This Startup Plans to Authenticate the Entire Internet
Enough with fake news: a startup launching this week called Authenticated Reality wants to be the ultimate source for finding out what's real and what's fake online.
The company's product, which it calls "The New Internet," is launching in a closed beta this week. It's essentially a sandboxed layer that lives on top of every webpage its users visit, allowing them to authenticate stories they believe are real by placing their digital signature on them for other users to see.
Users will access the New Internet layer through a browser plugin or via an app for iOS (Android is coming soon). In addition to labeling web pages as authentic, users will also be able to rate and comment on them.
"Our company has created a place where every user is personally responsible for their actions through a system of checks and balances in order to put an end to unreliable information and false identities online," Authenticated Reality CEO Darin Andersen said in a statement.
It's a lofty goal, and one whose accomplishment depends almost exclusively on the character of the customers that the company is able to attract. To weed out people who themselves might be inclined to write fake news or incendiary comments, Authenticated Reality has come up with a verification system that requires users to submit their driver's license information to prove that they are who they say they are.
Addressing fake news with a closed network of verified commenters might make the web a more trustworthy place for Authenticated Reality's users, but it is a markedly different approach from the recent high-profile efforts in the media and tech world to combat the problem.
One of those efforts is a collaboration between Facebook, Google and major news outlets to verify news coverage of the 2017 French presidential election. Instead of the public verifying the news themselves, they'll send suspicious stories, photos and other content to real journalists who will use an arsenal of analytics tools to validate them.