A month ago, our Newsvoice app was removed from Google Play Store, without warning, for our extensive Covid-19 coverage, which aggregated real-time statistics from very reputable sources such as ECDC. It took us almost a week to get through the opaque process of getting the app back up on the store, with the Covid-19 coverage removed. The official reason for removal was “profiting from disaster”.

Now, a month later, Google News has added the exact same features to their website. So how is it profiting from disaster when a small upcoming startup is doing it, but not when Google themselves do it?

I’m Malin Cumzelius, COO of Newsvoice. Prior to Newsvoice.com, I've spent my time building two of the most loved brands out of the Nordics - Spotify and the lifestyle brand ARKET for the H&M Group.

Ask me anything!

Proof is here. Check out our Newsvoice app here, it’s a really cool crowdsourced news app with the aim to challenge mainstream media, and to take the bias out of the news.

Comments: 582 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

grundelgrump1078 karma

Do you think giving frequent users upvotes more weight can lead to even more bias? Why add an upvote system at all in the comment section?

malincumzelius374 karma

The upvoting system isn't set in stone. We are always looking for better ways to do things! Please share if you have thoughts on how you would like our system to function. However, the weight of the votes isn't just decided by how frequent users are, but if they have done quality checked contributions to the app, such as written approved summaries for news stories.

dggenuine430 karma

How does NewsVoice remove bias from the news? In my experience with the app, it’s as biased as the users. So when the users choose to focus on something that is biased, then NewsVoice content is also biased. And yes while different users with different opinions can create competing content, NewsVoice doesn’t offer any special features to help evaluate the positions against each other. One cluster of stories claims one thing, and cluster claims something else, and the comments under each are mostly just insult-fests against anyone who disagrees.

malincumzelius85 karma

Each new source is presented with multiple sources. Every source is labeled with their biases. Mainstream media is biased and owned by only a handful of corporations. Often they have an agenda of their own and fail to provide unbiased information. Providing multiple links to each source helps reducing dependence on any one outlets. Often the biases are visible in the headlines. When a user sees a story, it is also accompanied by a summary that highlights only facts. So what NV is doing if offering a user multiple sources to a story and letting them decide. Rather than pushing any one narrative on them.

dggenuine46 karma

Who determines the bias labels of the sources? I don’t think it’s the users...so aren’t those bias labels subject to bias by NV’s creators? I think the labels are like “Right”, “Left”, and “Europe”? (What is “Europe” bias, anyways?) And what if a source that normally might be considered “Left” contains an article that has “Right”-leaning bias? NV’s current system is opaque and overly-simplistic, in my opinion.

The summaries are okay, but I have seen situations where the summaries are part of an edit-war where each user tries to insert their own bias. Even when based upon the facts, by highlighting some facts over others, the summaries contain bias. And when these edit wars occur, it can only be resolved by secret moderator discussion that regular users know nothing about.

malincumzelius3 karma

Thanks for all the feedback. We are working on making the editing of the stories more transparent. Primarily by providing a clear trace of how a story has changed over time. For the labels, we are using an aggregate of research to set the labels. It's not a perfect system and if you find an error, please get in touch and we will do what we can to look into it and fix it!

ExoticsForYou6 karma

How rough was middle school with a last name like that?

malincumzelius10 karma

Depends on how you pronounce it ;)

puzzlingnerd576 karma

How did you come up with the idea for the app? Not many others call out bias as readily as you do.

malincumzelius4 karma

Newsvoice was launched by Viktor Lidholt. Viktor is a former Google developer that left his job in Silicon Valley to focus on a mission to fix the news. To put things in perspective, in the US, 41% of the population does not trust the mainstream media. Newsvoice is aiming to rebuild that trust and create a new and innovative way to read the news. Whatever happens in the world, whatever trend, war, or crisis - we need to tell that story.

GimmeDatDaddyButter6 karma

Only 41%? Should be much higher.

malincumzelius3 karma

We think so too :) Information is key in a democracy.

USpoliticaljunkie5 karma

Will Newsvoice seek to challenge Google's anti-competitive practices in court?

malincumzelius-1 karma

Will Newsvoice seek to challenge Google's anti-competitive practices in court?

We're working super hard to create the best news app out there so we'll keep focusing on that... I guess we're doing something pretty good if Google wanna copy us ;)

Djaja1 karma

How long has this app or concept been in development?

malincumzelius1 karma

The beta version was launched in late 2017.

sunangel5204 karma

If Google were to ask for a removal of an article, would you remove it and if so is there a news voice website where its archived? Also a fun question, what is the age groups of the app users?

malincumzelius2 karma

Since we aggregate other news sites, we don't really work like that. Our users are mainly millennials in the US :)

AggravatingYogurt02 karma

Do you plan to expand to outside of the US? I stopped using it because all news were very US-centric and sources were labeled as "right" (implying "US right wing), "left" (implying "US left wing"), "Europe", "Russia".

I'm not sure what the "Europe" / "Russia" labels are for, but I'm guessing those would be better because they offer an external point of view.

malincumzelius2 karma

At the moment the US is our main focus, but stay tuned for updates!

Jolress2 karma

Perhaps newsvoice could become an extension for browsers and point out the alignment of articles produced by major news outlets to improve usage and exposure?

malincumzelius2 karma

Perhaps newsvoice could become an extension for browsers and point out the alignment of articles produced by major news outlets to improve usage and exposure?

All ideas and thoughts around what we can do next are welcomed.

loics22 karma

I have nothing interesting to ask you, but did you know that your first name means smart in French?

malincumzelius4 karma

Thanks anyway - and yes I know about that :)

goast-face2 karma

Seeing how Google has tried to sensor you already, will you consider putting Newsvoice app on F-Droid to make available for non Google users?

malincumzelius3 karma

Newsvoice isn't yet open source (which is required by F-Droid), but we hope to get it there in the future! We do need some more resources to make the code accessible to all, but it's one of our goals.

mkkool1 karma

Where can i see the vacancies?

malincumzelius4 karma

We're always looking for brilliant people - feel free to send your application to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

TA062120201 karma

At this time is Newsvoice planning on suing google or potentially taking legal action later on?

malincumzelius4 karma

At this point we're focusing super hard to just create the best news experience out there :)

gungooroo0 karma

Do you all intend to ever censor comments on news articles? I've been pleasantly surprised to be able to hear multiple views of subjects, regardless if I agree or disagree

malincumzelius8 karma

For legal reasons, there are comments that we sometimes need to remove. This can be things like incitement to violence. We also hide comments to comply with the rules of App Store and Google Play or for personal attacks on other readers of Newsvoice, these comments can always be accessed through our website. This makes it possible to review the work of moderators and to see why things were hidden.

ActualChip5-5 karma

Wheres the beef?

malincumzelius5 karma

We're a small startup working super hard to fix what we believe is broken - the news. So we'll keep focusing on creating the best news experience for as many people as possible instead.