April 28, 2018 at 09:57AM
The past year has led to lots of accusations of “fake news” and effort from most of us to verify what we’re reading is true before believing it. A new app is attempting to bridge the gap between finding news and verifying its authenticity by using AI and human verification.
Called Ground, the app links to news stories from major publications like CNN, The New York Times, and Reuters as well as news-related posts from social media such as Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram all overlayed over a map making them easy to find. That means you can dial down what you’re reading to your hometown or any town you want.
When you log in, you have the option of giving Ground access to your location so it can provide local news. You can also customize the new categories you’re most interested in, selecting from a list that includes Science & Tech, Politics, Sports, Business, and Media & Arts.
Zooming in on my home in San Francisco, there are news stories today from a small local paper about our upcoming elections and power prices soon increasing as well as stories from big outlets like ESPN discussing the Warriors.
You can sort stories by “Top” new stories, the Latest additions, and stories tailored specifically to your interests.
When you tap into a particular story you can see a link to the source of the news so you can read the full story. You can also react to the topic with a Disappointed, Good News, I’m With You, or Suspicious button and comment on the news, which presumably will initiate a discussion with people on the ground in the area.
For instance, when I pulled up a story from the San Francisco Chronicle about a delayed Whole Foods in the city, it said there were 11 people on the ground in the area that I could query about the story. I did, but didn’t get a response. Also, Whole Foods probably isn’t exactly a hate-button issue.
The idea behind the chat feature is that if you see something questionable, you can ask someone that the app has verified is actually there for answers. Whether or not they talk to is certainly up for debate, but you’ll know that when someone says “Yes, this is really happening” they’re doing so from the place in question, not somewhere in Russia.
It’s honestly a pretty neat way to consume news, and while that chat feature isn’t something I would probably use often, it’s something I can see being super useful during a large breaking-news event in the future where the difference between fact and fiction is a bit blurry in mainstream media.