Apple Attempts to Right Facebook’s Wrongs

Apple has joined the effort to educate and encourage voters ahead of the most highly-anticipated midterm elections in recent memory.

In a press release posted on Monday, Apple called their new initiative “an easy way to follow the elections, with reporting from trusted sources curated by Apple News editors.”

This endeavor is the latest in a list of many, like Billy Eichner’s Glam Up the Midterms, that seeks to emphasize the importance of the elections and to create proactive voters who won’t forget to go to the polls this year.

Clearly, Apple is trying to circumvent another fiasco like the 2016 election, in which (as we now know all too well) fake news ran amok on various social platforms, namely Facebook. Apple plans to avoid the same widespread circulation of misleading and false information by assembling a news lineup drawn from a diverse group of sources by real live human editors, rather than leaving that job to an even-more-fallible algorithm.

Good on Apple for recognizing and attempting to solve such a monumental problem, but I will say that the list of “trusted sources” may raise a few eyebrows. Included on the list are such controversial media outlets as Fox News and Vox. However, Apple maintains that “curation has been a ‘guiding principle’ across Apple News since launch, with a team of editors focused on discovering and spotlighting well-sourced fact-based stories to provide readers with relevant, reliable news and information from a wide range of publishers.”

The 2018 Midterm Elections section can be accessed through the Apple News app by navigating to the “Top Stories” or “Spotlight” sections or by clicking on the banner at the top of the “For You” tab. An array of special features make this offering unique: On the Ground will take a local look at some of the most high-profile races. The Conversation will provide a variety of perspectives on some, particularly contentious topics. Meanwhile, a weekly piece from Axios will give a rundown of highlights from the news as things heat up, and “Election Now” will review significant figures and projections directly from The Washington Post.

“Today more than ever people want information from reliable sources, especially when it comes to making voting decisions,” wrote Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News. “An election is not just a contest; it should raise conversations and spark national discourse. By presenting quality news from trustworthy sources and curating a diverse range of opinions, Apple News aims to be a responsible steward of those conversations and help readers understand the candidates and the issues.”

It’s an interesting experiment, and it’s certainly better than standing by and letting a barrage of inaccurate information sway voters once again. Of course, tangible results remain to be seen until November.

What are your thoughts? Will you tune in to Apple’s midterm coverage? Do you even still have the News app on your iPhone? Sound off in the comments below.

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