News Detective

Fighting misinformation on social media

Incubating at MIT Sandbox and MIT DesignX

Honorable Mention for MIT DesignX awards

Can't Keep Up

Social media companies hire professional factcheckers to check articles one-by-one. There are only a handful of factcheckers, compared to the billions of social media posts. There are nowhere near enough factcheckers to check all of it.

Artificial intelligence won't solve this either. AI is just an extension of humans. Fake news is made to trick humans. If fake news can trick humans, it can easily trick AI.

Crowdsourcing, letting regular users rate articles, can handle the volume. But crowds aren't always that wise. Some people are biased. Some people are inexperienced. Some people are bots.

The answer: News Detective

News Detective is a platform that uses moderated crowdsourcing, professional factcheckers, and AI.


Social media users rate articles for truthfulness and provide evidence on website


Professional factcheckers and more experienced users rate other users


Ratings/explanations of highly-rated users appear on Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social media

Growing a Culture

More experienced users rate new users.

Only when a user has a high enough rating do their fact checks count

As new user ratings increase, they get more power to moderate newer users

Builds up a culture of people who know what they are doing

Democratic and Transparent

With News Detective, it’s not social media companies deciding what’s true. It’s everyone. And it's not a mysterious process: you can see what the ratings are, who rates, and why.

Currently, misinformation starts as a few small pieces of misinformation that snowball into a big one. But with News Detective, we nip misinformation in the bud. As misinformation grows, these fact-checks follow it just as fast.

The internet is amazing. Just as we unleashed its power to produce information, we need to unleash it to figure out which information is actually true. Who knows, we could find ourselves in a world where we all know what’s going on, a world where democracy is less threatened.

Let’s get back to arguing about real things!

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