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AI-assisted hyperlocal news service launches in bid to fight ‘fake news’

A hyperlocal news service that uses artificial intelligence has been launched in a bid to combat “fake news and false rumours”.

Just The Facts has been developed by former Daily Mail journalist Mark Allsopp and former News Group Newspapers managing director Mike Anderson.

The service, data journalists take published statistics from UK government departments, local authorities and other organisations to create data-driven news stories.

Users download the Just The Facts app and enter their postcode to view the stories most relevant to their area.

Just The Factds

Said Mark: “The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has changed the public perception of online news forever.

“Fake news and false rumour has undermined the best efforts of the government to disseminate factual information through traditional and digital channels.

“Just The Facts aims to deliver hyperlocal news stories without editorial comment or bias, in a unique and contemporary manner.”

He added: “These hyperlocal stories are generated quickly and accurately, using cutting-edge artificial intelligence tools which disseminate validated statistics into information relevant to you, and where you live.”

The app has been created by a team of around a dozen designers and developers at Shropshire-based Yarrington Limited.

Mike said: “Traditional media such as local newspapers have seen a huge decline with falling revenues; an industry which was already struggling to survive before the pandemic is now facing an uncertain future.

“Exciting new models for the delivery of news have arrived, and making them scaleable will be our next challenge.

“The new editors in chief are the people who manage the context and placement of content into distribution, and can then write the commercial narrative around that content to optimise it.”

He added: “We know that news algorithms are great at stirring emotion, but not so great at sharing facts. The result is often a distorted sense of reality.

“Just the Facts is different. It’s news, but not as you know it – no opinion, no bias, and local to you.”