NewsGuard, Wiztrust ... These new tools fight against "fake news" in France

New York, NY, USA, September 18, 2019

On Thursday, May 23, the NewsGuard browser extension launched in France, with more than 60 sites analyzed on the model of a nutritional label. This article focuses on two new tools that fight against the spread of "fake news" in a context of distrust of the media in France. 

According to a survey conducted by YouGov for NewsGuard in France *, 90% of respondents say that incorrect or misleading information on the Internet is a problem. 79% of respondents also believe that social networks should make more effort. 

These figures reinforce this feeling of distrust of the media in France, as highlighted by the Kantar The Cross poll, published last January on the credibility of the media. 5% to 67%, the credibility of the web reaches 25%, while the written press loses 8 points in this traditional barometer, to 44%. It is in this very important context that several tools to fight against "fake news" are beginning to emerge in France. 

Founded in March 2018 in the United States by entrepreneur Steven Brill and educated publisher Gordon Crovitz, the NewsGuard browser extension arrived on May 23, 2011 Italy. For its launch in France, NewsGuard hired a team of seven people led by Alice Antheaumeas, Executive Director of Sciences for the Po School of Journalism, as Editorial Advisor. 

"This is not censorship, nor politics, but only a tool that can be trusted," warns the co-founder and co-CEO of this start-up based in New York, which currently employees 35 people. Based on the model of a digital label, this free software looks like a browser. This system is based on a barometer of consensus and universal criteria, which are applied in the same way for all analyzed sites. Each of the criteria awards points per site, based on 100 points. If the site gets 60 points or more, it will be displayed in green. Below 60 points, the analyzed media will be awarded a red label. 

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Among the criteria measured by the NewsGuard team, the credibility of the information is the most important. NewsGuard will focus on whether or not the website will be available when the republishing is published? Does the site correct its mistakes and report it to the readers? Does it stipulate the difference between opinion and facts? Does it clearly reveal who the content belongs to? Is the advertisement posted as is, or a reader can read an article? And when a site does not meet these criteria, its publisher will be contacted to obtain more details. 

To date, NewsGuard has more than 2,200 sites. For its launch in France, 60 sites are responsible for 70% of the content and have been analyzed. The objective is by the end of June, this tool will have analyzed the sites responsible for 90% of this content. The business model of this tool, which proudly defends its independence, is to provide licenses to telecommunications companies, Internet service providers and digital platforms. 

NewsGuard is currently working with the mobile version of Microsoft Edge following a contract signed by Microsoft in the United States. In France, NewsGuard has already partnered with the Qwant search engine. According to China Labbé, senior editor for Newsguard in France, some sites analyzed by NewsGuard have even improved their practices, such as a site in the United States which has gone from green to green after correcting its transparency criteria. 

But even before this certification stage, some of the tools involved to intervene upstream, at the precise time when companies communicate their figures. Last March in France, multi-entrepreneur Jérôme Lascombe and engineers launched Wiztrust, which presents itself as the first platform for certification and verification of business information. This tool is used to disseminate information to journalists, publishers, analysts and investors to verify their authenticity with one click. Six weeks after its launch, Jerome Lascombe already had 20 customers subscribing to this solution, which costs 1,000 euros per month for unlimited use. Among them were Air Liquide, Klepierre, Gecina and Amundi.  

"The media and companies have a common stake, fake news", explains Jérôme Lascombe. And "the consequences of false information generated by hacking are negative on both sides." The goal by the end of 2019 for this start-up of 32 employees is at least 60 and 100 certifying their content with Wiztrust. "With Wiztrust, mainly Target Agency Journalists", explains Julien Landfried, Executive Director Communication and Public Affairs of Gecina, who opted for this solution in last April. The company's objective is to provide financial communication that is "as rigorous as possible".  

Jérôme Lascombes and Raphaël Labbé, head of the group, to promote this solution to marketers and financial analysts in order to develop their presence in the French market. Discussions are ongoing in France, and this solution is also launching in the United States. 

Source: Wiztopic translation of Article Challenges publish on 05/22/2019 

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