The app, called Lens 42, is one of a number of new ventures launched to help halt the spread of false information on social media — a problem that’s particularly pressing now that 30 percent of U.S. adults report consuming news on Facebook. Increasingly,research shows, people are distinguishing less and less between mainstream and alternative sources of news and information.
Many companies, like Storyful, Emergent and Grasswire, attempt to debunk or verify stories after they’ve gone viral using a mixture of Reddit-style up-voting, computer algorithms and old-fashioned journalism. Lens 42, however, appeals to those who are posting the news, be they professional journalists or casual observers, to prevent rumors from spreading in the first place.
Photos taken with the Lens 42 app are automatically watermarked with date, time, and GPS location. The app saves photos anonymously on an electronic map, creating a database of verified pictures that unfolds in real time.