LinkedIn Joins the HoaxBuster Club, Buys Patent for Fact-Checking System

By Matt Novak on at

Now that social media sites have your attention, they’d like to have your trust. Today LinkedIn filed a patent for a fact-checking system, in yet another sign that people are simply fed up with the internet’s lies. And social media platforms are trying to do something about it.

The patent, acquired from an inventor outside of LinkedIn, is described as a fact-checking system that compares information with one or more sources. The user is also able to interact with the information and get more context if they need it. Pretty straightforward stuff.

The twist? It’s not just for verifying information from the consumer’s side — something that Facebook has experimented with by adding “satire” tags to articles from places like The Onion. The patent also seems to cover the accuracy of what the producer is inputting into the system as well. Think of it like an automated spell-checker, but for facts.

About to pass off some stupid lie? (The patent gives the example of a user typing “Texas is the biggest state.”) LinkedIn’s newly acquired truth-monitoring system might one day stop you in your tracks. The system could warn you that Texas isn’t the biggest state, and suggest Alaska. (Again, that’s what the patent says, but how do you define biggest? What if someone’s talking about population?)

Obviously, even if LinkedIn one day implements this system, it won’t be perfect. But it’s good to see that more social media companies are paying attention to ways that they might improve the quality of the content on their sites. Now we just need Twitter to get on board.

[H/T Startup Legal]

Image: 2013 file photo of LinkedIn’s headquarters via AP

This post originally appeared on Factually, a Gizmodo blog for setting the record straight