A TOOL TO HELP TRACK THE SPREAD OF FAKE NEWS

One of the big stories of the 2016 election and the time after the results were announced was the prevalence and rapid spread of fake news stories.  Now, a story in The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on an app called Hoaxy created by Filippo Menczer, a professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University at Bloomington.  The app is easy to use.  The user types in a topic in which they are interested and the app generates a list of sites that have reported a story on that topic, the number of times that story was tweeted and shared on Facebook.  The user can then click on the instances in the list in which she is interested and then click a visualizer button that graphically displays the geographic spread of that story.

Suspicion is an important aspect of competitive social relations.  The use of fake news contributes to creating an atmosphere of suspicion. A tool that can be used to recognize instances of fake news and the extent to which it has spread can be useful.  Give Hoaxy a try.

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