Meet Civil — The Startup That Wants to Put Journalism on the Blockchain | Freethink

Meet Civil — The Startup That Wants to Put Journalism on the Blockchain | Freethink

– The journalism industry today is on a dangerous path. – There’s only really a handful of ways to pay for the news. Journalism is sometimes referred to as the first draft of history. – This is a sacred
institution that is facing an existential threat like never before. – Papers have been closing
and downsizing for years, and that affects all of us. – The world is changing. Technology introduces new
challenges, new opportunities. – We need a radically new business model or we’re going to see
journalism be eradicated. So, we’re using blockchain and cryptoeconomics to pursue that end. (inspiring music) – I’m Matthew Iles, I’m the
CEO at the Civil Media Company. Our mission is to create a
network committed to the cause of independent, sustainable
journalism around the world. The funding models of
journalism have been eroding around us for the last 20 years or so. The internet kind of wrongly taught us that stuff should be free,
and then you monetize the attention that you’ve accrued to third-party advertisers. – Print advertising, digital
advertising or classified, a lot of those have basically disappeared. And local news organizations are under terrible, terrible duress. – And it’s systematically starved entire swaths of population from having real, critical information about what’s happening around them. – And that’s not conducive
to serving citizens and finding and reporting
on under-reported stories. We need to flip this
incentive model on its head, and that’s what we are
trying to do at Civil. – When I first thought of Civil, I wanted to create a
decentralized marketplace for sustainable journalism, having no idea how to actually build it. And then I discovered blockchain. – The point of Civil is to
take the big media company out of the equation. – We’re trying to effectively
rewrite the technology stack of the entire journalism
industry from the bottom up, in a permanent and publicly-owned manner. I’m passionate about journalism
because of what it means to a free and open and just society, but as an entrepreneur, I’m obsessed with the business model problem. I think it’s one of the most
wicked business model problems that any industry is facing. – Public trust in the media
is at an historic low today. We think there’s an opportunity
to build a new model, quite literally from the ground up, that prioritizes the process that goes into reporting these stories, and that provides a new level
of transparency to readers. Civil provides journalists
with the tools they need to build sustainable businesses. From subscription businesses
to crowdfunding models and beyond, businesses that prioritize the process of quality journalism. And we’re recruiting a community that will govern the platform and ensure that publishers on Civil
are always adhering to the highest journalistic standards. – Civil is built on the
Ethereum Blockchain. This is, as much as
anything, a decentralized, publicly-owned concept, so
we need to get ourselves out of the way as rapidly as possible, and we’re using technology
called Tokens to do that. – The Civil
Token is a consumer token. It is a voting stake on the platform. Token-holders will have a vote
on who can publish on Civil, and will play a pivotal role
in holding them accountable, with economic incentives built
right into the technology. It’s a unique opportunity to
shape the future of journalism, and help preserve it
for generations to come. – We can’t do this without you. We can’t do this without
distributing our tokens to as many mission-aligned
people, journalists, organizations as possible. – The first set of
newsrooms that have signed onto Civil are known as The First Fleet. They have been in the
trenches of journalism. They’ve seen the problems of making good, quality news and journalism
in the 21st century. – Civil is seeking to be a
platform for us, not a publisher. The journalists you see up here today are the owners of the Colorado Sun, and we will be the ones calling the shots. – Civil has deliberately chosen to focus its initial newsrooms
on local, international, investigative and policy journalism. – We have a ton of newsrooms
that we’re launching with, and we’re really excited about. When you encounter a newsroom on Civil, you’ll know that that
newsroom has committed to publish according
to the purpose, values, and working standards of our platform, which is called the Civil Constitution. – The point of the Civil Constitution is to make sure that we all
have a common understanding, so that we can have a
generally agreed-upon framework that any newsroom, any journalist on the platform agrees to abide by. – The Civil Media
Company is not the arbiter of whether or not you’re doing that. The public is. We’re at the very beginning of
what we think is a long road, but it’s one we believe
will inject new life into journalism at a critical time, and ensure it survives and
thrives long into the future. (inspirational string music)


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    I’m interested to see where this will go, but I heard a lot of hype words that allow listeners to fill in their own definitions which concerns me.

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    Amir Mirzaei

    The music and the motivation in these peoples voices are nice in all but that's not what it matters.
    What we want is an unbiased news, stop making shit up like and call it news.
    all these fancy words you used to describe civil means nothing to me and most people, all we want is an unbiased news that allows the reader to form his/her own opinion about the story.

