We’ve talked about fake news quite a bit over the past few days, and shared a few strategies for avoiding it. It turns out that a few college students beat us, and Zuckerberg, to the punch with a new Chrome extension called FiB.
FiB is a third-party link verifier. Once you install the Chrome extension and hit Facebook, it checks the links, images and other data using keyword extraction, source verification, and image recognition. Just look in the right-hand corner of any post and you’ll see a little tab marking it as Verified or Not Verified. It also scans and checks what you post and calls you out for accidentally sharing garbage.
Interestingly, the biggest problem for the four Princeton students who built FiB was “scraping” Facebook — which tries to avoid being scanned by search engines and other tools and have its data aggregated, and which might hint at why Facebook is having such a problem with fake news. They want to avoid having their content indexed by Google more than they want to prevent the spread of untruths. They also ran into trouble with opinions being labeled as “Not Verified” which, while true, is kind of a value judgement on the part of a robot, no?
Joking aside, this might be a useful tool for people sick of reposted garbage on their Wall, and perhaps talk to people they love about installing it. It may not change any minds, but it might at least limit the spread of trash online.