Fact checking website AltNews launches mobile app

The app will help you cross check the images and videos


In this age of social media where there is a deluge of information, misinformation and fake news are also fed knowingly or unknowingly. With the paucity of time, one would either forward the message, picture or a video without cross checking its veracity or would not forward as getting into whether it is right or wrong was time consuming. 

This will no longer be the case now. AltNews, a fact checking platform, has launched its mobile app. Currently available for android users, it will also be available for iPhone users in about three months, Pratik Sinha, founder of AltNews told THE WEEK. 

All that you need to do to fact check an image or video that you might have received on your Whatsapp group is to long press the image or video and use the share dialogue to open the media in the AltNews app. For the images and videos that have already been fact checked by the AltNews team, you will get a notification. 

It will take about 72 hours to fact check a viral image or video that has not been already fact checked by the team. You will get the notification once the content is cross checked. 

Dipen Chaudhary, 34, a Pune-based software engineer, whose company QED42 developed the application, told THE WEEK that they have purposefully kept a time period of 72 hours. He said that though they want the technology to aid them, there are so many intricate aspects that need to be cross checked by humans. “There are algorithms and machine learning, but these are never foolproof,” he said, adding that one thing Sinha was clear about when the idea was being worked upon was that whatever appears on the AltNews site has to have very high integrity. 

Ahmedabad-based Sinha said that this is the first of its kind application in which facts can be checked and the user gets a notification. Founded a couple of years ago, AltNews, according to him, was a journalistic intervention and later he needed a technological intervention for fact checking. 

Earlier, on various social media platforms, people used to tag AltNews to check the veracity of the content. However, Choudhary said that it was practically not possible to reply to all. This application, however, solves the problem, he remarked. 

AltNews has trained a few journalists in partnership with Google to check the facts and fake news. Sinha said that in the coming five years they would want to do a three-fold intervention— journalistic, educational and technological. 

According to him, the issue of misinformation is growing and every single day it is being used to create narratives, especially on one side of the ideology. It is not that people on the other side of the ideology do not use it, he quipped. Sinha is concerned that there is not enough literacy on the subject. 

The application is available in two languages – English and Hindi. AltNews also dabbles into media analysis.