Google Bulletin puts everyone in charge of local news content. The idea behind it is to enable people to contribute “hyperlocal stories about your community, for your community, right from your phone. Bulletin makes it effortless to put a spotlight on inspiring stories that aren’t being told.”
That could work out well or could be asking for trouble, especially since it’s not that different from the current state of social media. Right now, critics are afraid that Google is not doing enough because Google is highlighting the fact that people do not have to create a blog or website. To publish to Bulletin, all you need is a smartphone and the app, which lets you publish text with tags, images, and video. However, it’s not clear what efforts Google will undertake to make sure content is accurate or if the company will limit the type of content users are able to upload.
Everyone is afraid this could exacerbate the “fake news” problem because Google is not making clear how it will monitor and take down false information. When it comes to the app, there’s also the very real possibility that this isn’t one of Google’s priorities because it appears that Google’s focus is on getting users to cover events that are ignored by newspapers. Some examples of events Google hopes will get covered are “social justice,” “civic meetings,” “high school sports,” and “weather events.”
As with most things on the internet, good ideas can go very wrong quickly, so it makes sense that Google is testing out Bulletin in two smaller markets. However, Google’s community guidelines for Bulletin are fairly standard for social media. Google doesn’t want graphic violence, hateful content, harassment, dangerous activities, or spam to take over Bulletin.
Currently, Google Bulletin is only available in Nashville, Tennessee and Oakland, California. However, journalists can request early access.