With the increasingly polarized political climate of today, it is really difficult to find accurate information. Accusations of fake news and bias are rampant and it is increasingly difficult to determine what is true. People often put themselves in echo chambers, meaning people often resort to just listening to the same sources that reinforce their current viewpoints. It is really rare for people to go out of their way to find sources and people they disagree with.
What it does
Our website allows users to search for news on topics of their choice. Once a user searches for a news topic the website finds two articles that are likely to offer differing perspectives on that topic. The two articles are displayed side by side for easy viewing.
How I built it
We used a Microsoft Bing News Search API in Java to find relevant news articles online. This Java program finds a variety of articles on the topic and compares each of the articles to each other. We scraped data from allsides.com that had a database on the political leanings of news sources. This data was used to compare the relevant articles to each other. The two articles that are most likely to offer differing perspectives on the topic are then passed on to the website for display.
Challenges I ran into
We had difficulty displaying the two articles side by side. This was overcome by using a secure method to obtain the article URL from the Java program.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We were able to create a program that makes it easier for users to be more well informed on any topic. Stepping out of one's echo chambers is an important step in becoming less biased and more open-minded.
What I learned
We gained more experience in working with APIs, web development, and integrating Java with websites.
What's next for Perspective
Improvements to perspective would include using natural language processing in order to process the text of articles and determine how likely they are to offer differing perspectives.