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Al-saqaf, W. (2019). A blockchain-based fact-checking registry: Enhancing trust in the fact-checkers. In: : . Paper presented at Conference for Truth and Trust Online, London, October 4-5, 2019..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A blockchain-based fact-checking registry: Enhancing trust in the fact-checkers
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper introduces a project to build a blockchain-based registry for fact checks. It describes why the project was initiated and briefly argues for the use of blockchain to store fact checks compared to traditional storage methods. The project uses the Fact Check Assistant web application that was developed to streamline fact checking processes for individual fact checkers whether they work independently or as part of an institution or project.

The paper is a mere introduction with in-depth research expected to follow so as to assess the project and identify what worked and what didn’t after the implementation of the project.

The project is essentially an experiment to see if blockchain technology can help make fact checking processes more reliable and effective.

Keywords
Blockchain, fact-checking, journalism
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38967 (URN)
Conference
Conference for Truth and Trust Online, London, October 4-5, 2019.
Projects
Ursprungsmärkt journalistik
Funder
Vinnova, 2019-02826
Available from: 2019-09-11 Created: 2019-09-11 Last updated: 2019-11-04Bibliographically approved
Al-saqaf, W. & Picha Edwardsson, M. (2019). Could blockchain save journalism? : An explorative study of blockchain’s potential to make journalism a more sustainable business (1ed.). In: Massimo Ragnedda & Giuseppe Destefanis (Ed.), Blockchain and Web 3.0: Social, Economic, and Technological Challenges (pp. 97-113). London: Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Could blockchain save journalism? : An explorative study of blockchain’s potential to make journalism a more sustainable business
2019 (English)In: Blockchain and Web 3.0: Social, Economic, and Technological Challenges / [ed] Massimo Ragnedda & Giuseppe Destefanis, London: Routledge, 2019, 1, p. 97-113Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Ever since the Bitcoin phenomenon gained momentum in recent years, much has been written about blockchain applications and prospects in the FinTech industry, business and healthcare. Yet, very little if any scholarly work has been done to study how the peer-to-peer, decentralized and highly disruptive blockchain technology may impact or be used by news media and journalists. This article is an effort to contribute to the body of scholarship on journalism as well as distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) by exploring blockchain’s potential applications and challenges when dealing with journalism's most fundamental pillars such as fact checking, data gathering and analysis.

The study explores two case studies demonstrating distinct uses of permissionless blockchains. The first revolves around blockchains as a source of information that could be used by data journalists to extract valuable insights regarding payment transactions and network formation as illustrated by the investigative reporting done on the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack.

The second case study is around the use of the technology as a basis for revolutionizing journalism as an industry by leveraging the technology’s core characteristics, namely decentralisation, immutability and transparency. The latter case study will look into two ongoing journalistic projects namely the Distributed News Network and Civil, which promise allowing the creation and management of content without centralized control or even a centralized newsroom in ways that could effectively limit the spread of fake news and propaganda.

The paper analyses the objectives, methods and limitations of the case studies and uses interviews and content analysis of empirical data obtained from primary sources. By reflecting on Rogers’ theory of the diffusion of innovation, the study assesses the impact of blockchains in comparison to other earlier technologies such as the diffusion of the Internet.

