Students in Princeton University Hackathon Develop Algorithm That Identifies Fake News on Facebook


With the influx of fake news attempting to sway people on Facebook, wouldn't it be nice to have some sort of help to filter out what's authentic and what's false? Enter the "FiB."

FiB is an algorithm, in the form of a Chrome extension, that filters the authenticity of Facebook posts, the Business Insider reported. It was developed - in a mere 36 hours - by four college students for a hackathon at Princeton University. Facebook was reportedly one of the sponsors of the hackathon.

The students, namely Qinglin Chen, a sophomore also at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Mark Craft, a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Nabanita De, a second-year master's student in computer science student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and Anant Goel, a freshman at Purdue University, named the project, "FiB: Stop living a lie."

The extension, although it does not automatically delete or hide fake news posted in the famous social media app, does allow for real-time monitoring of a post's authenticity. It works right there on one's News Feed by showing a note.

"For links, we take into account the website's reputation, also query it against malware and phishing websites database and also take the content, search it on Google/Bing, retrieve searches with high confidence and summarize that link and show to the user," De said in explanation of how the algorithm works.

"For pictures like Twitter snapshots, we convert the image to text, use the usernames mentioned in the tweet, to get all tweets of the user and check if current tweet was ever posted by the user."

After checking information related to posts, the extension then , indicates if it is "verified" or "not verified" at the top right-hand side.

The students have released the extension as an open-source project so that all who would want to try it can do so. It will take a bit of knowledge and skill to do that, though. It can be accessed here.

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