Global Verification: A Tech Idea That’s Overdue

So, a couple years ago I was frustrated by an article I saw that talked about reviews that had been planted on Rotten Tomatoes about the movie Black Panther. I was annoyed because the reason someone figured out that the reviews were fraudulent was simply because the movie had not premiered, and the studio had not given copies of the film to anyone to actually review it. There was no way for all of these “reviewers” to have seen the movie to make such comments.  Thankfully people at Rotten Tomatoes had realized this and were able to delete all of the bad reviews before the movie came out. https://www.indiewire.com/2018/02/rotten-tomatoes-block-black-panther-fan-score-sabotage-1201924400/

Clearly this was a huge dilemma for the studios because they realized that a predominantly black movie was about to be smeared before it had even premiered.  The racist viewpoints about a black superhero or movie in the Marvel Universe that might potentially break box office standings, could easily be undermined before it had even been shown.  (Bravo Rotten Tomatos!)

Bad reviews do and can potentially determine the outcome of film’s box office potential – this is NOT new news, but the blatant racist leanings of the comments and viewpoints made about this movie that had been unseen, made this event crystal clear: the continued power of bots, the power of unverified reviews and comments continue to be an ever mounting problem on the “interwebs”.  Of course we can reference what’s come out in the Mueller report about the election of 2016 and what may happen again – the point simply is: we have a huge problem with verified information on the internet. 

I was so frustrated by this situation when I read about it AGAIN – that the solution seemed so crystal clear to me that I wrote an email to Mark Cuban. Honestly, I have no real reason why I picked Mark Cuban except that he was on my LinkedIn feed at the time and I followed him and I knew he had a lot of money.  I’d been thinking about this problem for years – back when I started online dating WHEN IT WASN’T COOL to do it (we’re talking 2007!!!!).  I knew THEN that there had to be a better a way to deal with this.  So, yeah, maybe sending a vent email on LinkedIn to Mark Cuban wasn’t the best idea, maybe someone like Elon Musk would have been better, but I wasn’t really thinking it through, I was just annoyed and looking for someone with money to investigate this issue and start working on what I think is still an easy solution to the bigger problem!!!  

Well, let me just say, that the PROBLEM revealed itself again recently while I was on Twitter – and this is why I’m here writing this now.  During the Robert Mueller hearings lots of conversations were going back and forth on social media and again, I kept hearing that the “Russians” are trying to undermine our elections – Robert Mueller said it himself:  They’re doing it right now as we speak. The next part of the conversations always goes something like this: 

“We have to educate people on how to spot fake news”, or “People need to become more educated and be careful…”

It’s such a one-sided solution. 

What’s the “solution” I’m talking about? 

Instead of attempting to ONLY make people better educated on what is and what is NOT a bot or a “fake” website, commentator or ad, why not also make it easier for people to recognize a VERIFIED version of all of those entities online?  In other words, why not make it easier to SPOT an organization or individual online as a LEGIT organization?

Imagine, if you will, a Global Verification on the internet. It’s possible. Some companies already do it – like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  They have those little blue verification markers for Celebrities and such. Here’s an example of a verified account (@violadavis):   Imagine, if – just like passports in the physical world you were able to use your verified handle  wherever you went online and people would KNOW you or your website were verified by a legit entity?  People could then choose to “listen” to your commentary – the little blue legit “signs” or “identifiers” on Twitter and Instagram folk partially does this, but only for “celebrities”. But, imagine if everyone could be legitimized across all platforms, using their handles, across all countries on the internet? 

With the technology behind Block Chain, I know this could be done – and maybe it’s already being worked on – but there has to be a way that an individual, who wants to be taken seriously ONLINE would have a global verified handle account that they could use as they go and communicate on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn on any Website. Also, it would make it easier to spot legit sites and so on.

Imagine all the applications  – people would not confuse websites like www.abcnews.com with www.abcnews1.com  — which is a good example of how people were creating FAKE new sites with similar names and confusing people with actual FAKE news.  But the applications are endless.  Most importantly, even if YOU choose to go to the FAKE site or you visited it accidentally, you would know it hadn’t been VERIFIED.  After that, the choice is yours to accept that information as truth or not.    

Now, I know this is a huge idea.  And this is just the beginning – I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and don’t even get me started on the 2016 election!  To me, this has been foreseeable for a long time and has been in my non-techy head for a while.  It may seem too big of an idea, but so wasn’t going to the moon when no one thought it possible – for me, it’s just always been about interest and yes, about necessity!!!! 

Anyways, I have to believe people smarter than me are working on this somehow – but I’m stunned that simple things like verifying me – a non celeb – on Twitter is still a non-possibility.  Why can’t Twitter find a way to verify committed and decent “regular” users of the service?  They seem to only verify people based on celebrity or size of followers or what they deem impactful situations. This is what leads me to believe that NO ONE is working on a bigger more important solution that would inevitably be how we all identify online. 

This is a HUGE idea. It continues to eat at me and so trust me, in the past couple of years, I’ve tried to get some people interested who I thought might be.  At the very least, they had money to make things happen — and as always, people tend to say they’re “interested” but then really don’t follow up. Totally cool. Asi es la vida. But after sharing my idea with a few “very interested” who would have the means to follow up on it, I realized today why not share it with my cool contacts online who might have some insight and care about this too? Either way, ENOUGH wasting time on the possibility.  It’s an idea. Someone “stealing” an idea is just bad juju on so many levels. But this really isn’t about one person. It’s not about making a profit (though this would clearly be HUGE) – but it is a necessity.  We need to do something to help people recognize legitimate sources of content on the internet.  And maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg? Maybe there’s a better way to go about it – I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I can only imagine that there are others, way smarter than me – who have some thoughts on the subject. Maybe someone knows of something like this and it’s being worked on all along?  If so, please, do tell! I’ve done my research so be ready for a clapback if it’s something I’ve already heard of (hahahahaha! I say that with such love though) but yeah, send it my way. I need to know someone’s working on making the internet a better place to be!    

And another way to think about it is this: if Amazon can deliver packages to people all over the world and not be confused by “authenticating” an entity, then why isn’t this possible?  To me, it seems like such a no-brainer. But you know, I have a million of these ideas that stream through my head — never once have I felt the need to share….

Hit me up if you have any thoughts or questions on this – I’d love to hear more information and more ideas.  Hmmm…imagine an internet where you could land on a website or read a comment and KNOW there was a way to trace back to who said it and why and not worry that it may be a bot or fake information?  Think passports, licenses… validation. Verification. It doesn’t mean you can’t go on “anonymously” if you wanted too – surely, there are people who lie all the time about who they are online and if you wanted to do that, you could.  But, for the times you wanted to be taken seriously – or more importantly, as a consumer – imagine feeling comfortable about going to a site and reading a comment and KNOWING through a simple visual that it was the legitimate source…

Let me stop. I can go on and on forever about this…

Just an idea from a non-techy-but-very-techy-interested-kinda-gurl.

Carmen Lezeth Suarez  

3 thoughts on “Global Verification: A Tech Idea That’s Overdue

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