Today, we are thrilled to launch CrossCheck, the first collaborative journalism project to fight misinformation online. The French presidential election is the project’s initial focus, and will combine the efforts of more than 34 newsroom partners as well as journalism students across France and beyond. Together, they will work to debunk rumours and false claims and accurately report confusing and misleading stories.
21 is a startup that initially got attention for developing hardware and software to optimize bitcoin mining. But earlier this month, it (pivoted? expanded? diversified?) into providing a sort of paid email service. (This shift was, of course, predicted by the prophets of old.) With 21, you set a price at which people can send you an email and actually get a reply. (The sender is only charged if you respond.)
Last week, Marc Andreessen announced that he was now active on the serviceand that for $20, you could ask him anything. (He’s donating all payments to Black Girls Code.) Andreessen is, of course, the cofounder of the influential venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (an investor in 21, natch); back in the earlier days of the web, he was leader of the team that developed Mosaic, the first significant graphical web browser, and through Netscape the web’s early barefoot king.
If you went offline for even a little bit of what was a three-day weekend in the U.S., you might have missed a spate of new surveys, studies, and articles about The Way We Media Now. A briefing:
Why facts don’t change our minds. The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert reviews three newish books (all published before the U.S. election, but particularly fitting now) that look at why humans are so bad at realizing they might be wrong about something. Some of it is biological: “Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups.” Back when we lived as hunter-gatherers, “there was little advantage in reasoning clearly, while much was to be gained from winning arguments.”
<em>The Washington Post</em>’s Heliograf software can autowrite tons of basic stories in no time, which could free up reporters to do more important work
Over the years we’ve heard from Google News users that our efforts to label stories ranging from local to satire to user-generated have helped expand their view of what is happening in the world. Last October we added a new Fact Check tag to help people find news stories that have been fact checked, so they can understand the value of what they’re reading. Soon after, we introduced the tag in France and Germany.
These guys didn’t care if Trump won or lost the White House. They only wanted pocket money. But the consequences of what they did shook the world.