Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Vett News?

       VettNews is ratings agency of news organizations and the first complete solution to tackle the problem of information pollution, misinformation and hoax news. 

Vett is a Swedish word meaning “Savvy” and VettNews is the first product of Vett Inc., whose mission is “Making Ethics Visible.” 

       VettNews presently consists of a database of more than 15,000 news organizations. A team of journalism professors and industry experts audit each news organization in the database using a simple, elegant methodology. This database includes a paragraph description on each outlet, its ownership structure and rating. We eventually anticipate rating more than 50,000 news sources around the world.

 

What methodology are you are using?

A news organization is rated Red, Green or Yellow based on how it fares on these key questions: 

1) Does the news organization correct itself when confronted with mistakes?

2) Does the news organization espouse a code of ethics?

3) Does the news organization clearly delineate fact-based reporting from opinion pieces?

What you are proposing is very ambitious? How many people do you have on staff to do the auditing of the sites?

       There is a critical need for what we are doing. We are adding staff continually who are passionate about upholding the truest measures of journalistic integrity and believe in the need for citizens to understand the accuracy and veracity of what they are consuming. There has never been a greater need for total transparency in reporting and identifying chronic producers of hoaxes, fake news and suspect facts and figures.

       Technology actually makes our ambitions possible since the task is beyond human abilities,no matter how many people we have on staff. We amplify our experts in journalism and academia with a trusted technology platform powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning and Blockchain technology to do the heavy lifting and ensure the efficacy of our methodology and transparency.

Do readers care about what a site is rated? And will a loyal Red site reader care that it isn’t rated Green?

       We think readers should know whether or not the source of the content they consume is trustworthy and meets basic editorial standards. We also believe advertisers should be able to better understand the breadth of the environment where their message may appear and choose the parameters acceptable to them.

Does VettNews only work on news sites or does it also cover sources like Facebook and Twitter?

The VettNews browser extension will work for content present on Facebook and Twitter.  In fact, we believe these platforms will absolutely see the need for VettNews and its ability to definitively provide guidance to consumers for the trustworthiness of the content it publishes.

How big a problem is fake news today?

       In a word, it is massive. Sixty-four percent of adults surveyed after the 2016 presidential election believe false stories caused confusion according to the Pew Research Center. 

Russian Agents posted more than 131,000 messages on Twitter, sent problematic Facebook posts that reached 126 million users and uploaded more than 1,000 videos on Google’s YouTube  designed to inflame political and social dynamics in the US.

       And it’s only a matter of time before fake audio and video content becomes just as pervasive – in fact, it’s likely already happening.

So how do we stop it?

       We assume it won’t stop but what needs to be done is to provide citizens with a way to understand the reliability and veracity of the content they are consuming. 

The VettNews Rating system is totally objective with three, zero-sum criteria:

1) Does the news organization correct itself when confronted with mistakes?

2) Does the news organization espouse a code of ethics?

3) Does the news organization clearly delineate fact-based reporting from opinion pieces? 

We then add a technology layer to the system using AI and ML that elevates the trust level further and virtually ensures its incorruptibility.  While others in this space use either technology alone or a list of subjective criteria to assign ratings – which are subject to individual bias – VettNews provides an objective certainty further hardened by editorial,academic and technology experts monitoring the database and helping to tune the algorithms.And it is irrefutably accurate and scalable.

Lastly, employing Blockchain technology adds another layer of security and transparency.

Other players are making announcements in this space adding investors, former journalists to their staff and adding browser platforms. Are you playing catch up?

       VettNews came up with the Green, Yellow and Red rating before anyone else. Our methodology is simple and fully objective while other rating contenders use either technology alone or subjective criteria subject to personal bias. Technology alone, without expert industry input, isn’t nearly as effective as when technology is built into an expert system like VettNews.

       By adding a layer of AI and ML technology to VettNews, guided and continually fine-tuned by industry experts, we have built a superior and more robust platform that provides consumers, advertisers and producers with a fully trustworthy ability to gauge the integrity of content 7x24, 365 days a year. No one else comes close to doing that.

Is VettNews available today?

We expect to launch VettNews in the fall and are aiming for October. 

What does VettNews’ future look like?

       We believe VettNews, 1. Has the ability to make news organizations around the world more transparent in their ethics and corrections policy and to be more forthcoming about ownership. 2. We expect to be able to attract subscribers at the citizen level and customers at the producer level who understand the need for transparency and the need for adhering to traditional journalistic standard for content published on their platform. 3. We will continue to add media outlets to our database allowing consumers to know exactly the degree of trust these outlets represent. And 4., We believe we have a necessary and vital role to play in helping to identify hoax stories and fake news, and anticipate additional avenues of funding to help us continue our mission. That includes subscriptions, licensing, crowdfunding entities such as Kickstarter, and VCs and institutional funding.