Students Code An Open Source Fix For Facebook’s Fake News Problem At A Hackathon


Short Bytes: A group of college students have developed a Chrome extension, FiB: Stop Living A Lie, to detect fake news stories on Facebook. They have open sourced the code of this tool to let other developers tweak with extension. It was developed during a hackathon at Princeton University.

Facebook’s fake news problem has existed since its advent, but the latest US elections have forced the people to take this problem seriously. Following the elections, many researchers and news stories have emerged that claim that Facebook users interacted with fake stories far more as compared to the reliable news.

Whatever might be the case, there’s no denying the fact that Facebook serves as a major news provider in many people’s lives. The fact that Facebook refuses to accept its responsibility as a news media makes it worse. The company even fired its Trending Topics team and replaced it with clueless algorithms. To deal with issue, a group of students has crafted a solution.

During a hackathon at Princeton University, four college students coded a new Chrome web browser extension in a time period of 36 hours–and aptly named it FiB: Stop Living a lie.

The extension is called FiB: Stop Living a lie.

These students are Nabanita De from the University of Massachusetts; Anant Goel, a freshman at Purdue University; Mark Craft from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Catherine Craft, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Here’s how FiB: Stop Living A Lie works:

This Chrome extension classifies every post as “verified” or “not verified”. It’s able to scan various content like Twitter snapshots, adult content, fake links, fake news, malware links etc.

For Twitter snapshots, FiB converts images to text and uses the usernames in the tweet to scan the authenticity of the same. For links, it queries them against malware and phishing websites databases, searches it on Google/Bing, and uses other sources to check the reliability.

The plugin adds a small badge in the corner of the story that tells whether the news is verified.

These students have also released this extension as an open source project. As a result, the interested developers can download the code, tweak it, and see how things work.

Other users can directly download the extension from Chrome store. At the moment, some users might not see any badge due to high amounts of traffic. The team has promised to upgrade the servers soon.

Now Watch: Tricks for making your Chrome browser faster:

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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