As the Internet makes it possible for anybody to become a journalist, news is becoming available in all forms and opinions; it is difficult to be sure of the truth. At the World Wide Web conference in Madrid, software developers talked about their efforts in creating programs that will automatically rank Web content credibility by analysing the information presented.
The Know-Center in Austria is working on software that will rate blogs in three categories: "high credibility", "average credibility", and "little credible." It will analyse the number of times words are repeated and will compare blogs with mainstream news articles.
One argument as to why such coding may be problematic is that people may be ranked low for showing their point of view, even if the facts are correct. However, others say that the point is to help readers find unbiased information.
Another development presented at the World Wide Web conference was one by a Japanese company, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, which is creating software that will provide several points of view. It will assemble several viewpoints on certain topics so that readers can see them all together and draw their own conclusions. The website Newsy.com is similar in that it organises the news and provides several angles on each story, and claims to be the first news site to provide daily "multi-perspective" views of world news.
But as blogs start gaining credibility, what will this do to newspaper websites? It is possible that competition will grow, for better or for worse. One silver lining for newspapers may be that since their birth, newspapers have been fueled by competition, which has always pushed them to be better and better.