BENGALURU: Fake news and the shortening attention spans of readers is hurting traditional news organisations in an age of online news. A news app developed by a city-based startup could tackle these two issues.
According to Gokul Nath Sridhar, Founder and CEO of Tenreads, “We found that people don’t read the news regularly because of three reasons: People don’t have the time or patience to read long articles. They don’t understand the background or context of pretty much every story they read and they have too many sources of information and are wary of bias in the media.”
A 360 degree view
How does Tenreads try and solve these problems? With the help of two main features in the app — a chronological timeline of events for stories and links to related stories on the issue. “This is done to avoid bias and for broader understanding of the issue,” he says. A reader decides if one wants to read just a snippet of a particular news story (which the app provides in the beginning) or dig deeper through the two aforementioned features.
Fake News Wall
The app relies on what they call the ‘Ideal Reading Experience’ for which the app sifts through and takes stories from 150 national and international news publications.
“Many a time we have noticed that people are stuck in their ‘filter bubbles’ and see content that he or she would like to see and not what he should see,” he says. Gokul further says that weeding out fake news and clickbaits is taken very seriously. “We float a news story to the top of a user’s feed only if multiple publishers are writing about it. We rank down stories even from tier-1 publishers if they’re the only ones writing about it. This peer-check style system that our algorithms executes has helped us keep Tenreads fake-news-free,” he says
Beat Competition With AI
On similar competitors such as Inshorts and other news apps, Gokul says that summaries like the one provided by the likes of Inshorts is a format of news consumption that is here to stay. “However, a summary doesn’t always quite cut it. There are cases where you want to read in-depth coverage and not just one article,” he says.
While many news apps rely on human editors and curators, Tenreads uses Machine Learning. “In blind tests with users, they have not been able to tell the difference between a human generated summary and a machine generated one 8 out of 10 times. Whatever other apps are doing with dozens of writers and editors, we are doing as four engineers. That’s massive innovation leverage,” he says.