How To Leverage Blockchain to Combat Fake News And Reduce Public Panic During A Pandemic

Design Challenge

#1: How might we keep our communities in Singapore safe and healthy during the global COVID-19 pandemic?

Project Description

This project involves a plugin that can be easily installed onto a browser. This plugin is linked to a simple landing page that has gamification elements such as the user’s reputation and cryptocurrency earned. Let’s call the blockchain “SGUnited” and the coin “SGUnited” coin.

With the installation of this plugin, one button will be added onto every status of Facebook. That button is a “verification needed” button. So browsers of news can click on this “verification needed” button, and this feedbacks to the ecosystem that the news requires verification. People who can verify the information with facts and evidence will be awarded with SGUnited Coins, which then can be exchanged for real goods and services by SGUnited sponsor. A team of curators will QC the verification process.

Criteria #1: Value

-Fake news is a very serious problem in the community and a gamification process may alleviate this fake news problem.
-This solution makes use of the concept of excess capacity in our economy– especially when it comes to human resources in a pandemic, such as higher unemployment rates and people who temporarily cannot work due to SHN/ CB. It makes verification of news fun and can train our population to “trust and verify” news, instead of just “read and panic”.

Criteria #2: Inspiration

I think Singapore is very advanced in its emerging tech– so why not leverage on that? Design + using blockchain tech is pretty cool I feel. And I feel that the tech solution is not difficult to code– just 2-4weeks is sufficient since it’s a simple plugin. It is also not difficult to issue coins– we can even work with established/ local blockchain protocols to solve this issue. And I think it’s not difficult to get sponsors on board since it’s goodwill for them.

Criteria #3: Impact

1. People: This solution involves the community, especially the retirees and the temporarily unemployed. It makes them feel important as they now can participate in the process of verifying news instead of spreading panic.
2. Control: This solution gives politicians greater control over the media/ social media discourse. Curators can and perhaps should be trusted media practitioners so that they can address fake news first hand.
3. Ability to reach across various languages. If the “verification” button is triggered for say, a particular news article in Bengali, then it is a signalling process that curators should look into that particular article asap.

Criteria #4: Timeliness

I think the API and plugin can be coded in 1month. Even though I don’t code, i’m sure this is not a complicated idea.

Criteria #5: Systems Thinking

I think this idea is very complementary to other mechanisms in the ecosystem! Most importantly, it is a fun social engineering process to help masses cultivate a habit of discerning what is fake news and what isn’t, and be rewarded for it. It’s win-win for all stakeholders– For politicians, media, masses, brands who act as sponsors.

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