“Fake news” is a term that’s being thrown out a lot lately. Strictly defined, the concept constitutes blocks of information fabricated either wholly or in part from falsehoods to serve an end, sometimes political. Creating or promoting fake news is principally an act of commission and occasionally an act of omission: reporting blocks of true information chosen selectively to promote a goal.
A natural response to the problem of fake news is the emergence of fact-checkers. A recent take on the phenomenon from Vox addressed the question: Who will guard the guardians?
Though the term has gained steam recently, fake news – or fake history, for that matter -is not new. Every society is built on a store of publicly-accessible information, a shared history, that evolves over time. Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle wrote a piece on the advent of “fake news,” titled ” Fact-Checking’s Infinite-Regress Problem .”
“It’s a high-tech version of a problem that has been with us for at least 2,000 years,” she wrote.
But who is assigned to determine this public ledger and how can they be trusted? Incentivizing the content creators is certainly one way to address the proverbial players.
That’s where blockchains come in. A blockchain is a shared, distributed database which is updated and kept secure through some communal consensus algorithm. The Bitcoin blockchain appears to have solved the fake news problem for its particular application (essentially, debiting/crediting money accounts).