Fake news on Facebook is a real problem. These college students came up with a fix in 36 hours.
After the Election, Facebook has come under fire for providing a platform breeding where misinformation. After a lengthy response from Mark Zuckerberg on how Facebook will combat fake news, these college students decided to tackle the issue themselves in a hackathon technology project.This article originally appeared on The Washington Post
Anant Goel, Nabanita De, Qinglin Chen and Mark Craft at Princeton’s hackathon (Anant Goel)
When Nabanita De scrolled through her Facebook feed recently, she felt afraid. There were so many posts with competing information and accusations about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton that she didn’t know how to begin deciphering the fearmongering from the reality.
The social media site has faced criticism since the presidential election for its role in disseminating fake and misleading stories that are indistinguishable from real news. Because Facebook’s algorithm is designed to determine what its individual users want to see, people often see only that which validates their existing beliefs regardless of whether the information being shared is true.
So when De, an international second-year master’s student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, attended a hackathon at Princeton University this week with a simple prompt to develop a technology project in 36 hours, she suggested to her three teammates that they try to build an algorithm that authenticates what is real and what is fake on Facebook.
And they were able to do it...