Disinformation — that is, content that intentionally misleads for political or financial gain — is nothing new. But as we’ve seen over the last year in particular, digital platforms have made it significantly easier to spread dangerous conspiracy theories, as patently false claims on topics as wide-ranging as the pandemic, racial protests, California wildfires, and presidential election results have gone viral with surprising speed and reach.
Adding fuel to the fire is the emergence of deepfakes: highly convincing (yet totally fraudulent) audio, photo, and video content, created by AI, with the potential to cost businesses tens of millions of dollars. And that’s not even considering the less-quantifiable but no less significant human impact of tech-enabled disinformation on society at large.
The good news is, while technology has spurred the problem, new technologies — specifically, blockchain — also offer a potential solution to combat the growing threat of digital disinformation. Of course, it would be naive to expect a single, silver bullet solution to solve these complex challenges. But recent developments suggest that a blockchain-based approach could potentially address many of the risks and root causes of digital disinformation.
Blockchain has enormous potential
Blockchain systems use a decentralized, immutable ledger to record information in a way that’s constantly verified and re-verified by every party that uses it, making it nearly impossible to alter information after it’s been created. One of the most well-known applications of blockchain is to manage the transfer of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.