It is hoped that the conclusions drawn from this study could help inform journalists and media about the potential uses and limitations of blockchain technology in journalism as well as initiate a scholarly curiosity with a futuristic outlook to understanding the role of cutting edge and disruptive technologies on society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2019 Edition: 1
Series
Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society ; 41
Keywords
blockchain, journalism, disinformation, Ethereum, media, bitcoin, data journalism, fake news, distributed ledger technologies
National Category
Media Studies
Research subject
Other research area
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38804 (URN)10.4324/9780429029530-7 (DOI)2-s2.0-85073849250 (Scopus ID)9780367139841 (ISBN)9780429029530 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-08-29 Created: 2019-08-29 Last updated: 2019-11-04Bibliographically approved
Sorensen, L., Ford, H., Al-saqaf, W. & Bosch, T. (2019). Dialogue of the Deaf: Listening on Twitter and Democratic Responsiveness during the 2015 South African State of the Nation Address. In: Katrin Voltmer, Christian Christensen, Nicole Stremlau, Irene Neverla, Barbara Thomass, Nebojša Vladisavljević, Herman Wasserman (Ed.), Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change: Case Studies on Contested Transitions (pp. 229-254). Cham: Springer Publishing Company
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dialogue of the Deaf: Listening on Twitter and Democratic Responsiveness during the 2015 South African State of the Nation Address
2019 (English)In: Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change: Case Studies on Contested Transitions / [ed] Katrin Voltmer, Christian Christensen, Nicole Stremlau, Irene Neverla, Barbara Thomass, Nebojša Vladisavljević, Herman Wasserman, Cham: Springer Publishing Company, 2019, p. 229-254Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter investigates the use of social media as a channel of communication between citizens and government. It draws on the concept of ‘listening’ in democratic communication (Couldry, N., Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2010; Dobson, A., Listening for Democracy: Recognition, Representation, Reconciliation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). In the run-up to the 2015 State of the Nation Address, the South African presidency conducted a listening exercise on Twitter, which failed on all counts. Combining quantitative and qualitative analyses of Twitter conversations, the chapter evaluates the quality of listening and identifies the reasons for the collapse of the conversation. The findings suggest that while poorly performed listening campaigns can result in spiralling frustration among citizens, social media platforms like Twitter can also provide opportunities for governments to listen in a manner that serves a more positive relationship with citizens.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cham: Springer Publishing Company, 2019
Keywords
South Africa, Elections, Twitter, Social Media, Democracy
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38972 (URN)10.1007/978-3-030-16748-6_10 (DOI)978-3-030-16747-9 (ISBN)978-3-030-16748-6 (ISBN)
Projects
MeCODEM
Available from: 2019-09-11 Created: 2019-09-11 Last updated: 2019-09-12Bibliographically approved
Al-saqaf, W. & Berglez, P. (2019). How Do Social Media Users Link Different Types of Extreme Events to Climate Change?: A Study of Twitter During 2008–2017. Journal of Extreme Events, 06(02), Article ID 1950002.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How Do Social Media Users Link Different Types of Extreme Events to Climate Change?: A Study of Twitter During 2008–2017
2019 (English)In: Journal of Extreme Events, ISSN 2345-7376, Vol. 06, no 02, article id 1950002Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines how three types of extreme events (heat waves, droughts, floods) are mentioned together with climate change on social media. English-language Twitter use during 2008–2017 is analyzed, based on 1,127,996 tweets (including retweets). Frequencies and spikes of activity are compared and theoretically interpreted as reflecting complex relations between the extreme event factor (the occurrence of an extreme event); the media ecology factor (climate-change oriented statements/actions in the overall media landscape) and the digital action factor (activities on Twitter). Flooding was found to be by far the most tweeted of the three in connection to climate change, followed by droughts and heat waves. It also led when comparing spikes of activity. The dominance of floods is highly prevalent from 2014 onwards, triggered by flooding events (extreme event factor), the climate science controversy in US politics (media ecology factor) and the viral power of celebrities’ tweets (digital action factor).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Singapore: , 2019
Keywords
Extreme events, climate change, heat waves, droughts, floods, Twitter, social media
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-39183 (URN)10.1142/S2345737619500027 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-10-16 Created: 2019-10-16 Last updated: 2019-10-16Bibliographically approved
Al-saqaf, W. & Christian, C. (2019). Tweeting in Precarious Times: Comparing Twitter Use During the 2013 General Election in Kenya and the 2012 Presidential Election in Egypt. In: Katrin Voltmer, Christian Christensen, Nicole Stremlau, Irene Neverla, Barbara Thomass, Nebojša Vladisavljević, Herman Wasserman (Ed.), Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change: Case Studies on Contested Transitions (pp. 133-157). Cham: Springer Publishing Company
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tweeting in Precarious Times: Comparing Twitter Use During the 2013 General Election in Kenya and the 2012 Presidential Election in Egypt
2019 (English)In: Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change: Case Studies on Contested Transitions / [ed] Katrin Voltmer, Christian Christensen, Nicole Stremlau, Irene Neverla, Barbara Thomass, Nebojša Vladisavljević, Herman Wasserman, Cham: Springer Publishing Company, 2019, p. 133-157Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Despite the emergence of several studies on Twitter's network effect during election processes, very few took a comparative approach to examine the social media platform's use in emerging democracies with high levels of political parallelism. This study helps bridge this gap through a thorough Twitter network analysis regarding two different presidential elections: the 2012 presidential election in Egypt and the 2013 Kenyan presidential election. While the two case studies had intense activity levels, there were clear distinctions. In Egypt, the pan-Arab mainstream media helped drive much of the interaction affirming their dominant traditional gatekeeper role. Kenya's case however showed greater levels of citizenry participation, stronger networks, and less reliance on mainstream media, which show signs of 'disintermediation'.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cham: Springer Publishing Company, 2019
Keywords
Twitter, Kenya, Social Media, Democratisation, Conflict, Media, Transition
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38969 (URN)10.1007/978-3-030-16748-6 (DOI)978-3-030-16747-9 (ISBN)978-3-030-16748-6 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-09-11 Created: 2019-09-11 Last updated: 2019-09-11Bibliographically approved
Al-saqaf, W. & Seidler, N. (2017). Blockchain technology for social impact: opportunities and challenges ahead. Journal of Cyber Policy, 2(3), 338-354
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Blockchain technology for social impact: opportunities and challenges ahead
2017 (English)In: Journal of Cyber Policy, ISSN 2373-8871, Vol. 2, no 3, p. 338-354Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While much has already been written about blockchain applications and prospects in the FinTech industry, little research has been done to explore blockchain technology’s user-centric paradigm in enabling various applications beyond banking. This article is an effort to contribute to that body of scholarship by exploring blockchain technology’s potential applications, and their limits, in areas that intersect with social impact, including human rights. This article explores whether blockchain technology and its core operational principles – such as decentralisation, transparency, equality and accountability – could play a role in limiting undue online surveillance, censorship and human rights abuses that are facilitated by the increasing reliance on a few entities that control access to information online. By doing so, this article aims at initiating a scholarly curiosity to understand what is possible and what is to be concerned about when it comes to the potential impact of blockchain technology on society.

