The Ground App: AI verified news that gives users access to the real story on the ‘Ground’
Have you ever wondered what news stories are being reported in Africa, Germany, or down the road in your North American city? Do you want to learn about the real, unbiased story from places all around the world?
Ground is a civic journalism platform delivered via an iOS and Android mobile app that allows users to view news from around the world and post their own content from the ‘ground.’ Co-founders Sukh Singh and Harleen Kaur started Ground with one simple question: How do we get information to people as quickly and as easily as possible? The solution is to make citizen journalism a daily habit for people.
Ground received over 10,000 downloads in the first two weeks after being released, and the number of users continues to grow quickly. The app differs from other news sources and outlets available to consumers. News feeds are not set by trends or popular stories, news is presented to the viewer on a map, and results are viewable based on location. The app puts established news sites like, CNN, MSN, and CTV side by side allowing for cohesive news coverage. The user is able to view any category of news, and decide which news outlet they wish to view. This allows stories to be compared from various sources, enabling the viewer to see the real story told by many people.
The team’s first app, uCiC was a big hit, winning the Mobile Apps Showdown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2015. This application allowed for hundreds of thousands of people in 180 countries to speak with one another and share their stories. It introduced the team to giving people instant access to communicating with people around the world from a location based platform.
The “Ground” breaking AI technology takes trending stories from various social media platforms where the AI assigns each news story a score based on how reliable the source is. Through the original post, comments, and comparing similar posts, the reliability score is recorded to determine whether or not the story is true. Ground also sends current news stories trending in the app in the form of a notification to people in the same location to ask them to verify the story.
Sukh explains that one of the major issues currently plaguing society is fake news. Ground was created because governments are struggling to find a means to regulate news and what is being projected as news on social media. The problem being that there is no way to deter people from sharing or creating inaccurate or fake news. With no serious infrastructure to regulate fake news, disinformation will only spread as the world becomes more reliant on social media and technology.
By 2022, people in developed countries could encounter more fake news than real information . The truth is that communication methods have changed in the last few years. How will we fare in a world rife with misinformation, where nobody knows what is true and what is seemingly true, but actually false? Social media makes it easy for disinformation to spread. Anyone with a following can now take a presumed fact, post it onto social media, get hundreds of shares, and then people on a global scale may think that this presumed fact is the real and only story. Ground aims to combat fake news using technology to provide people with instant access to the truth.
“Fake news is a major problem because it threatens the proper functioning of society. In emergency situations we want people to be safe and able to report immediately from the ground the real story.”
– Sukh Singh, Co-founder of Ground
Before releasing the app, the Ground team did some research and determined that news channels were looking for a way to provide people with instant access to news: “We showed our app to CNN and The Weather Channel and they loved it. It was something they had never seen before,” says Sukh.
Ground was released on April 25th and the feedback has been incredible. “People want to see what is happening on the ground, they want to see photos and videos that news networks aren’t able to get a hold of. Audiences want to see current events that matter to their lives,” says Sukh.
“Speaking to people in Velocity helped us develop our app by saving us time and hassle in the beginning. Through reaching out to companies who had been in the Garage before us, we were able to confide in a strong knowledge base. My advice to those currently in the Garage is to speak to people inside Velocity, they are always willing to share helpful advice!”
To get the real story from the ground, download the app. The Conversation, May 3, 2018.