A Dublin start-up company that analyses content in the vast online world of news media, and allows clients to streamline the news that is important to them, has announced a major investment in its operations. The company is called NewsWhip and it has just raised almost $6.5m in funding from a range of investors including the Associated Press.
Andrew Mullaney, the company's chief technology officer, described NewsWhip as a provider of content intelligence to the storytellers. "We monitor how news and content gets engaged with in real time on social media and we provide it to media. It's a technology platform that does the work. There's 1.6 billion social media users each day and they're sharing different content so finding out what's important to them is a huge task."
NewsWhip started out as a consumer focused app but later developed into a client based subscription service. "Initially we thought it would be used for regular news readers but we rapidly realised that journalists wanted more professional news sets so we changed the business model to concentrate on them and providing it as a subscription service," he explained. "It's difficult to make money with advertising online so if you can move to a subscription based business, it's an easier business model," he added.
The tools are also used by a range of corporate clients who may want to follow theme-specific stories that are relevant to the business. Andrew Mullaney said the group would be using the investment to recruit engineers, machine learning experts and product designers.
Asked about the phenomenon of fake news, Andrew Mullaney said it was difficult to root out and identify such stories. "There are some known fake news domains that we provide as warnings to some clients. There's a lot of heavily opinionated news and it's quite hard to distinguish between what's heavily opinionated and what's fake news," he stated.
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