There’s a constant flood of rumors on the Internet, some outlandish, some quite reasonable. The problem is it’s really hard to tell which is which, and it’s easy to be fooled by media hysteria during crises or important global news events. Now there’s a quick and very neat way to verify what you’re hearing about as it happens.
Emergent is a very cool new online app which features a rolling stream of news stories, which are currently floating around on the web and media pages. The neat thing is these stories are split between those which are ‘unverified’, ‘confirmed true’ or ‘confirmed false’, and each is clearly marked. This means it’s very easy to scan and tell whether a story is real or not without having to wade through pages of Internet search results.
What makes it especially useful is the fact that the systems scans a large range of sources, ranging from social to mainstream media, and collates all the information into For and Against tabs. In this way it’s easy to actually read the relevant articles and see exactly where the rumor came from and how it has been propagated.
In some cases it’s staggering to see how widely shared a story is, which ultimately turns out to be false. For example, the ESPN article above was shared over 8000 times, and yet eventually just 3 sources debunked it as completely false. Brilliant.
The service is currently in prototype form and seeking feedback, but we’re hoping the developers will open it up to the public more fully, and put in some kind of impartial system for doing the final adjudication. However, as the developers themselves say, it’s surprising how many stories remain unverifiable, languishing in a grey area ripe for continuing speculation and controversy. Has Kim Jong Un’s sister really been put in charge of the country? We’ll probably never know.