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    Graham Stribling

    Once I heard that people decide that's when I gave up on it. It will be as biased as any other source, so just as untrustworthy. Companies are already biased hushing any other voice of differing opinion while also denying that they do it like Facebook, YouTube, Google

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    Austin Vanderzyden

    I had this idea a year ago, and I'm so glad someone is trying to launch it as an a profitable business!

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    Peshewa diy

    The point system sounds like the same thing the Chinese use to restrict basic freedoms. I wonder if that's where they got that idea, and how many of the think tank that came up with this are commies too? I don't trust this rebadged garbage anymore than I do current media institutions.

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    Nick C

    So, the gimmick is that readers dictate practice and content? That’s a fucking horrible idea, Jesus Christ… the public at large is rarely good at making sound decisions. Democracy has to be tempered by some kind of centralized body, otherwise it teeters on anarchy. The people of Myanmar used their new democratic rights to, among other things, carry out genocide. This is a dangerous idea right here!

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    David Fong

    This sounds exactly like reddit. And what happens on reddit? Circle jerks, bubbles, and essentially cliques form, same as what happened to the big news companies. It’s human nature. Groups will work to bury the news of other groups be that through acquiring more tokens or spamming or one side eventually pushing the other out via a waiting game. The first part is finding enough people to participate, because those who know what block chain is and are more tech savvy will be the ones who participate, and they tend to lean liberal, just saying. People will vote on what fits their personal agenda and beliefs. Also, not everyone has time in their day to relentlessly vote on posts and you’ll find that the ones most dedicated (who aren’t paid by a third party company seeking to control it) are the ones who most believe in their cause which tend to be the most radical. It’s a great concept in theory, but there were a lot of buzzwords with no simple explanations or preemptive solutions to the problems that’ll eventually occur.

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    Krishnakant Bais

    In this video there was a global map showing what I understand to be Civil's operations or its spread of network. Here one thing bothers me is that China being heavily restrictive of open journalism is being heavily emphasised whereas India being world's largest democracy has been completely neglected. I really don't understand this anamoly. I hope even the Indian society benefits from this revolutionary journalism!!!

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    How have they managed to turn block chains into some weird authoritarian system. This sounds like normal media with extra steps, and this is borderline close to censorship. Selective journalism isn’t free and decentralized at all. I’m baffled that this company has the audacity to claim its decentralized but has a constitution. Instead of creating a free space for journalism they would just own a monopoly on media, and what can and cannot be said. These people have to have an extremely warped sense of reality. It is literally impossible to be decentralized and have moderators, it just is. Also, you simply cannot claim you’re decentralized, but have a constitution, that’s just called liberalism.

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    I hope freethink considering joining this system. So they can make more money for their high quality content

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    Fel Music Entertainment

    "The internet wrongly taught us that things should be free"


    "I think people should pay me for my opinion because the huge sums of money from advertisers isn't enough to sate my greed, and I feel entitled for sharing my thoughts."

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    Nice if initial sentiment, poorly thought out and executed solution.
    We already have problems with the associated press basically being a echo chamber of events… With the far left/far right taking those echoes to craft their own narrative, then echoing that new narrative back to the associated press until the winner is the publicly accepted narrative instead of the truth.

    Some of the many Narratives are readily being assumed to be true nowadays…
    Things like…
    … homosexuality is a legitimate genetically caused effect, that puts homosexuals on par with the MLK Jr. Race issue.
    … permanent tax breaks equaling permanent increases in general wealth, and is therefore a unequivocally good thing too do.
    … to be Christian, means that you automactically hate/discriminate against X(gays, TG's, Jew's, etc…) and consider being thus, to mean automatic damnation regardless.
    … abortion has No long/short term medical side effects. Or that it is basically the same thing as being celibate only without having to not have sex.
    … only women and children can be raped, or that only those rapes matter.
    … Trump's America works… Like anywhere near what he says it is working.
    … Citizens United is constitutional.
    …race discrimination can not happen to whites to even a tenth of the degree that it happens to X.
    … LGBTQ communities all have non-conflicting claims about their particular issues, that actually support the claims/causes of the other communities.
    … that every citizen, deserves any gun that they can legally get their hands on.
    … Atheism is non-religious philosophy, and all religion is Christian/wrong.
    Only some of the narratives that are publicly traded as truth.
    And I'm sure that there are some narratives that I'm still thinking are true, but aren't.

    I'm hoping that I haven't offended to many people. But the truth is often different from the media's narratives.

