Policy Brief

Read our policy brief here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OJFDKP2K9hYYdnMyzZb72x5K7CSd96REr7s3BxJvTqo/edit?usp=sharing

Inspiration

We were inspired to create something for the Technology track. Especially after attending the "Cyber Warfare and Disinformation in International Politics" workshop, our team personally connected with the topic of disinformation and "fake news." Having an international team, we saw that manipulation in the media was a real problem that affected communities worldwide, particularly in the scope of politics and science.

What it does

Second Opinion is a web service that effectively tests for a website’s reliability and provides a voice chatting feature to balance the negative mental health impacts of fake news.

To distinguish between trustworthy and fraudulent news sources, the user simply inputs the link of a news article that they want to check. Then, Second Opinion creates an output of “REAL” or “FAKE” based on the article’s content compared to the content of verified sources.

If the site is not trustworthy, our program may be evolved to present a list of sources that the user can check out instead. In this manner, Second Opinion will be able to market itself to people who may be reluctant about relying on software, rather than their own judgment, to determine the truthfulness of a news source.

Second Opinion also offers a voice chat tool to fight against the psychological effects of fake news. This feature further separates Second Opinion from other fake news focused software because users are permitted to express their feelings in a healthy way.

How we built it

We used Figma to design and wireframe the website and used HTML/CSS/JS to replicate it in repl. We also used Python to use machine learning for our fake news detection.

Challenges we ran into

We had trouble connecting our Python code to our website. We eventually decided to use Flask to fix this issue.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of creating both a functional hackathon product and a comprehensive policy paper detailing our project's potential impact. Second Opinion can be used to actively combat fake news and the overlooked psychological problems that it has created. We are super proud of being able to be a part of that fight.

What we learned

We learned how to work with a variety of different platforms and languages and effectively use them together. We also learned a lot about the issue of fake news and how technology must be used carefully.

What's next for Second Opinion

In the future, our program may be evolved to present a list of sources that the user can check out instead of a designated "FAKE" source. In this manner, Second Opinion will be able to market itself to people who may be reluctant about relying on software, rather than their own judgment, to determine the truthfulness of a news source. This can expand Second Opinion's reach and further our goals of taking on misinformation.

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