Sanity: An Emotionally Balanced Newsfeed


  • Souranil Sen
  • Alisha Rege
  • Priyesh Wani
  • Amit Bapat

Project Idea

“The rapid spread of the current virus, the potential for large numbers of people exposed, and the impact it is already having on daily life in many parts of the world are contributing to a particularly high anxiety level” - Dr. Eli Lebowitz, Director of the Anxiety Disorders Program at Yale Child Study Center

With over 40 million people suffering from anxiety, OCD, or panic disorders, American stores are having trouble keeping essential items on shelves due to the mass anxiety-induced hoarding. However the elderly and three in ten americans do not have emergency funds allocated to hoard. This is causing them to risk overdraft or worse, not have access to the essential goods they need.

How it was built

The solution was built on AWS. Using AWS Beanstalk, we were able to orchestrate the flow. We subscribed to the RSS feeds from NYT, Yahoo news, etc. These RSS feeds would then be fed into a microservice that scores sentiment based on AWS Comprehend Sentiment Analysis. The article was also assigned an importance score (based on how many news outlets had a similiar article. This importance score prioritizes it in the feed; however we make sure to balance negative articles with positive articles or giphy's when appropriate. Finally, the ordered articles are outputted in an RSS feed. We envision this feed to be consumed by websites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Users can opt to receive news through a Mental Health friendly feed.

Challenges Faced

  1. Making sure news feed shows articles that are important. Being able to find the similarity of articles allows us to not 'hide' bad news.
  2. Integrating different news sources together - working with different RSS feeds
  3. Creating an RSS feed with Images/giphys
  4. Balancing articles. Playing around with scoring such that not all articles were negative
  5. Pros/Cons of feeding only 250 characters in.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The entire project being pulled together in about 24 hours!!

What's next for Sanity

  1. Better sentiment analysis with more characters/finding key words from article to pass to AWS Comprehend
  2. Better score balancing between articles.
  3. Integrating with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to build custom Mental health feeds.

Note: We tore down the instance because having the updating link will increase cost. Please let us know if you want to play with it, we can pull it back up.

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