By our Swindon correspondent:
From The Guardian
A leading news organisation is calling for a digital “kitemarking” system online to distinguish between quality journalism and fake content – with internet companies facing penalties if they publish inaccurate information.
ITN, the maker of news for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, says the coronavirus pandemic has revealed both the importance of “trustworthy and reliable information” and the dangers to democracy of fast-spreading misinformation.
In a submission to a House of Lords inquiry into the future of journalism, seen by the Observer, it says internet companies should face the same penalties as broadcasters and other quality news providers from regulatory bodies, such as Ofcom, if they let misinformation slip through the net.
Personally, I think it’s time to finish off Ofcom. I can see that when you have limited bandwidth of 3 or 4 TV channels and not much radio, you might want government regulating it for quality, but we now have digital TV and DAB with plenty of choices. Let there be Jesus and Guns TV and Quinoa and Marx Radio. And there’s what, thousands, tens of thousands of channels on YouTube? How many thousand podcasts?
This submission is, of course, all about money. Amongst the many complaints about Google and Facebook, Jon Snow rather gave the game away
a few years ago:-
In fact, the duopoly of Facebook and Google has decimated the market in digital revenue that many hoped would sustain quality journalism for years to come. Now we all need to work together and find another way of supporting it, before it’s too late.
ITNs ad money is being taken by Facebook and Google and they don’t like it. So, how do you make your lumbering, inefficient, news service compete with fast-moving Silicon Valley companies? You add extra regulation to them. You create a “kite mark” so everything submitted to Facebook has to go through some bureaucrats to get approved. This would slow down the amount of content that gets onto Facebook or Google, so less eyeballs on them.
Unfortunately, it won’t work because it would mean every individual post would have to be checked. Post some photos, has to be checked. Post something about your autumn sale, has to be checked. Because anyone could slip their “9/11 truther” stuff into the middle of that. It would kill Facebook and as of now, I’m pretty sure that the public would rather see the end of ITN than Facebook.