Fujitsu: 'Trustable Internet' Could tackle Fake News

John Lister's picture

Fujitsu has proposed an "endorsement layer" on top of the Internet to tackle bogus information. It's an idea that would certainly face both technological and societal challenges.

The idea comes in a white paper (a report designed to provoke discussion) written alongside Keio University in Japan. It explores the idea of a "trustable Internet in which people can use information securely." (Source:

The concept is simple, if abstract. The writers propose a system that "overlays a layer on the Internet, which has a mechanism to confirm the credibility of the data, so that the existing Internet is not affected, and Internet users can use the Web/applications as before."

Bogus Flood Claim

The writers give the example of an Internet user seeing a social media post with an image and a claim that flooding was likely to occur. The post could cause panic and a run on supplies from stores leading to shortages. In the example, there was no flood risk - something that would have been clearer if the user had seen other information such as local water level data.

The paper gives an example of an "endorsement graph" that the user could request to see alongside the original claim. This would bring together details of physical information (for example from Internet-connected devices) supporting or contradicting claims, along with details of how authoritative the source was. (Source:

Checking The Checkers

In the flooding example, the graph shows that the photo is from the city where the flooding is expected to take place, but the person making the claim is not, and that water sensors show the water levels in the city are low. The idea is not to give a definitive assessment of whether the claim is true, but rather provide more information to the user to help them make up their own mind.

The paper acknowledges one of the biggest limitations with such exercise: that it only works if users trust the sources being used to verify the credibility of claims. While it suggests a reputation mechanism that would rate the quality of supporting information, it can't do much to help where the user is motivated to distrust authoritative sources.

What's Your Opinion?

Does this idea have merit or is it simply impractical? How important is it that people have more information from which to assess claims made online? How much do people even care whether something they read and share is true?

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Average: 3.7 (3 votes)


HallBryant's picture

Who is the arbiter of what is bogus information?
Is the WHO a reputable source?

PseudoGeek's picture

From an article by Russel Blaylock that's on the NIH website as of this writing:

1. Vaccinated people don't spread Covid. It's been proven that the vaccinated asymptomatic person has a nasopharyngeal titer of the virus as high as an infected unvaccinated person; therefore the vaccinated present a greater risk to the health of others than the unvaxed.

2. The WHO changed the definition of a pandemic. To qualify as a pandemic, the virus must have a high mortality rate for the vast majority of people, but it had a 99.98% survival rate.

3. Masking was universally required in the workplace and in public spaces, in some cases even outdoors. However, a number of carefully done studies during previous flu seasons demonstrated that masks of any kind had never prevent the spread of a virus among the public.

Here are examples of where the fact checkers cancelled "myths" which have actually now been proven true:

The asymtomatic vaccinated were spreading the virus equally as with unvaccinated symptomatic infected people.

Natural immunity is far superior to vaccine immunity and is likely lifelong.

Covid vaccines can cause a significant incidence of blood clots of serious side effects; not the "extremely rare" events that the media propagated.

Some predicted internment camps, which of course happened in Australia, Canada, and Austria.


rhcconsulting_14541's picture

PseudoGreek's entire response is a prime example of misinformation, and typically used a bit of truth to "prove" a falsehood.

1. Yes, vaccinated people that were infected did spread the virus, but for a shorter period than an unvaccinated person.
2. The WHO site still refers to "Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic." Wikipedia defines a pandemic as "an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of individuals." The death rates have been very high, especially in earlier variations (much higher than quoted by PseudoGreek). More people have perished in the United States than died in all of World War II.
3. There is no "proof" that masking did not prevent the spread of disease. In fact there are multiple comparisons between similar groups (such as classrooms) where the requirement for masks resulted in fewer infections. The death rate for those that are immunocompromised (Cancer patients, solid organ transplants, etc.) are much higher, even in the "milder" Omicron. Certainly, the quality of mask and whether it is properly worn is a factor.

As well, COVID-19 has not performed like previous respiratiory diseases. Even though there was evidence that it was spread by airborne (think your breathe in winter) early on, most governments emphasized wiping surfaces and cloth masks (both of which were ineffective with airborne spread).

If "natural immunity" and "lifelong protection" were possible, people would not be getting infected more than once.

Internment camps? Really? People were told to isolate when infected, not interned like POW camps. Some were required to stay in hotels when they had no capacity or plans to provide for themselves during isolation but that is a far cry from what he implied.

The widespread lies about blood clots, etc. were spread by people like PseudoGreek and have not been substantiated by national review commitees looking at cases. These incidents did happen, but were extremely rare. Much like the incidents where seat belts or air bags cause injury, the protection provided save more lives.

If you wish to understand the algorithms and the ability for a very few to propogate their lies to huge numbers of people, see "A Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen" (

Chief's picture

The internet is not designed to determine right or wrong.
If anything, it is nothing but a wall to post posits.

Also, the past two years have demonstrated, as noted by PseudoGeek, those with power change the rules and game the system.

If you wish to design an algorithm to determine what is true or false (first off, that's a fool's errand) why don't you first determine the implausible, followed by the impossible and the demonstrably false.

Determining truth by using critical mass is nothing but a demonstration in why the Founding Fathers created a Republic, not a democracy.

Focused100's picture

Even the flu went down by many orders of magnitude while mask wearing was a thing.
Masking works.

rhcconsulting_14541's picture

The facts to back up the need for masking are contained in a letter to BC's NDP government posted on this Twitter account:

Protect BC has been 100% accurate in their predictions of upcoming COVID waves.

matt_2058's picture

"The idea is not to give a definitive assessment of whether the claim is true, but rather provide more information to the user to help them make up their own mind."

This statement would require a reader to draw their own conclusion. If a person can't recognize that too many social posts are for attention and shock value, misleading, and out-of-context, I doubt they would question the same post if a extraneous bit of info were added that needed them to create a nexus and apply logic. If they could/would do that, there would be no need for this project.

Using Covid as an example for a sample seems very loose. There's so much contradicting info it's silly. I have trouble believing much of the hype anymore. Seems to me it might as well have been a very bad flu making it's way around.

As for what worked, what didn't, and how we proceed will always be questionable with all the different contradicting studies. Pick your flavor of the week.