With their News Unfiltered app, Getty Images is doing its part in the all-important battle against fake news.
The idea is simple: Getty will provide users of the app with a feed of raw news photography, free from spin and manipulation. The stream will update constantly, bringing users into direct contact with the work of professional photojournalists the world over.
How fresh are these images? According to Getty, the amount of time that passes from the photo being snapped to when it appears in your feed could be as short as 59 seconds.
With that kind of quick turnaround, this could make News Unfiltered a major source for breaking news stories. And news junkies will know that even Google News often has a lag of several minutes, with news stories frequently breaking on various Twitter feeds and subreddits before they’re available elsewhere.
“Many of my photographs are portraits: focused on the probing eyes of an Afghan village boy, or the playful gaze of rambunctious Iraqi schoolgirls enjoying their precious few years of relative freedom before aging into more restricted adulthoods, or the piercing stare of an American Marine looking back at me through a small mirror on an unadorned wall.” – Chris Hondros | March 2003 | Cizre, Turkey | #GettyImagesNews [3 of 6] _ Today @gettyimages is remembering Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Chris Hondros by featuring his work in his own words.
But the major selling point of News Unfiltered isn’t so much about update speed as it is about immediacy. If all goes according to Getty’s plan, the app will allow users to peer more or less directly through the photographer’s lens, with no headline, no analysis, and very little text at all other than a brief explanatory caption to provide context.
This should be a welcome development in a time when the signal to noise ratio of online news has become much worse than ever before. The glut of skewed news, equivocations, and outright lies that currently rule the day on social media has been doing real harm to public discourse, creating confusion and instability in many of the world’s democracies.
And because many of the countries most affected by fake news also guarantee free expression to some extent, there is very little that governments can do to curb the sudden danger of fake news. Thankfully, the private sector has started taking steps to address the problem.
The Getty Images app is available for your iPhone or Android device. The phone app also incorporates virtual reality technology, which lets you enter an image and view in virtual reality through Cardboard. You can also view the News Unfiltered stream through your web browser here.