Facebook takes context-based approach to fake news problem, Grapple is next

Facebook's playbook of fake news mitigation strategies is beginning to look more like our project at Grapple. The social media behemoth plans to start offering "related stories" alongside news posts beginning this week, allowing readers to see potentially conflicting information on a news story.

This absolves Facebook of the risky and questionable endeavor of attempting to police breaking and trending news feeds in real time. This new feature is all about empowering readers to make better decisions about the content they are sharing.

“We don’t want to be and are not the arbiters of the truth. The fact checkers can give the signal of whether a story is true or false” Facebook News Feed integrity product manager Tessa Lyons told Tech Crunch.

This is the embodiment of Grapple's mission, to automate the news research process in a way that makes more information about a particular topic more accessible to more people, instantaneously. 

Previously: Experts question Facebook's ability to curb Fake News

Of course, whereas Facebook's related articles feature will be restricted to the confines of its staple "News Feed," as rendered on the company's website:


This is not new technology, but rather a re-applicaton of the same "Related Articles" algorithms Facebook introduced in 2013.

At Grapple, we are building on an unbounded news research engine that will operate on any and all platforms, expanding the horizon of available information beyond smoke-and-mirrors algorithms that whittle content down to a few selected links. 

Our first application will be built around the fact checkers who are currently providing fodder for Facebook's news feed algorithms (and of course the journalists themselves who provide the content). Over time, we want to build an application that can seamlessly provide guidance to readers as invisibly as we've come to expect spell checking in our digital documents.

Grapple is a Brooklyn-based tech startup founded by journalists. Grapple was voted runner-up in the Bringing People Closer to Science and Technology competition, and was recently accepted in to the IBM Global Entrepreneur program.