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    Cesar Martinez

    Interesting idea on how to solve the pressing issue of trustworthy media. How will you make sure that the tokens aren't bought and controlled by a handful? And how to make sure that this handful doesn't shift opinion in the platform in favor of their interests?

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    This sounds like a terrible idea. It's basically regular social media but instead other users can ban your content in addition to the platform.

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    Oakspar Oakspar

    (1) Your first layer of bias comes from which media outlets Civil allows into their registry.

    (2) Your second layer of bias is direct censorship of wrongthink through passages in their Constitutions like "No person or group will be allowed to use the Civil protocol to incite the infliction of harm upon any other person or groups on the basis of their religion, race, gender or gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or disability status."

    We already know that such codes are selectively enforced by media platforms to ignore harm upon race, gender, and religion if they are white, male, or Christian.

    They will be enforced to protect non-whites (even in contexts like South Africa, where they are not a minority), feminist (under the guise of protecting women), Islam (no matter the terrorism, mass rape, or pedophilia), or against any advocate for heteronormative sexuality (in lines with basic human biological science).

    (3) Your third layer of bias comes from the public. The public will not act to remove bias, but confirm their own bias. Thus, the bias of the userbase will be enforced upon the outlets, and since the outlets chosen will already strongly lean Left, the audience will, creating a reinforcing loop that will push it ever Leftwards.

    Moreover, anyone advocating for an issue can game the system with farming.

    Mom's Demand Action, for example, can spend some money with "Correct the Record" which does such farming of comment sections for Leftist organizations and causes, and get their gun control articles highly rated and promoted.

    (4) So, despite the claims, this is a mechanism for monetizing dying tentacles of Leftwing media through online consolidation.

    It will not give you better news, more honest news, or more politically balanced news.

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    Epic use of esoteric buzz words that your average joe doesn't understand.

    Would you mind explaining how implementing a block chain prevents fake news from publishing lies in order to click bait people?

    I don't want to jump to conclusions but this commercial wreaks of BS

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    Минёры Антон и Алекс

    Good idea. This idea was also implemented in project but in little bit different way, but still it can also be handy (they have a distributed DNS which helps to avoid censorship). I think in future we'll see a combination of this 2 technologies.

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    Joonas Helander

    Nice video. Got nothing out of this. You are a startup by the sound of it. Still dont understand how the thing functions, how I can take part and most crucial of all what is in it for me?

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    Gustavo Leig

    Idea is good but the Civil model needs clarification. What I think we need in journalism today is journalists that have intrinsic motivation on what they do, not driven by external incentives like "likes", "shares", etc. How can a model driven by votes can determine what is a good or bad journalism case? We´ve seen that on social media, people can organize themselves to put down a profile or a page, this happens in Facebook and Twitter. How can Civil prevent this from happen?

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    Matt Bryant

    As is mentioned in the infomercial, the big problem with news is that it is monetized. But this is just a new way of monetizing the news. New tech, decentralized, but still monetized. Until we can de-couple news and governance from money, they will both continue to be biased and whoever or whatever gets the most coin backing will get the most airtime.

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    Jeremy Lavine

    From the whitepaper: Gawker Media is one of the few "well-respected publications" granted initial tokens allowing it to vote on whether other publications will be allowed on the platform. Does this not say it all? This whole enterprise is a joke. There are already plenty of media micro-payment platforms much further along in development, both as cryptocurrency (e.g. Brave browser's Basic Attention Token and Steemit's platform and token) and through the traditional financial system (e.g. Blendle and Patreon). The other component of this Civil Media proposal – a system of voting by arbitrarily-selected authorities determining who gets banned from the platform – is a terrible idea. It's actually promoting old-fashioned oligopoly and collusion, with a high-tech veneer.

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    Dub D

    hmm, "civil constitution" huh, wow… kinda sounds like more media telling the audience that they are in fact correct, and backed by the people's "civil constitution", to be confused with the other constitution for legitness.

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    It's a scam on so many levels. Level one – ponzi scheme (crypto) financing. The fake democratic control – CIVIL council is the defendant and the judge, so good luck appealing. Also – reddit already does CIVIL better, easier and faster. Why bother with another VICE-like bullshit, except it can ruin your economy if you invest? Plus. They advertise it on Facebook – which is banned, FB revised policy band advertising IPO's. Journalists – go to hell.

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    Rubens L

    Still don't understand what it does… Just got drowned with buzzwords and the cliché inspiring piano backtrack.

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