Four new Chrome plugins are being made available to detect ‘fake news’ though we all know that what determines ‘fake news’ is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently, in a recent study, 80 to 90% of college students couldn’t identify a ‘fake news’ story. Perhaps the real problem with ‘fake news’ is reader naiveté but should we manage that? The mainstream media and Barack Obama are pushing the ‘fake news’ hysteria.
The plugin creators say it is not censorship since the reader can decide to use the plugin and, in the end ,to read the ‘fake news’ or not. It does seem, however, to be taking us down a dangerous path, in at least one case in particular, with a flawed model of godlike plugin creators categorizing publications according to his view of the world.
The first one labels websites with a red line on top claiming the site is ‘fake news’. It’s called the B.S. Detector and it has already flagged at least one true story as fake.
B.S. works on Facebook, Twitter, and on any news site you visit. When it detects a link to a B.S. story it tells you “this website is considered a questionable source.”
The “Fake News Alert” Chrome extension, created by New York magazine journalist Brian Feldman, a left-winger, joins the B.S. Detector Chrome extension launched Tuesday that identifies hoax news articles on Facebook.
Allegedly this isn’t left or right, but that list puts Fox News in the class with the George Soros site, Daily Kos, and the absurdly biased, Huffington Post.
Some sources not yet included in this list (although their practices at times may qualify them for addition), such as The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Fox News, vacillate between providing important, legitimate, problematic, and/or hyperbolic news coverage, requiring readers and viewers to verify and contextualize information with other sources.
At the end of the information sheet, the list refers to targeted sites, including reputable right-wing sites like Breitbart, Independent Journal Review, BizPacReview, Twitchy, and Daily Wire. There are reputable left-wing sites on the list as well.
Then there is the Media Bias/Fact Check Icon. This extension shows an icon denoting the political bias for the current page.
This extension will display a color-coded icon denoting the bias of the page you are currently viewing, according to Media Bias/Fact Check. You can click the icon to read more notes about the site, or visit MBFC for more details. It does some of our thinking for us.
FiB is the third Chrome extension with an algorithm that does two things, they say:
Content-consumption: Our chrome-extension goes through your facebook feed in real time as you browse it and verifies the authenticity of posts. These posts can be status updates, images or links. Our backend AI checks the facts within these posts and verifies them using image recognition, keyword extraction, and source verification and a twitter search to verify if a screenshot of a twitter update posted is authentic. The posts then are visually tagged on the top right corner in accordance with their trust score. If a post is found to be false, the AI tries to find the truth and shows it to you.
Content-creation: Each time a user posts/shares content, our chat bot uses a webhook to get a call. This chat bot then uses the same backend AI as content consumption to determine if the new post by the user contains any unverified information. If so, the user is notified and can choose to either take it down or let it exist.
This has only just begun. More and more of these will pop up and they will be biased. They will proliferate like a cancer. They are being created quickly and with narrow definitions and oversight. For example, B.S. Detector was created in one day.