First, there was media bias, then came fake news and hot on its heels, post truth. Now we enter the era of alternative facts, there may be opportunities here for savvy entrepreneurs.
Beauty, they say, is the eye of the beholder. Well, it turns out that facts are, too. According to media comment doing the rounds this weekend, there were 250,000 people at the Trump inauguration, compared with one million at Obama’s last inauguration and 1.8 million at his first inauguration.
We know this because Tom and Fred went around counting everyone, the only snag is, Fred lost count at 235, 384, and had to start again. Okay, that previous sentence was not a fact, it was fake news, but seeing as its falsehood was pretty obvious, the author would like to claim it as irony. It turns out that we don’t really know how many people were at any of these events, all we have are estimates – photographic evidence, evidence from transport usage, some sensors. And President Trump’s press secretary, in a somewhat controversial press conference, claimed something quite different. “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,” said Sean Spicer, “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
That’s odd, said some, who rather foolishly believed the evidence of their lying eyes, until Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide explained it all, saying that Mr Spicer was using ‘alternative facts.’
It’s an interesting concept, somewhat odd that little media comment has drawn a link between alternative facts, and George Orwell’s newspeak.
But Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, came up with a potential solution in an interview in the Sunday Times this weekend – a trust button.
“The Tech giants should …create new technological solutions to the problems they create” or so the Sunday Times paraphrased him as saying.
And that takes us to Biz Stone’s new venture: Jelly, answers to questions are crowd sourced, and not created by algorithm. (Which may not be so good at spotting irony.) But then he adds a trust button. Those who provide answers are rated by users, and if they obtain a higher trust score, they feature higher up the search results.
The ‘seeming-truth’ is that some kind of crowd-sourced wisdom and fact checking may provide the solution to 'post-truth'.
And the entrepreneur/s that can solve that one, may provide the next generation of social media stars. And that would make a very ‘lucrative truth’ for someone.