Revcontent is utilizing the expertise of the Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network to help handle reports of misinformation by publishers.
With the revised policy, if two independent fact checkers within the International Fact Checking Network flag a story as false from a publisher within the Revcontent network, Revcontent will remove the content recommendation widget from that piece of content and will withhold any revenue generated by that piece of content.
“The goal of us working with the International Fact Checking Network is to utilize the experts to determine what is true and what is false and to remove the financial incentive for a publisher to post misinformation,” said John Lemp, CEO and Founder of Revcontent.
Although social platforms have worked with the IFCN to help debunk false stories posted to distribution channels, publishers have been able to benefit from the revenue generated by traffic spikes of viral stories before they are debunked. By removing the ability to earn any revenue from a story marked as false, Revcontent removes the incentive.
“We are so appreciative of the work being conducted by the sites within the International Fact Checking Network,” Lemp said. “Our goal was to be completely transparent with how we handle reports of fake news and to be accountable to third party organizations. This initiative allows us to achieve that without running the risk of implementing our own bias in the decision making process.”
Revcontent is not, and should not be the arbiters of what is true and what is false, but the IFCN is widely respected as objective and independent in their quest for the truth.
“I’m glad that Revcontent is considering how to reform its infrastructure to make viral misinformation less viable,” said Alexios Mantzarlis, Director of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network. “I hope this can be a closely-monitored and successful policy change that is just the start of an ongoing systematic effort to remove the financial incentives of misinforming actors.”
According to its website, “The International Fact-Checking Network is a unit of the Poynter Institute dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide. The IFCN was launched in September 2015 to support a booming crop of fact-checking initiatives by promoting best practices and exchanges in this field.”
Each of the fact checkers within the IFCN follows the code of principles, a series of commitments that the organizations are required to abide by. Each fact checker is thoroughly vetted before being allowed into the network, and the code of principles includes a clear process for disputes between the fact checkers and the publishers.
“We have worked very hard for a long time to continue to address misinformation, and although we are confident in this initiative, we will continue to improve our network and how we handle fake news moving forward,” Lemp said.