Fake news is a very real problem. And the problem, sadly, starts with people and communities, because when someone unknowingly shares among the friends a fake article, that person is spreading a lie that can be considered truth by the others, turning this into a snowball. That's where Newbie comes in.
What it does
Newbie is a chrome extension that allows you to double-check if what you are reading is legitimate. Whenever you enter a news article this extension gives you a brief summary, the readers' evaluation of the article (strictly in terms of reliability, not politics), the source's reputation and our own evaluation based on an algorithm to inspect for writing flaws (inconsistent or misleading title, lack of cited sources, etc). Based on these parameters, Newbie suggests you to trust the article, read it with caution or don't even read it.
How we built it
This is a 3 part system: first, a chrome extension that checks the content you are reading; Second, a ruby on rails site that allows you to rank an article you've read to help others; and finally, our main data is stored in Firebase, and both the chrome extension and the website are connected to it.
Challenges we ran into
- Building an algorithm for analyzing text is difficult, and we're still developing it. For now we are just using a title analyzer.
- Allowing people to vote is a double-sided weapon, because Newbie is about trust, not politics, and making people put aside their political differences is a hard thing. We had to change our voting form in a way that we wouldn't ask directly for a score, but for key elements determining the reliability of the news piece
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Designing an algorithm for analyzing stuff
- Connecting the services together
- Helping fighting the problem of fake news :)
What we learned
- How to build chrome extensions and firebase API's
What's next for Newbie
- Improving our algorithm
- Releasing it to the public