Technology 3 min read

How a Google Extension Hopes to Diminish Fake News Spread

The new Google extension Trusted News hopes to stop the spread of ill-informed or otherwise "fake" news. How does the app work and does it really do what it promises?

Fake news is everywhere these days. Now, a Google Chrome extension hopes to help readers trust their news sources a little more. | Image By Monster Ztudio | Shutterstock

Fake news is everywhere these days. Now, a Google Chrome extension hopes to help readers trust their news sources a little more. | Image By Monster Ztudio | Shutterstock

It’s important to make sure your news is coming from a reputable source. Now, a Chrome Google extension plans to stave off the spread of “fake news”.

Globalization and the powers of anonymity and connection created an unprecedented phenomenon this year: fake news.

You might know the term by now, especially after the Memepocalypse in the fallout of Facebook’s huge PR nightmare and numerous data breaches.

But this media circus did shed light on what made fake news rise to prominence in the first place. As a result of this, many took it upon themselves to parse the varying types of news and news outlets users could find on the Internet.

The Trusted News Google extension is one of these programs. But, how does it work?

image of the Chrome extension Trusted News for article How Google Extension Hope to Diminish Fake News Spread
The extension features eight different delineations as to what type of “news” is out there. | Google

An Effort to Maintain a Free, Honest Internet

Though only available for Chrome for now, the Google extension Trusted News makes lofty promises. The same company behind AdBlock Plus (Eyeo) helped develop this tool to combat misinformation.

Due to the fact that the news landscape has become inundated with sources, many people have trouble discerning real news from satire and fake news.

This app takes data from sites such as PolitiFact and Snopes to verify sources and information. It also uses the MetaCert Protocol, an anti-fraud and trust database that deals with blockchain technology.

Essentially, after parsing the site, the extension gives the site an overall rating. If you click on the rating icon, then you will see a list of what makes Trusted News rate the site that particular rating.image of the Chrome extension Trusted News for article How Google Extension Hope to Diminish Fake News Spread

The extension can tell you quickly what kind of “news” you’re reading. | Google

Crowdsourcing Data Gathering Using Blockchain

The Google extension offers one of eight possible ratings including the following:

  • User-Generated Content – a site or page with content created by third-party contributors such as Instagram, Facebook, or a Tumblr blog.
  • Malicious – this site will likely attack your PC with viruses, malware, or other threats to privacy and information.
  • Biased – this site may disseminate “skewed” or “unproven” views with politically biased content.
  • Untrustworthy – this page knowingly posts misleading or otherwise false information.
  • Clickbait – this website uses misleading headlines to generate clicks, inflated traffic, and (perhaps) profits.
  • Satire – This site publishes content that is not meant to be factual or newsworthy.
  • Trustworthy – This site creates news you can trust.
  • Unknown – Trusted News has insufficient data to evaluate this website.

While Trusted News doesn’t have enough data yet to rate all websites, it does consistently produce accurate ratings for some sites. This includes rating Clickhole and The Onion as Satire and social platforms as User-Generated Content.

Eyeo plans to incorporate a rewards system for users who report findings on websites. They want to decentralize the database of the user-submitted information using an Ethereum blockchain.

In doing so, Eyeo hopes to mitigate the effects of “bad actors”.

Should we trust web browser extensions to determine what news we should and shouldn’t trust?

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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