These students solved Facebook’s fake news problem in just 3 hours


The team build a Chrome extension which will help categorize Facebook news as “verified” or “non-verified”

New Delhi-Nov 20, 2016. Rednewswire/-

Facebook has been facing the turmoil of fake news since the US presidential elections. Misleading and dishonest news related to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was largely dissemination all over the social media website. Recently, Facebook has been receiving criticism regarding playing a major role in the delivery of fake news.

This problem was noticed by Nabanita De, 2nd year master’s student at the University of Massachusetts, when one day she scrolled through her Facebook account and saw a large amount of fake news about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. She was perplexed after seeing this. De recently attended a hackathon at the Princeton University where the participants had to develop a tech project in 36 hours. She suggested the other three members of her team to design an algorithm which can filter fake news from Facebook.

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The other three team members were Anant Goel from Purdue University and Mark Craft and Qinglin Chen, sophomores from the University of Illinois. This amazing team successfully completed their task and developed a Chrome browser extension. This extension lets users know which news is fake or true by tagging links to their Facebook feed as verified and not verified. This is predicted by taking into account various factors like credibility of the source and cross checking the news with other news articles.

A small blue box is displayed on the topmost corner of the screen which either says, “verified” or “non-verified”. Whenever a news appears to be untrue, a plug-in will take the user to other credible sources online where they can know in detail about the news. The team has named this development “FiB“.

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The students have released it simply as an open source project allowing anyone with similar experience to take this project further and make improvements. FiB is available for download but its huge demand could not be managed by the team’s limited operation.

According to Anant Goel, connecting with a third party developer like FiB will help Facebook to have control over their news feed but at the same time its verification will be handled by the former. This will prevent the company from harsh allegations. The hackathon was organised by Facebook and other big tech firms but FiB has not yet received response Facebook or Google.

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