Initiative’
The content recommendation service says this initiates a new effort to better filter out fake content and fake news sites.
Content recommendation service Revcontent has taken what it says is the first step in a new “Truth in Content Initiative.”
It’s a modest first step, with the option of “Fake News” now added as a reason for removing a given story. That option is available in an overlaid window that appears when you hover over the right side of each story item, and then click the resulting “x.”
Previously, CEO and founder John Lemp told me, the window offered other reasons for users to request the story be deleted from Revcontent’s supply of content. However, there’s no obvious way a user might know that a story can be so reported by discovering and then clicking on the “x.”
Lemp said his company is working on the next steps, which he expects will begin rolling out within the next 60 days. He indicated they could involve better tuning of his platform’s machine learning algorithms to weed out fake content, as well as better filtering out of fake news sites where Revcontent might appear. In February, Revcontent announced it had acquired content categorization engine Rover.
Lemp also said that Revcontent is investigating the use of credible third-party services, such as Snopes.com, to help authenticate content.
The company does not have data yet on how many stories have been tagged with the new “Fake News” option, or on how many stories were booted as a result of that tagging by his internal review team of about 20 staffers.
Revcontent is not alone in this challenge. Competitors such as Taboola, Outbrain and Adblade similarly come under fire for any help they provide in the dissemination of fake content, as well as for whether their content recommendations end up on fake news sites.
They’ve all said they are making efforts to combat this pollution, but that they are hampered by having to deal with millions of new stories or story variations daily. There’s also the challenge of determining which stories or sites are manufactured lies, and which are simply politically extreme.