In early April, Italy’s Agenzia Nazionale Stamps Associate (ANSA) newswire caught fraudsters publishing fake COVID-19 articles posing as its chief, Stefano de Alessandri. To retaliate, ANSA launched a blockchain registration system called “ANSAcheck.”
This network stamps legitimate articles with traceable proof that an article was published by an official distributor. It uses the Ethereum blockchain to store the data to combat fake coronavirus news.
The newswire deployed ANSAcheck amid informational tensions driven by the medical crisis, but it was already in tow a year before in partnership with Ernst and Young. A distributed ledger could be used for the wider threat of misinformation.
Readers have been asking for de Alessandri’s attention about fake news and frauds in the website for three weeks. They called ANSA to ask why they published them, and if the articles were true, which worried him.
Now, ANSA is looking forward to combating fake news even after the pandemic. The firm claims that fraudsters will continue circulating as long as social media continues to allow them to do so.
That said, these platforms have been ineffective at stopping this spread, given their scope. Banning fake news altogether could face difficult legal hurdles, which forced them to simply flag them as possibly fake. The responsibility winds up landing on journalists, instead.
How ANSAcheck Works
ANSAcheck registers details such as the article’s title, timestamp, content hash, distributor ID and publication event in the blockchain. Every time the site publishes an official piece, it makes information available through a green graphic below an article.
Through clicking the logo, the certificate will show the transaction’s Block Height, Transaction Hash, and Block ID. Most readers of the publication might not understand these technicalities, but the blockchain is still one of the most effective ways to prove authenticity and legitimacy.
ANSAcheck also updates the ledger across each article’s entire lifecycle, like edits and secondary runs.
The newswire’s third-party publications can also have a similar network.