US tech billionaire Elon Musk has revealed plans to start a media credibility rating website which would allow members of the public to rate the “core truth” of any news article.
Over time the rating system would track the “credibility score” of every journalist, editor and news publication, and would include means of exposing propaganda “bots”.
Musk, founder of Paypal and chief executive of Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink, made the revelation during a Twitter tirade against the “holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies” last night.
He said the public “no longer respects” the media because they “lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie” and blamed the industry for the continuing pressure on staff in digital newsrooms.
Musk (pictured) tweeted: “Problem is journos are under constant pressure to get max clicks and earn advertising dollars or get fired.”
He added: “Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article and track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor and publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda…”
Pravda means “truth” in Russian.
A company called Pravda Corp was incorporated in California in October last year by Jared Birchall, who has previously been named in paperwork as a director at Musk’s Neuralink and The Boring Company.
Musk continued on Twitter: “Even if some of the public doesn’t care about the credibility score, the journalists, editors and publications will. It is how they define themselves.”
He later added: “Why are certain journalists (editors especially) so concerned about the public rating their credibility? All they do all day is rate others, ostensibly on behalf of the same public for which they have contempt.”
Musk created a Twitter poll asking people to vote for or against his plan. At the time of writing, after 576,414 votes, 88 per cent of respondents said it would be a good idea.
Musk’s comments came after a series of negative headlines relating to Tesla, including “flaws” in the Model 3’s braking system and the departure of its executive Matthew Schwall, who was the company’s main contact with US safety investigators.
He revealed his plans for Pravda as he shared a link to Electrek, a news website about the electric transportation industry, which quoted an analyst saying negative headlines about Tesla had “increased substantially in the past month” and dominated news cycles.
Tesla unsuccessfully sued the BBC for “libel and malicious falsehood” after claiming Top Gear had faked a scene which appeared to show a Tesla Roadster running out of power in a 2008 episode, which it said had caused sales to drop.
Picture: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson