The Truth Series: Flipboard’s Commitment To Brand Safety

Danika Azzarelli / April 17, 2017

Since day one, we’ve set out to create an environment where great stories can thrive and influence people to think in new ways; a place where people can confidently dive deep into their passions knowing that the curated stories and products they are engaging with come from the world’s most trusted sources.

We take the idea of truth very seriously here at Flipboard, and we’ve recently opened up about what that means for us — and how we act on it—via a three-part series on Medium, also summarized below.

On Identifying Fake News to Fight It

We believe that we have a duty to our readers to help separate the good stuff from the bad — and not only separate it, but promote the former and squelch the latter.

We identify fake news as any content, regardless of its substance, political stance, or source, from any publisher, that appears to intentionally deceive its readers with information it purports to be true. As such, it is fundamentally at odds with Flipboard’s mission: “Great stories move the world forward.”

Keeping Flipboard’s sources of stories “pure” is of paramount importance to us. If we determine a site is propagating fake news, we put it on a list of suspect domains and will not promote or surface stories from this site. We also give our community tools to report suspect stories within the app as objectionable, and then we’ll take a look. Get an in-depth look at how we define and spot fake news from our Editorial Director Josh Quittner.

Curation-Powered People + Technology

Our founder and CEO Mike McCue often says: “There is no algorithm for true, or false, or insightful, or cool, or meaningful. People drive those decisions.”

This belief means that Flipboard’s editorial team carefully curates top stories in categories such as news, technology, business, sports, and politics. These stories are weighed for their facts, balance, timeliness, sourcing, trustworthiness, depth and original reporting. Our curators read through hundreds of stories from our partners each day, at a constant pace, to ensure our community gets the best quality content in a progression, beginning with the most important.

For brands concerned about brand safety, this means you’re safer with us. We always promote our brand partners in a well-lit environment next to relevant, quality journalism from the world’s best sources. Flipboard’s News Editor Gabriella Schwarz expands on the steps we take to fight fake news and how our news philosophy supports the truth.

Machine Learning to Create Quality at Scale

High-quality, truthful, diverse and informative content is Flipboard’s #1 priority. Hand-picking trusted sources guarantees quality, but is very time consuming, and can potentially miss out on the multitude of excellent but smaller publishers.

To address this problem, we’ve developed a machine learning system called the Domain Ranker, a key technology we use to distinguish authoritative domains from plagiarists, spammers and other low quality sources. We wanted to lift the veil on the deep and serious thinking that we have always prioritized to ensure the highest standards of quality, diversity and truth on Flipboard. While it may be a technical read for a mainstream audience, hear from Flipboard’s Senior Data Engineer Mike Vlad Cora about how we use Domain Ranker to detect trustworthy domains.

~Danika Azzarelli is reading Robotica