Zen Introduces Fact Checking Program

Given the increased focus and drive to get individuals and businesses creating content on the Zen platform, the Zen team have introduced fact checking measures to ensure the platform doesn’t become a hive of bad information and poor user experiences.

The Zen team are partnering with external bodies.

The first wave of partners are news agencies TASS and Interfax, the online edition of The Bell, and members from the Higher School of Economics, who will be studying and investigating the issue of fake users and bots.

The Fact-Checking Process

The new fact-checking and verification process will take on the below format:

  • Zen will send blogger posts to multiple fact checkers in random order.
  • It takes 4-8 hours to check one material. At this time, the publication disappears from the feed and is available only by link.
  • Partners will check facts, figures and quotes in publications based on open source information.
  • Materials in the genre of news, notes, reviews, analytical articles will be checked.
  • Personal opinions, experiences, satire and other genres not based on facts will not be verified.
  • If the opinions of the partners are divided, and there is no majority, then the publication is not limited. But it will be flagged as possibly containing false information.
  • If the fact checkers unanimously recognized the facts in the publication as consistent with reliable sources of information, the material is returned to the recommendations feed.
  • If all partners agree that the publication is unreliable, then they decide to restrict it. Then Zen stops recommending it or completely removes it, depending on the amount of inaccurate information.
  • The author of the material will be able to challenge the decision by providing documents and links confirming the information in the article.
  • If a blogger regularly publishes fakes, then he violates our rules and user agreement . Zen can impose restrictions on the entire channel: from removing monetization to completely ending cooperation with the platform.

The Problem Fake News Causes

TLDR: Fake news creates a bad user experience, bad user experience is tied to the source, therefore trust in the source is lost.

When trust is lost, users don’t return – which impacts paid ad revenue on the platform.

Similar fact checking measures have been implemented by the likes of Facebook, The Associate Press, and Reuters over the past couple of years, with an emphasis being placed on authentic content and authentic user experiences.

You can read the full press release from the Yandex Zen magazine here.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at HreflangChecker.com and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of RussianSearchNews.com.