Jack Dorsey, CEO of the social media giant Twitter, testified before a U.S. Congressional committee on Wednesday, confirming that Twitter is considering the use of blockchain to fight fake news and prevent online scams.
U.S. Congress is currently probing into the potential political bias among tech giants Twitter, Google and Facebook, questioning CEO’s such as Dorsey and Zuckerberg of Facebook, to identify what steps they are taking to prevent future election meddling.
Doris Matsui, a representative of California, questioned Dorsey during a House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing about user privacy protections, misinformation, content moderation and alleged bias against political conservatives on Twitter.
Responding to Matsui’s question “What potential applications do you see for blockchain?”, whereby she referenced Dorsey’s previous mention of having an interest in blockchain technology, and it’s potential to verify identity to fight misinformation and scams, Dorsey said that blockchain:
“has a lot of untapped potential, specifically around distributed trust and distributed enforcement potentially. We haven’t gone as deep as we’d like just yet in understanding how we might apply this technology to the problems we’re facing at Twitter, but we do have people within the company thinking about it today.”
Back in March, a study into ‘fake news’ by MIT researchers revealed that the Twitter platform was facilitating the largest proportion of misinformation and fraudulent stories. According to the report, it stated:
“By every common metric, falsehood consistently dominates the truth on Twitter, the study finds: Fake news and false rumors reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories.”
More controversially, Dorsey has also been vocal about his interest in cryptocurrencies, referring to himself as a “huge fan” of bitcoin, earlier this year he went so far as to state that he hopes the digital coin would become the internet’s “native currency”.
However, further to a surge of fraudulent activity relating to cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), Twitter soon followed fellow tech giants Facebook and Google, in officially enforcing a ban on cryptocurrency advertising at the end of March 2018.
It should be noted that Dorsey also serves as CEO of payment processor Square, which began trialling trades of the coin via its ‘Cash’ app in late 2017, which it rolled out across the US this year.
Twitter are not alone in their quest to utilise blockchain technology, as per a previous BCTech Report in May, Zuckerberg appointed his highest ranking executives to build a Facebook Blockchain Team, marking the biggest restructuring in the companies history.
A number of major companies are working on various issues surrounding the quality control of news, Adblock Plus that have partnered with MetaCert, the largest anti-fraud and URL registry, to launch its platform ‘TrustedNews’ identifying fake news using blockchain technology, and one of the world’s largest and oldest news agencies, Associated Press announced its partnership with blockchain startup Civil to reinstate trust and credibility in journalism and eradicate ‘fake news’.