Keywords
Internet, decentralisation, centralisation, blockchain, rights
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Other research area
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-34534 (URN)10.1080/23738871.2017.1400084 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-02-04 Created: 2018-02-04 Last updated: 2018-02-06Bibliographically approved
Al-saqaf, W. (2016). Internet Censorship Circumvention Tools: Escaping the Control of the Syrian Regime. Media and Communication, 4(1), 39-50
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Internet Censorship Circumvention Tools: Escaping the Control of the Syrian Regime
2016 (English)In: Media and Communication, ISSN 2083-5701, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 4, no 1, p. 39-50Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies have shown that authoritarian regimes tend to censor the media to limit potential threats to the status quo. While such censorship practices were traditionally aimed at broadcast and print media, the emergence of the Internet and social media in particular, prompted some authoritarian regimes, such as the Assad regime in Syria, to try and exert a similar level of censorship on the Internet as well. During the Arab Spring, the Syrian regime blocked hundreds of websites that provided social networking, news, and other services. Taking Syria as a case study, this paper examines whether Internet censorship succeeded in preventing Internet users from reaching censored online content during 2010−2012. By analyzing the use of Alkasir, a censorship circumvention tool created by the author, the paper provides empirical evidence demonstrating that users were in fact able to bypass censorship and access blocked websites. The findings demonstrate that censorship circumvention tools constituted a threat to the information control systems of authoritarian regimes, highlighting the potential of such tools to promote online freedom of expression in countries where Internet censorship is prevalent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cogitatio Press, 2016
Keywords
Alkasir; Arab Spring; conflict; democracy; freedom of expression; Internet censorship circumvention; Syria
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-34535 (URN)10.17645/mac.v4i1.357 (DOI)000408561300005 ()2-s2.0-85010669779 (Scopus ID)
Note

This article was written with funding from Örebro University’s Department of Media Studies.

Available from: 2018-02-04 Created: 2018-02-04 Last updated: 2018-11-15Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-1993-5696

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