On the heels of the post-presidential election, arguably one of the most stunning upsets in American history, people have become angry with websites that spread misinformation or flat out lies. In my previous article, I mentioned that Facebook and Google are going to be making efforts to try to weed out fake news.
But the simple fact is that’s only part of the pie, and only a very small portion. Yes; Google and Facebook do carry a lot of weight when it comes to Internet traffic in public interaction, but if you want to filter all the fake news websites, you have to start at the browser level.
Most browsers have the ability to add plug-ins or extensions to enhance the users browsing experience. If you want to filter out all the fake news websites, this is where you had to start. Google Chrome now has an extension to block fake news; or help identify it.
The new plug-in is called the B.S Detector; it’s in the Chrome Web store.
On the extensions website, there’s only an option for chrome and the main website [github].
Once the extension is loaded into Google Chrome, if you visit a questionable site, like Infowars, you’ll get a small notification that says "this website is considered a questionable source”. There are no options in Google Chrome for the extension. You can’t add your own websites to the extension.
The extension seems to be the result of pushback by Mark Zuckerberg’s claim that Facebook was unable to do anything about fake news. According to the developer, the extension was put together in less than an hour as a proof of concept, and is initially focused towards political topics/websites.
According to the developer the extension works by searching all the links on a particular webpage against the list of questionable websites; a manually compiled list. And then when you put your mouse over a link that has been marked as fake news, you get the notification.
At this point, there’s not a way for the people who use the plug-in to contribute automatically to this list of fake news, but the developer does say that if you want to add to lists of fake news, you can go to GITHUB and submit an issue.
While this extension for Google Chrome is cool; who does the oversight? Who determines what websites are fake news? Is there a way to submit websites that can be graded on how accurate they are?
I like the idea, but it opens up a lot more questions.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on this, let me know in the comments below…