New Artificial Intelligence-Based News Platform Launches Today

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Newly launched platform Otherweb is looking to bring back journalistic integrity and filter out “fake news” and misinformation by systematically breaking down the quality of information being presented.

Otherweb is looking to bring back journalistic integrity and filter out “fake news” and misinformation that has become so prevalent in today’s fast-moving information world. The platform, which just debuted on Product Hunt, was designed by tech executive and Silicon Valley expat, Alex Fink.

“The constant competition for clicks and views results in a downward pressure on writing quality. Editorial standards often fall by the wayside,” says Fink. "The problem is that if you measure success in clicks and views, there is no financial incentive to optimize for anything else.”

Otherweb looks to help journalists align their incentives to the incentives of their readers. It measures writing quality along multiple dimensions and makes sure that higher quality leads to a larger number of clicks and views. Otherweb uses a set of AI models (called “ValuRank”) that analyzes text along multiple dimensions - informativity, subjectivity, formality, offensiveness, hatefulness, external references, source diversity, clickbait headlines, use of known propaganda techniques, and more. The ValuRank AI doesn’t attempt to define what quality is; instead, it provides a nutrition label for content, just as the FDA requires a nutrition label for packaged food products.

While the nutrition label systematically breaks down the quality of the information, what it does not do is take sides. ValuRank does nothing to filter political leanings in either direction, keeping any agendas or viewpoints intact, though editorials and opinion pieces will generally score lower than factual news reports. All of its models and datasets are open-source and posted in a public repository, so if anyone suspects a partisan bias they are welcome (encouraged, even) to open the code and see for themselves.

Fink is so confident in Otherweb’s neutrality, that he is willing to offer a $1000 bounty to anyone who is able to identify a consistent political bias in any of its AI models. “In today’s divisive atmosphere, it’s important to us that we present the most impartial set of data possible,” he says. “Only then can we truly focus on quality rather than positioning, and let journalistic integrity take over again.”

To use Otherweb, users can just go to otherweb.com and, optionally, register to let the system synchronize their preferences across multiple devices. The platform allows users to read news articles from over 100 sources, and to filter them by minimal quality score, by category, or by preferred sources. Each article comes with a nutrition label and a bullet-point summary that allows the reader to decide whether they want to consume the entire article before they commit the time to do so.

“Otherweb is looking to put the power of information in the hands of the consumers,” says Fink. “By creating a standard that journalists must live up to, we are holding them accountable for their work and creating an environment that is free of sensationalism and misinformation.”

To view the Otherweb’s launch on Product Hunt, you can visit http://www.producthunt.com/posts/otherweb.

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Jeff Heller
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