Did a Group of College Students Fix Facebook’s Fake News Problem?

It took just 36 hours for the students to build “FiB: Stop living a lie,” a Chrome browser extension which aims to verify legitimate news sources

November 15, 2016
Photo: iStock

Four college students created a browser extension capable of verifying internet news sources, which could be a godsend for Facebook users frustrated by bogus stories on their newsfeed.

During a “hackathon” at Princeton University, four students from different colleges came together and — in just 36 hours — put together an algorithm which they think can separate legitimate news from fake news. They then baked it into a Chrome browser extension called “FiB: Stop living a lie.”

So, how does it work?

“It classifies every post, be it pictures (Twitter snapshots), adult content pictures, fake links, malware links, fake news links as verified or non-verified using artificial intelligence,” Nabanita De, a master’s student in computer science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told Business Insider. Then, if the browser plug-in determines the story is verified, it adds a little tag in the corner letting users know.

Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have faced a rising tide of criticism for the social media platform’s role in the 2016 presidential election, with critics arguing the its laissez faire approach to news aggregation allowed users to be mislead by bogus or heavily spun news stories. However, the students behind “Fib” believe their extension may be the first step toward a solution.

Click here for Business Insider’s full report. Click here for more on the “FiB” project and to try the extension out yourself.

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