Alyss Bowen | Social Media Editor | Thursday, 17 November 2016

College Students Solved The Facebook Fake News Problem In 36 Hours

College Students Solved The Facebook Fake News Problem In 36 Hours

The Debrief: Zuckerberg, you've been outdone

Facebook has been under fire recently for generating, sharing and promoting fake news stories - particularly in the run up to the US presidential election. 

Generally the news stories we read on Facebook are meant to be there to help us understand trending news, but throughout the 2016 elections some fake stories were among the top stories trending on the small side bar on your Facebook page. 

Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg, the man behind Facebook, said they were going to do something about this issue. He claimed that 99 per cent of news shared on the social media platform was ‘real’ with only a small percentage of it being fake. He vowed to tackle the problem head on and rid our social media world of made-up news. Supposedly Facebook created a ‘secret task force’ to investigate Facebook’s role in creating and sharing fake news. 

But errrr Mark still hasn’t done that, and instead some college students did it for him in just 36 hours. The students from universities across America were participating in a hackathon sponsored by Facebook and developed a project called ‘FiB: Let’s Stop living a lie.’ 

In their inspiration notes they directly criticise Facebook, stating: ’the current media landscape, control over distribution has become almost as important as the actual creation of content, and that has given Facebook a huge amount of power. The impact that Facebook newsfeed has in the formation of opinions in the real world is so huge that it potentially affected the 2016 election decisions, however these newsfeed were not completely accurate.’

The students created a Chrome browser extension that filters through your feed and verifies news in real time. Where was this when we needed it months ago?! If the post is false, the extension then attempt to find the truth. This is technical genius. 

Anyone can download the plug-in, and modify it. Excuse us while we go install this and spend the rest of the day shifting through the fake news on our feed. Zuckerberg, you’ve been outdone. 

Like this? You might also be interested in…

My Friends Don’t Ask Me How I Am Anymore Because They Think They See Everything On Social Media 

Sex, Drugs And Baby Hedgehogs: Welcome To Facebook’s New Marketplace 

Facebook Is Testing Out ‘Messenger Day,’ Which Is Basically Snapchat 

Follow Alyss on Instagram @alyssbowen 



Tags: Facebook et al, USA