A team of US college students has developed a browser extension that alerts users to fake and biased news stories and helps guide them to more balanced coverage. The team is getting attention from Internet companies and Congress.
The plug-in, “Open Mind ,” was developed earlier this month during a 36-hour problem-solving competition known as a hackathon at Yale University.
The four-person team that developed the plug-in won the competition from Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism. The competition challenged teams to find ways to combat fake news.
The plug-in works with Google Chrome, it shows a warning screen when a user goes onto a site that is known for putting out fake news.
It also works to find whether news stories have a slant and can recommend to users stories with different viewpoints.
Jeff An, a member of the team that developed the extension has said “So let’s say there is an article that is very pro-Trump on a topic,”
“We would then try to give you something more left of center. We can go out and find for you that alternative article,” he said.
Another member of the team said social media sites “grow bubbles.”
“They make it extremely easy for people to only follow people with similar interests, so often there is no real opportunity for them to be confronted with an opposing viewpoint,” Michael Lopez-Brau said, according to the AP.
“They’ve allowed us to silo people off at a distance,” he said.
Alex Cui, another member of the team, said “The solution is not to just tell people if something is fake or not,” Cui said. “The solution is to develop a kind of a news auto-immune system.”